module specification

SJ7006 - Creative Writing (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Creative Writing
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
161 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 75%   4000 words of creative prose in a single or combined form (or approximately 10 poems).
Coursework 25%   1000 word reflective, analytic commentary on student's own creative practice and production.
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This is a semester-long module that will introduce students of MA Creative, Digital and Professional Writing to the major forms of creative writing through practice and readings of long and short form fiction, digital texts, and other material. They will learn practice-based skills while focusing on writing in an area of their choosing, including poetry, fiction, or other forms of literary prose.

A series of workshops and seminars will enable students to research, write and edit creative writing for conventional and new media. They will learn to recognise and understand the historical development of literary forms and situate their own writing in both historical and contemporary literary and critical contexts.

Students will undertake and combine diverse forms of research appropriate to the professional ethos of the course and their own creative practice. They will also develop the ability to reflect upon, critique and evaluate their own writing and creative practice.

Through guided readings, discussions and craft-focussed workshops, they will develop a professional and international approach to creative writing with regard to potential audiences, commissioning editors, markets, publication, digital opportunities and how to access them.

The work done on the module will be evaluated through students’ contribution to seminars and workshop and a final submission. This final submission may consist of a specialist piece of writing. Those who do not have a preferred form or wish to work in more than one area may submit a portfolio of writing that combines more than one form.


The syllabus will typically include:

• a series of seminars and workshops that reference 20th and 21st Century writers, through which students will develop understanding of the ways in ways in which literature and culture interact and explore the writer’s location in this interaction;
• students will explore literary works through close readings of a wide range of contemporary writers and forms to identify, contextualise and understand themes, techniques and styles;
• exercises in evoking character, location, themes and plots;
• research in the broadest sense in order to create plausible contexts for themes, events and relationships in their creative writing;
• investigate and demonstrate the ability to make conscious choices in creating their literary worlds and their own responses to a range of ethical and representational issues;
• develop appropriate techniques, exploring the relationship between prose narrative and authorial point(s) of view.

Learning Outcomes 1 - 5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions over twelve weeks. The sessions will combine workshops, writing practice, seminar discussion, and research tasks. Students will reflect critically on their learning and on their personal creative practice, through peer and tutor feedback, workshops, and tutorials.  The module will involve a good amount of guided self-analysis that takes account of personal, academic and practical skills and professional profile development. The module will incorporate guest speakers when appropriate and may include guided visits to theatre, galleries and/or specific libraries. Independent learning will include guided reading, weekly research and writing tasks, set texts and preparation for seminars. Students will be encouraged to carry out independent research and incorporate it critically into their writings.

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities including on-line discussion, role-play, blog writing, evaluation of online resources, access to electronic reading packs, viewing and reviewing of online video/ film/ audio artefacts, access to online media databases etc. It will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, and as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Students will have to submit, as part of their coursework, an analytic commentary in which they reflect on the development of their work and its publish-ability, whether in written or digital formats or both.

Learning outcomes

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

Knowledge and understanding:
LO1: apply stylistic methods and techniques appropriate to their own research or advanced scholarship to their creative practice;

Cognitive intellectual abilities:
LO2:  analyse contemporary creative writing, from the UK and abroad, in terms of context, close reading, linguistic range, cultural specificity and narrative strategies;

LO3: identify the relationship between creative writing and cultural contexts and locate their own creative practice in appropriate critical and cultural contexts;

Transferable skills:
LO4:  apply knowledge with originality, based on a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in creative writing; 
Subject specific skills:
LO5: reflect and critique their own creative practice with a view to re-drafting and editing and creating works suitable for publication in conventional or new media platforms.

Assessment strategy

Through a variety of assessment modes, students will be assessed on their creative, critical, analytical and reflective learning processes. The writing portfolio will assess the student’s competency in creative and critical processes and commentary will assess their analytical and reflective learning. 

Formative assessment will be set weekly through the module through writing workshops and used to provide students with feedback on their performance and on how it can be improved and/or maintained. Workshops by their very nature will include tutor and peer feedback. This will address different aspects of the syllabus and enable students to prepare material for their final submission.

Students are continuously assessed on this module, with their assessment referencing their continuous creative production and practice with writing workshops and seminars. Together with their creative and critical skills, process is also evaluated in terms of professionalism, engagement, progress, ability to integrate feedback, attendance and punctuality.

Creative Writing submission:
4000 words of creative prose in a single or combined form (or approximately 10 poems), to be developed and refined with formative feedback in workshops and seminar.

Reflective, analytic commentary:
1000 words of reflective, analytic commentary on student’s own creative practice and production that should demonstrate research, engagement with set tasks, seminar notes and formative feedback.


Core Texts:

Atwood, M. (2003) Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing, London: Virago.
Booker, C. (2005) The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, London: Continuum
Carver, R. (1994) Short Cuts, London: Harvill Press
Fry, S. (2007) The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within, London: Arrow
Howe, E. (2010) Close Reading: An Introduction to Literature, New York: Longman
Lambert, J. (2013), Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community (Digital Imaging and Computer Vision), London: Routledge
Oates, J.C. (ed.), (2004) The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Orwell, G. (2004) Why I Write. London: Penguin
Pariser, E., 2012.  The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalised Web is Changing
What We Read and How We Think,  New York: Penguin Books
Pinker, S. (2014)  The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, New York: Penguin Books

Additional Texts:
Anderson, L. (2006) Creative Writing, Milton Keynes: Routledge
Bailey, T. (2000) On Writing Short Stories, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Bayley, J. (1998) The Short Story: Henry James to Elizabeth Bowen, Brighton: Harvester
Boland, E. and Strand, M. (eds.), (2000) The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, New York: Norton
Burroway, J. (2003) Imaginative Writing: the Elements of Craft, New York: Longman
Campbell, J. (2012) The Hero With a Thousand Faces, New York: New World Library
Cox, A. (2005) Writing Short Stories, London: Routledge
Galton, D. (2008)  How to write and sell short stories, Abercynon: Accent
Goatly, A. and Hiradhar, P. (2016) Critical Reading and Writing in a Digital Age: An Introductory Coursebook, London: Routledge
Halpern, D. (1989) The Penguin Book of International Short Stories, London: Penguin.
Levy, A. (1993) The Culture and Commerce of the American Short Story, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Lodge, D. (2011), The Art of Fiction, London: Vintage
Lundby, K. (ed.), (2008) Digital Storytelling, Mediatized Selves: Self-Representations in New Media, London: Peter Lang Publishing
Seely, J. (2009) Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Strunk, W. (1999) The Elements of Style, New York: Longman
Truss, L. (2009) Eats, Shoots and Leaves, London: Fourth Estate
Zinnser, W. (2012) On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction, London: Harper Perennial.