Module Information

Module Identifier
WR21120
Module Title
Telling True Stories: ways of Writing Creative Non-Fiction
Academic Year
2018/2019
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Assignment 1:  Written Portfolio of 2500 words: Consisting of a 1500 word creative piece plus a 1000 word commentary. A piece of non-fiction based on the student’s own experiences, to be presented as memoir autobiography or travel writing, demonstrating techniques discussed in lectures and seminars. Accompanied by a critical commentary relating to the student’s piece to the themes, techniques and works studied (weighted 75% creative and 25% critical).  50%
Semester Assessment Assignment 2:  Written Portfolio of 2500 words: Consisting of a 1500 word creative piece plus a 1000 word commentary. A piece of non-fiction based upon research into an historical incident or scientific discovery, or addressing an environmental issue. Students will be given 6 events or issues from which to choose, and will then be asked to write about one of these – or a choice of their own in agreement with the tutor. Accompanied by a critical commentary demonstrating the scope of the research and its application to the creative process. (weighted 60% creative and 40% critical)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed or missed Assignment 1  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed or missed Assignment 2  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the approaches and techniques underpinning creative non-fiction.

2. Apply elements drawn from these approaches and techniques to their creative writing.

3. Communicate knowledge and understanding in their critical writing.

4. Students should be able to produce non-fiction creative writing that is valuably informed by their own research

Aims

This module fills a gap in undergraduate creative-writing provision by addressing the core skills required to write creative non-fiction and introducing Part II students to key texts and approaches. It will enhance students' fiction and writing skills by expanding the range of material studied and exploring new techniques.

Brief description

Exploring real people, places and histories, this module looks at ways of telling real-life stories and asks how 'true' they really are. It looks at how the writer researches and presents his/her own experiences in memoir, autobiography or travelogue, before moving on to examine creative ways of writing history, nature, science or biography. The module examines the relationship between fiction and creative non-fiction, encouraging students to use their existing skills to explore new directions.

Content

The module will be delivered through a series of workshops intended to introduce students to a particular theme from creative non-fiction practice and outline the approaches and ideas; students will also be required to study, and respond to, texts by influential writers in the field. Workshops will allow students to research, prepare and present their own work on the basis of material studied.

The module programme is divided into four key themes. Although these will be studied separately, an overarching rationale to the module will ask students to consider and scrutinize key questions about creative non-fiction over the 10-weeks of study: what is creative non-fiction and how does it differ from fiction? How does research underpin the genre? How does the writer get the most from real stories? How responsible is the writer for telling the truth?

Week 1: What is creative non-fiction? An introduction.

Weeks 2 & 3: The writing self: memoir and autobiography. Looking at works including Hilary Mantel's memoir Giving up the Ghost, students will explore how to write about the self and personal experiences. How do you express your inner life, your thoughts and feelings – and make them interesting? What is the relationship between the writer, and the 'I' in the writing?

Weeks 4 & 5: The writer in a strange land: travel writing. Is travel writing only about making journeys? What does a reader want from travel writing? Students will explore traditional travelogues, as well as contemporary 'hybrid' works including Edmund de Waal's book about travel, history and art, The Hare with Amber Eyes.

Weeks 6 & 7: The writer as researcher: history and science. Students will look at the ways in which factual research can be brought to the page in a creative way. Using works including Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, they will explore research techniques and sources, and experiment with methods for engaging the reader with their material.

Weeks 8 & 9: The green writer: nature and environment. Working from texts including Waterlog by Roger Deakin, students will examine the tradition of nature writing. Where does landscape description end and nature writing begin? What is there to be said about everyday experiences of being outdoors?

Week 10: Re-cap and overview. The key skills of creative non-fiction revisited.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Oral communication in seminar and workshop discussion; written communication in portfolio submission text.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent and directed research and reading. Exploring and refining new writing techniques.
Information Technology Word-processing skills required to prepare and submit portfolios; use of digital resources for research.
Personal Development and Career planning Through critical self-reflection; transferable communication and research skills.
Problem solving Analysing and employing creative non-fiction techniques; planning and developing research and written tasks.
Research skills Undertaking research into key themes and presenting this in a scholarly and coherent manner.
Subject Specific Skills Practical proficiency in creative writing; close reading; analysis of texts and research sources; revision and editing.
Team work Collaboration in seminars and workshops.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5