Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Writing Fiction: Methods and Techniques
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

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


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Short Story  (3500 words)  60%
Semester Assessment Learning Journal  (1 x 1500 word commentary on the fiction submitted, plus annotated bibliography (bibliography is not included in the word count)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Short Story  (1 x 3500 words - 1 or 2 complete stories)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Learning Journal  (1 x 1500 word commentary on the fiction submitted, plus annotated bibliography (bibliography is not included in the word count)  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate, in both creative and evaluative writing, an understanding of the methods and techniques used in fiction.

2. Demonstrate, in critical prose, an understanding of their own writing processes.

3. Improve their work in response to constructive criticism.

Brief description

This module offers the opportunity to assess and practice a range of approaches to the writing of fiction, with appropriate reference to the work of contemporary writers. Members of the group will be expected to pursue a programme of reading from the recommended texts provided; and to present, for comment and constructive criticism by the group, anticipatory work carried out in response to the preceding week. The module will consist of ten 2-hour seminar/workshop combination sessions.


​Session 1: Kinds of Fiction
Examining a selection of excerpts from contemporary novels, we shall consider questions of genre, register and tone.

Session 2: Narratives and Narrators, Point of View and Voice
Using another selection of extracts, discussion will focus on questions of voice, viewpoint and the structuring of narrative.

Session 3: Beginnings
Focusing on a range of relevant excerpts, we shall address the structuring of fictions, with a particular emphasis on openings.

Session 4: Shaping Plot
Using summaries of the plots of published stories, discussion will focus on plot and structure in the short story genre.

Session 5: Shaping Characters
Using a selection of extracts, discussion will focus on the creation of character in fiction.

Session 6: Writing Dialogue
Using a selection of extracts, discussion will focus on the use of dialogue in fiction.

Session 7: Endings
Focusing on a range of relevant excerpts, we shall revisit our discussion of plot and the structuring of fictions, this time with a particular emphasis on closure.

Session 8: Memory
Using a range of extracts, we shall examine the operation of memory, and its importance for the production of both autobiographical and fictional writings.

Session 9: Imagination
Using a range of extracts, we shall look at the ability of writing to create vivid imaginary scenarios, including some that transcend reality.

Session 10: Wider Explorations
Participants will be asked to discuss other ways in which their ideas could be expressed. For example, how could a short story be expanded into a novel, or might one’s story be better told as a comic book or a teleplay?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Written communication skills are key to the work students will do on this module. Moreover, oral interaction in group discussion will be essential to the seminars and workshops.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be expected to improve their understanding of literature in response to discussion with the tutor and other students, as well as to develop their own approaches to the writing and criticism.
Information Technology Student will be required to make full use of library facilities and master online/digital research.
Personal Development and Career planning This will be discussed during the course and is implicitly embedded in the assessed work and in the feedback of course tutor and peers.
Problem solving Employing the skills of critical engagement, assessment of writing technique, and analysis of structure and genre will arise and be dealt with during seminars, in workshops, and in assessment. The effectiveness by which the student has solved problems is evident in the planning of and quality of the finished work.
Research skills The assessment on this module will reflect the student’s ability to read widely and to engage with literature with a critical eye as well as construct effective narratives of their own. They will have to apply this knowledge to make informed decisions about their own approaches to fiction.
Subject Specific Skills Practical proficiency in the specific skills of writing fiction, as well as literary analysis and criticism, which will prepare students for their dissertations and doctoral work.
Team work Students will have the opportunity to work in small group discussions during workshops and seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 7