module specification

SJ6018 - The Writer's Craft (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title The Writer's Craft
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio submission
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

The Writer’s Craft is a year-long level 6 module which offers students the option of developing their work in one of a number of writing studios throughout the year.

Studio I Craft and Performance develops students’ understanding of writing for performance through a series of projects that focus on the adaptation of literary material for screen and stage, on original writing for stage, and on performance poetry and the spoken word. Students will learn about (i) the process of reading for adaptation, script development and writing for a performance medium through the close examination of literary, film and televisual sources, and through critical discussion of representation, storytelling, visual narrative and genre; (ii) the creation and adaptation of original dramatic material for the stage and the writer’s critical relationship to acting, directing and production histories, and (iii) the history, culture and practice of performance poetry; performance skills and the adaptation of material to audience, medium and venue, and critical and theoretical perspectives on performance poetry and the spoken word.
Studio II Craft and Ethics aims to equip students with a historical, critical and practical understanding of key forms of prose fiction, as both entertainment and literary texts. Students will develop an understanding of contemporary fiction in its various forms, as well as learning techniques and approaches necessary for creating their own. The prose studio also encourages students to locate their own creative practice in wider literary, historical, ethical and social contexts. The module will encourage students to develop their own creative practice in the context of contemporary literary as well as popular fiction. 
Additional studios may run within this module depending on staff specialism and availability.

Prior learning requirements

Completion and pass (120 credits) of previous level.
This module cannot be taken in addition to SJ5016 The Writer’s Craft level 5


Studio I Craft and Performance
Part 1 of Craft and Performance examines a selection of classic, modern classic and contemporary texts from prose fiction and drama, and students assess the creative journey made from the written and verbal mediums of the page to the embodied and enacted forms of drama on screen (LO1/LO2). Students analyse original texts and explore their dramatic adaptations (LO1), including the writer’s implicit and stated intentions and the historical and/or contemporary context of both original work and its adaptation (LO2). Through a range of representational and imaginative modes, the adaptation and storytelling process will be discussed (LO4), along with the visual language of film, character and storytelling (LO3), uses of genre (e.g. horror/drama/rom com/Sci-fi), BAME representation on screen (LO2/LO3); as well as craft processes such as acting and directing, and the practical aspects of working in the film and TV industry today (LO4).

Part 2 of Craft and Performance discusses the writing and production of original material for stage (LO1/LO4) in the context of a given playwright’s work (LO2) and productions of classic dramatic texts in a modern and contemporary context (LO2/LO3).

Part 3 of Craft and Performance focusses on performance poetry, poetry readings and poetry’s crossover with performing arts (LO1) and examines performance traditions from folk, jazz and theatre to rap and slam, reflecting the historical and cultural diversity of performance poetry and poetry in performance (LO2). Students will study anthologies and the structure of selection by which they operate, as well as gendered, themed and genre traditions (LO2/LO3). The module is also concerned with researching practical aspects of performance and field research such as enquiries about performance opportunities and sites (LO4).

Studio II Craft and Ethics.
Craft and Ethics provides research, conceptualisation and development skills for the production of literary and popular fiction (LO2/LO4) and places the process of writing in the context of ethics, cultural production and publication (LO3). Students will learn methods of research, how to acquire knowledge to underpin creative production, as well as incorporate this knowledge in their writing (LO4). The module places research activity and its incorporation in creative production into ethical and philosophical contexts (LO1), develops understanding of matters of ownership and appropriation (LO2), including ideas and laws about intellectual property rights (LO2) as applicable to writing, and encourages students to consider their own production in a context of ethical conduct regarding ideas, publications and texts (LO2). Students will be encouraged to explore diverse approaches to writing fiction, develop their awareness and understanding of the form, and learn techniques and approaches necessary for creating their own (LO1/LO2).

Practice: group discussions and workshop activities explore, deepen and refine students’ understanding of the writing, adaptation and performance process (LO1/LO5). Regular reading, performance, writing and criticism exercises (small group and individual) develop specific craft skills (LO1/LO5).

The module is taught in three-hour weekly classes comprising of seminar discussion and workshop. It is assessed through pieces of written coursework, presentation and/or performance that offer students the opportunity to develop skills required for a range of writing forms, as well as for a future in writing and publishing.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of The Writer’s Craft, students will be able to:

Cognitive intellectual abilities
LO1 evaluate to an advanced degree, showing awareness of recent scholarship and research, the generic, affective, expressive and ethical qualities of prose, dramatic and/or poetic texts for (i) a narrative and visual performance context or (ii) story, technique, genre and form

Knowledge and understanding
LO2 analyse performances, performance texts and/or prose texts to an advanced degree, showing awareness of recent scholarship and research, across a number of genres, periods, locations and styles, and demonstrate understanding of writers’ cultures, values and beliefs and the diverse contexts of writing, distribution and consumption of recent and contemporary creative productions or literary works

