Dates & times
Various times on weekdays. Daytime and evening courses are available.
£995 per year
The Writers’ Place, 9 Jew Street, Brighton BN1 1UT
Sussex Coast College, Station Approach, Hastings TN34 1BA
No formal qualifications required
Dr Mark Slater (programme director), Catherine Smith, Susannah Waters, Rosie Chard, Dr Beth Miller, Hannah Vincent, Lizzie Enfield, Christine Harmar-Brown, Umi Sinha
The Creative Writing Programme has been carefully designed to develop your understanding of the craft of writing, to provide you with the support and structure you need to push your skills to another level and to complete a planned writing project. Whether it is a novel, a novella or collection of short stories, your course tutors will teach you the writing techniques you need to complete your work, offer you focused written feedback and help you set realistic deadlines.In your first year you will reflect on the sources and themes of your own writing: develop a greater understanding of your own creativity and the creative process; learn how to create dynamic fictional characters; discover ways of enhancing the dramatic impact of your fiction and explore the different ways in which stories can be told. In the second year the focus will shift from short scenes to longer narratives: you will develop your understanding of plot, story structure and the ‘world of the story’; explore the complex relationship between characters, narrators and readers; discover the importance of theme, conflict and dramatic tension and gain further insights into language, technique and style. Throughout the course you will continue to explore all aspects of characterisation, deepening your understanding of the function and role of character as you move from short character sketches to multi-character scenes to the complex interaction and character development of longer narratives. You will be shown ways to enhance your own creativity, hone your critical and editing skills and develop your eye for a good story. In the writing workshops, you will share, discuss and evaluate your work with the other writers in your writing group.By the end the programme you will have significantly increased your understanding of how to write good fiction, have developed a substantial body of work and have either finished your writing project or be in a position to bring it to completion.
The programme is delivered through weekly seminars in which you will develop your writing technique through practical exercises, readings, discussion of published work and group discussions led by your tutor on different aspects of the writing process. All our courses are supported by interactive learning sites where you can access seminar notes and exercises as well as a Writer’s Forum in which you can contact other writers in your group, share work and information about events and contact your tutor.
Over the course of the two-year programme you will work closely with two of our tutors. On each course you will be offered one-to-one tutorials and a Weekend School and at the end of the programme you will be given the opportunity to discuss your work with a publishing professional.
This programme will develop your confidence and ability as a writer. Through discussion and experimentation, in practical work guided by your tutor, you will learn how to improve the quality of your writing; develop your creative and critical skills; organise and manage your work and develop a strong individual style. It is an ideal programme for writers who want to write a novel, a collection of short stories or an experimental piece of imaginative prose and are looking for structure, encouragement and feedback to help them achieve this.
All you need to bring to the programme is your imagination, a love of reading, a passion to write and the determination to succeed.
‘I’d been secretly writing short stories for years but lacked the confidence to show anyone else my work. The creative writing programme is ideal for developing confidence – it’s a combination of giving and receiving feedback from peers, great tutors with fantastic writing exercises, knowledge of theory, technique, and the publishing industry. My tutor, encouraged me to send off stories in the first term, and as a result I ended up with seven short stories in print in different publications. By the end of the programme I had almost completed my first novel Snake Ropes. Through the Agents and Publishers Day on the programme I met an agent who liked my work. I have now published two books with Sceptre, ‘Snake Ropes’ and ‘Cooking With Bones’.
If I’d been asked a couple of months before starting the course if I’d ever feel able to write a novel, I’d have said no. Doing the Creative Writing Programme really helped me to realise my potential.’
Jess Richards – novelist
You will need to be able to make a two-year commitment. Over these two years you will need to organise a minimum of twelve hours per week for reading and the development of writing activities and exercises: this includes seminar time, writing time and reading time. You will also need to have access to a computer with email and an internet connection as the programme uses an internet learning site to allow students to keep in touch outside of the taught sessions. Reading, writing and researching exercises will be regularly set outside of seminar time.
Each weekly writing seminar runs for two and a half hours. Seminars will include a mix of practical writing exercises, discussion of work written in the seminar and discussion of published texts, group work, tutor led feedback and taught sessions.
1. Approaches to Writing
Through workshops, practical exercises, group discussion and feedback, you will explore the fundamental principles of storytelling and discover ways of enhancing the dramatic, sensual and visual impact of your writing; explore your own creativity and the ways in which you can realise the dramatic potential of your ideas; understand the importance of writing for your reader and learn the fundamentals of good characterisation. There are reading, researching and writing exercises each week, both at home and in class. At the end of the term, you will produce a portfolio of short pieces of creative writing for creative and critical comment from your tutor and will discuss your work and progress with them in a one-to-one tutorial.
2. Tactics for Writing
You will experiment with different narrative modes, tenses and viewpoints and explore the subtle nuances of perspective that can be achieved through their careful and consistent application. You will explore the techniques and structures used in prose fiction and gain a greater insight into the way scenes are structured and the different ways in which characters and readers can be positioned in relation to the action of a story. At the end of the course, you will take part in a short series of writing workshops in which you will read and discuss your own work in progress and the work of the other writers in your group. At the end of term, you will submit work for constructive appraisal from your tutor and will have a one to one tutorial with them to discuss your progress and plan your writing project for the second year.
3. Story Structure
In this course you will explore a number of ‘classic’ plots and different approaches to narrative structure and consider the ways they can be utilised within different genres. You will consider the key turning points in the structure of a story; the importance of beginnings, middles and endings and transitional scenes in narrative; further ways of generating tension and conflict to create narrative drive and hold your reader’s attention; ways of focusing and connecting your writing to increase coherence and resonance and ways of managing the writing process so the narrative arc you create fully realises the story’s potential. You will also continue to make progress on your writing project and will give and receive criticism of your own and other’s work in progress. At the end of this term, you will submit work to your tutor for a written critical appraisal and will discuss your work with them in a one-to-one tutorial.
4. Writing Workshops
This part of the course is designed to offer you further insights into writing technique especially in the drafting and re-drafting of texts. It will focus on the structural editing of key scenes as well as developing your editing skills and appreciation of sentence and paragraph construction. In the second part of the course, the writing workshops, you will focus your attention on critical appraisal of the writing process, both on the level of prose and the level of story. In this final part of the programme there will be a series of writing workshops in which longer pieces of work, written by you and other writers in your group, will be read and discussed. At the end of the course you will prepare a synopsis and an extract of your work to discuss with a visiting literary agent and submit a final long piece of work to your tutor for written critical feedback.
1 October 2019 - 1 June 2021