Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
WR21720
Module Title
Shaping Plots
Academic Year
2019/2020
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay Assignment  1 x 1500 word critical essay examining the application of one or more of the stages of the hero's journey in a single text  25%
Semester Assessment Creative Piece  1 x 3500 word creative piece (short story) comprising one complete narrative  75%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of Essay Assignment  Resubmit failed or missing 1 x 1500 word critical essay examining the application of one or more of the stages of the hero's journey in a single text  25%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of Essay Assignment  Resubmit the failed or missing assignment (writing on a fresh topic) 1 x 3500 words (short story)  75%

Aims

For students to gain understanding of the demands and processes of narrative construction, identify where specific steps are appropriately used or ignored by contextual examples, and self-reflectively analyze the structure of their own writing. The module prepares students for writing extended pieces of prose such as The Writing Project in their final year. The module will consist of ten two-hour seminar/workshops.

Brief description

This module will acquaint students with the creative and critical concept of narrative structures and the study of narratology. The module will begin with an introduction to the development of theoretical and practical strategies associated with the study of plot and narrative. It will then consider the Hero’s Journey of Joseph Campbell, before examining some narrative structures from around the world that do not fit Campbell’s model (e.g. Old Irish voyage stories, the Asian Kishōtenketsu, and contemporary social media narratives).

The module will introduce students to a range of narrative concepts and writing practices which will form a base knowledge that will prepare them for writing extended pieces of prose such as The Writing Project in their final year. The module will consist of ten two-hour seminars/workshops. Workshop tasks in the first half of the module will be to produce critical discussion of the concepts introduced in the seminar. Workshop tasks in the second half of the module will be to develop a long piece of prose that either engages with or subverts the narrative structures discussed. Participants will have the opportunity to submit more sustained pieces of creative and critical work than are typically assessed at this level.

Content

Week #1: ‘The Story of Narrative’
We will introduce the concept of structural analysis of story, from its early beginnings of Aristotle to its development by Russian Formalists and beyond. Discussion will examine how a critical awareness of structure can both aid and potentially hinder a writer.

Week #2: ‘The Hero’s Journey’ I:
Students will be introduced to the major elements of The Hero’s Journey through Joseph Campbell’s cultural analysis of mythological structures.

Week #3: ‘The Hero’s Journey’ II:
We will consider the second half of The Hero’s Journey and, as an abstract ideal, will contrast it with Christopher Vogler’s how-to style in The Writer’s Journey.

Week #4: ‘Pop Culture Reinvents the Wheel (Or Does It?)’
Discussion will focus on the ubiquity of The Hero’s Journey in modern popular culture (examples include Star Wars and Back to the Future). We will also consider Robert McKee’s concept of universal forms over formulas, and principles over rules, through his text Story.

Week #5: ‘Old Irish Voyage Stories I’
The first of our alternatives to The Hero’s Journey will be the Old Irish literature concerning a character’s journey to the Otherworld, both the ‘Immram’, which focuses on the voyage, and the ‘Echtra’, which is built around a hero’s adventure’s in the Otherworld itself.

Week #6: ‘Old Irish Voyage Stories II’
Students will workshop fiction based upon their experiments with Old Irish forms.

Week #7: ‘Kishōtenketsu I’
Students will be introduced to the Kishōtenketsu, a narrative structure derived from classic Chinese, Korean, and Japanese narratives. The versatility of the structure will be examined through story forms as varied as folktales, Manga, and video games.

Week #8: ‘Kishōtenketsu II’
Students will workshop fiction based upon their experiments with Kishōtenketsu.

Week #9: ‘Social Media Narratives I’
How do we tell stories in the age of social media and fake news? What are the structural possibilities and, indeed, the challenges of telling stories in these forms? Students will analyze examples of Twitterature and discuss social media’s effect on both reader and writer.

Week #10: ‘Social Media Narratives II’
Students will workshop fiction based upon their experiments with social media narratives.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication (Written) By developing a sustained critical argument (Oral) Through group discussions and seminar presentations (not assessed)
Improving own Learning and Performance Through reflecting on how theoretical understanding can be used to improve the students’ own creative practice.
Information Technology By using word processing packages and making use of Blackboard and other e-resources to research and access course documents and other materials.
Personal Development and Career planning Through increased critical self-reflection and the development of transferable, ICT, communication and research skills.
Problem solving By evaluative analysis and critical skills
Research skills By independent and directed research for seminar preparation and work on summative assessment tasks
Subject Specific Skills Writing skills and conceptual knowledge in key fields of creative writing and literary study.
Team work Through group work in seminars.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5