module specification

SJ5004 - Writing and Editing Fiction and Nonfiction (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Writing and Editing Fiction and Nonfiction
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
 
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Edit a piece of creative non-fiction down to 1200 words + 600 word commentary
Coursework 30%   A piece of creative nonfiction 1000 words + 500 word commentary
Coursework 50%   A piece of creative writing 2000 words + 500 word commentary
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module explores the writing and rewriting of fiction and creative nonfiction. Attention will be paid to both originating new work and the process of revision. The module will outline some fundamental principles of style, genre and editing. Students will consider different kinds of narrative such as fiction, history, life writing, travel writing and literary journalism – their shared techniques as well as distinctive characteristics. Students will have the experience of writing in different formats such as short stories, memoirs, features and essays. They will develop an understanding of some of the principles of editing both their own and other people’s work (as well as the differences between them). They will also develop an enhanced sensitivity to the role and practice of editing at the level of the paragraph, the sentence and the word, in addition to the text as a whole. Emphasis will be laid on developing clarity, precision, and expressiveness in writing style, as well as the ability to explain their editing decisions. Through a variety of exercises students will be shown how to identify common problems in writing and how to remedy them. They will also develop an appreciation of how successive re-workings of the same text can alter and refine its meaning and effectiveness. The module will develop valuable and transferable skills for critical thinking and reading, effective editing techniques, and enhance employability.

 

Module aims


This module aims to
1. develop students' knowledge of a range of narrative genres, such as fiction, history, life writing, travel writing and literary journalism, and the different means through which these can be communicated, in particular books, essays  and features
2. develop competence in the main organisational processes of writing
3. practise methods in which a piece of writing can be improved by editing and  revision


 

Syllabus

The focus in this module is on fiction and creative nonfiction. The module will outline some fundamental principles of style, genre and editing. Attention will be paid to both originating new material and the process of revision. Students will develop an understanding of some of the principles of editing both their own and other people’s work, as well as the differences between them. We will be looking at editing at the level of the paragraph, the sentence and the word, as well as the text as a whole. Emphasis will be laid on developing clarity, precision, and expressiveness in writing style, and the ability to explain their editing decisions. Through a variety of exercises students will be shown how to identify common problems in writing and how to remedy them. Students will develop an appreciation of how successive re-workings of the same text can alter and refine its meaning and effectiveness. 

Learning and teaching

The module will be taught in weekly sessions over 30 weeks that combine lectures, seminar discussion, small group activities, creative writing group criticism, plus additional scheduled online or one-to-one tutorials. Using exercises as well as their own writing, students will appraise, revise, and redraft texts, working individually, in small groups, and in whole class exercises in a supportive atmosphere. They’ll be expected to originate and revise work out of class. Students will be required to write both fiction and creative nonfiction, using appropriate punctuation, clarity of expression and editing skills to enhance their writing. Independent reading in fiction and nonfiction will be encouraged, and Weblearn will feature pertinent examples of creative writing and creative nonfiction, and of texts where editing has played a key role in articulating the author’s voice, style and meaning, along with links to other websites. The commentary forms an essential part of the assessment, as does participation in the weekly sessions. 

 

Weekly set reading 120hrs (40%), Research and preparation for assignments 99hrs (30%)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. demonstrate their competence in different genres in fiction and creative non-fiction
2. employ critical reading and thinking skills to the process of evaluating and revising fiction and non-fiction
3. organise aspects of writing processes for both fiction and nonfiction
4. enhance their writing through editing and revision

Assessment strategy

● Formative assessment tasks will be set periodically over the course of the module to address the different sections of the syllabus and enable students to prepare items for their portfolio (summative assessment). 
● Summative assessment comprises attendance and participation in weekly seminars/workshops, and four pieces of coursework at regular intervals during the module

 

 

Bibliography

An English dictionary; Roget’s Thesaurus
Barrington, J. Writing the Memoir, Portland, Oregon, The Eighth Mountain Press, 2002
Bryson, B. Notes From a Small Island, London: Black Swan, 1995
Capote, T. In Cold Blood, London: Penguin, 1965
Cutts, M. Oxford Guide to Plain English Oxford: OUP 2004
De Waal, E. The Hare with Amber Eyes, London: Vintage, 2010
Denman, T. How not to write London: Piatkus, 2007
Eggers, D. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, London: Picador, 2000
Evans, H. Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers London: Pimlico, 2000
Forche, C. and Gerard, P. (eds) Writing Creative Nonfiction, Cincinnati, Ohio: Story Press, 2001
Funder, A. Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall, Granta, 2009
George, D. Travel Writing, London: Lonely Planet, 2005
Gerard, P. Creative Nonfiction, Cincinnati, Ohio: Story Press, 1996
Gutkind, L. The Art of Creative Nonfiction, New York: John Wiley, 1997
Hicks, W. English for Journalists, London: Routledge, 1998
Hornby, N. Fever Pitch, London: Penguin, 2005
Lanham, R. The Longman Guide to Revising Prose London: Pearson Longman, 2006
Masters, A. Stuart: A Life Backwards, London: Harper Perennial, 2006
May, D.H. Proofreading Plain and Simple Career Press, New Jersey,1997
McGinniss, J. The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, London: Sphere, 2007
Mittelmark, H. and Newman, S.  How Not to Write a Novel London: Penguin Books, 2009
Murray, D.M. TheCraft of Revision Harcourt, 2001
Orwell, G. The Road to Wigan Pier, London: Penguin, 1937
Orwell, G. Homage to Catalonia, London: Penguin, 1938
Pape, S. and Featherstone, S. Feature Writing, London: 2006
Strunk, W. Jnr. and White, E.B. The Elements of Style Mass: Longman, 2000
Summerscale, K. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House, London: Bloomsbury, 2009
Truss, L. Eats, Shoots and Leaves. London: Profile Books 2003
Westfall, P. Beyond Intuition: A Guide to Writing and Editing Magazine Non-fiction.  (Chapter 8: Tightening) New York: Longman,1994
Zinsser, W.  On Writing Well. New York: HarperCollins, 2005

Online resources:
Gutkind, L. The 5Rs of Creative Non-Fiction, http://www.creativenonfiction.org/thejournal/articles/issue06/06editor.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/journalism/