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Fiction Workshop 1


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Dr Richard Hamblyn
  • Assessment: a 2500-3000-word piece of original genre fiction (75%) and 1000-word critical essay on a craft aspect of popular fiction (25%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to the fundamental elements of the fiction writer’s craft. Key skills such as characterisation, point of view, structure, plot, dialogue, setting, situation and conflict will be explored, as will the expectations of genres such as crime, historical and science fictions. We underline the importance of reading critically and independently as a writer, while helping you to consider the context(s) of your own developing writing.

Over the course of the module you will engage critically and creatively with a range of fictions, from the broadly ‘realist’ short story to the outposts of genre, including crime, historical and science fiction. You will read and also write within each of these genres, discovering their main codes and conventions. You will be instructed and guided during lectures, seminars and practical writing workshops that will cover each aspect of the craft in turn, for which you will write and discuss short creative and critical homework tasks.

Indicative syllabus

  • Reading as a writer
  • Characterisation
  • Dialogue
  • Prose style and voice
  • Crime fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will have:

  • an understanding of the underlying craft elements of fiction
  • a heightened awareness of the conventions of genre fiction
  • the ability to think critically and independently about works outside the conventional literary canon
  • a regular writing habit and the ability to produce effective creative work independently
  • the ability to reflect on the techniques of other writers and to think critically and independently about works you have read
  • an understanding of the literary and craft contexts of your own writing
  • the ability to interpret and evaluate constructive feedback, both from tutors and peers
  • an understanding of bibliographical skills appropriate to the discipline, including accurate citation of sources in essays.