Subject-specific skills
LO3 evaluate and/or perform creative literary texts with an awareness of genre, production medium, cultural context, audience and tone, showing awareness of recent scholarship and research
LO4 critically assess to an advanced degree the history, practice, technique, theory and production of writing (inc. adaptation) for narrative and/or visual performance, showing awareness of recent scholarship

Transferable skills
LO5 adapt work in response to criticism of technique, performance and form raised in tutorial, workshop and feedback

Assessment strategy

Studio I Craft and Performance develops students’ proficiency in writing for and about performance in a variety of media and genres. Students will adapt literary material for screen; criticise and review theatre productions of classic dramatic texts and the production and dramatization process for stage; and review, write and/or perform poetry or spoken word compositions.

Studio I Craft and Performance, Portfolio submission (001), consisting of:

• 750 word film treatment (10%) (LO3/LO4) – wk7
• 10-12 minute screen adaptation of literary text + 750 word commentary (20%) (LO1/LO2/LO3/LO5) – wk11
• 1500 word critical review of dramatic production process (20%) (LO1/LO2/LO4) – wk18
• 1500 word critical essay or 5 pages of poetry + 500 word commentary (20%) (LO2/LO3/LO4) – wk23
• 2000 word poetry review or 10 mins poetry performance + 1000 word commentary (30%) (LO2/LO3/LO4/LO5) – wk29

Studio II Craft and Ethics develops students’ creative prose proficiency, refining it through workshop criticism and tutorial, field work and research. Students will develop, explore and experiment with narrative voice, character, place, period and theme through careful consideration of cultural and ethical questions. Accompanying student commentary considers the writer’s role and the significance of commercial and literary fiction in the modern world.

Studio II Craft and Ethics, Portfolio submission (001), consisting of:

• 2500 word portfolio of creative prose (40%) (LO1/LO2/LO3) – wk13
• 3000 word portfolio of creative prose and commentary (50%) (LO1/LO2/LO3/LO5) – wk29
• Workshop contribution (on-going) (10%) (LO4/LO5)


Studio I Craft and Performance
Core textbooks:
Bulman, J. C., (1996) Shakespeare, Theory and Performance, Routledge
Eleveld, M., (ed.), (2007) The Spoken Word Revolution, Redux Sourcebooks Inc.
Giddings, R. K. S., and Wensley, C., (1990) Screening the Novel: the theory and practice of literary dramatization, MacMillan
Hawkes, T., (ed.), (1996) Alternative Shakespeares 2, Routledge
McFarlane, B., (1996) Novel to Film: an introduction to the theory of adaptation, Clarendon Press
Portnoy, K., (ed.), (1998) Screen Adaptation: A Scriptwriting Handbook, Focal Press
Silverstone, C., (2011) Shakespeare, Trauma and Contemporary Performance, Routledge
Smith, M. K., and Kraynak, J., (2009) Take the Mic: The Art of Performance Poetry, Slam, and the Spoken Word, Mediafusion
Wade, S., (2007) A Straightforward Guide to Writing Performance Poetry, Straightforward

Other textbooks
Anderson, L., (2006) Creative Writing, Routledge
Brosh, L., (2008) Screening Novel Women: from British domestic fiction to film, Palgrave Macmillan
Hindle, M., (2007) Studying Shakespeare in Film, Palgrave Macmillan
Morrissette, B., (1985) Novel and Film: essays in two genres, University of Chicago Press
Olson, A., (ed.), (2007) Word Warriors: 25 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, Seal Press
Pravsnitz, M., (2003) Velocity: The Best of Apples and Snakes Black Spring Press
Shaughnessy, R., (2010) The Routledge Guide to William Shakespeare, Routledge
Wagner, M., (2011) Shakespeare, Theatre, and Time, Routledge

Apples and Snakes
Write Out Loud http:///
The Poetry Café

Electronic Databases:
Academic Search Complete
Cambridge Core
Shakespeare Survey

Studio II Craft and Ethics
Core textbooks:

Achilles, S., (2012) Literature, Ethics and Aesthetics, Palgrave Macmillan
Booth, W.C., (2005) Ethics, Literature and Theory, Altamra Press
Carver, R., (1994) Short Cuts, Harvill Press
Oates, J.C., (ed), (2004) The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, Oxford University Press
Pojman, L., (2003) The Moral Life, Oxford University Press

Other textbooks
Cox, A., (2005) Writing Short Stories, Routledge
Lodge, D., (2011) The Art of Fiction, Vintage
Galton, D., (2008) How to write and sell short stories, Accent
Strunk, W., (1999) The Elements of Style, Longman

English PEN

Electronic Databases:
Academic Search Complete
Cambridge Core

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