Creative Writing Programme – Online Learning

Key facts

Programme length: Two years.

Times:  Thursday 10am -12.30pm UK time 

CWP Term Dates:

Autumn: 28 September – 11 December 2020 (10 weeks)
Spring: 11 January – 26 March 2021 (10 weeks)
Summer: 19 April – 24 May 2021 (5 weeks)

(Dates for 2021-2022 will be given in the summer term of 2021)

Venue: This is an online course

Entry requirements: No formal qualifications required.

Programme tutors: Dr Mark Slater (programme director), tutor tbc

If you have any further enquiries about the programme, please contact


The Creative Writing Programme in association with New Writing South

Two years: One seminar a week for 25 weeks per year.

The online learning version of the Creative Writing Programme is offered as a part-time two year course.

As a writer on the online learning Creative Writing Programme you will follow the same course of study as writers who are physically attending our teaching centre at the Writers’ Place, Brighton, UK, the only difference being that you will use a virtual, interactive teaching space. You will have a regular seminar time each week so you can build a study routine and you will remain in the same group throughout the two years on the programme. Groups will have a maximum of twelve writers which will allow you to get to know everyone and build a supportive and creative community.

You will begin your weekly session by logging in to our website and going to your course page where you will see a note from your tutor, an outline of the topic for the session, reading materials and a link to your virtual interactive teaching space. When the ‘live’ session begins – at 10am UK time, for example – you will click the link and see a screen in which your tutor will appear next to a gallery of smaller images, in which you will see the other members of your group. Your tutor will welcome everyone and then run the ‘live’ taught session.

In your taught sessions you will be introduced to topics and aspects of technique by your tutor, explore published texts, carry out writing exercises and discuss the writing process either in small groups or together as a whole group. Your tutor will guide group discussions and offer you feedback on your work. After the ‘live’ session has ended you will be given additional writing exercises and preparation for your next session which will need to be done over the course of the week. At the end of each course you will have the opportunity to submit a portfolio of written work to your tutor for detailed feedback.

It’s not just what you learn on the programme that will aid your development as a writer; you will be supported and inspired by your fellow writers and tutors and through the Writer’s Forum (your online contacts with other writers) you will build a network of friends and readers that will sustain and support you as you develop as a writer.

Writers who have come through The Creative Writing Programme have gone on to be published, to win or be shortlisted for regional and national awards and competitions – including the Booker Prize and the Costa Prize – and to establish themselves as successful writers. Some writers go on to pursue writing as a career, others are satisfied with the intrinsic pleasure that writing well and appreciating good literature can offer them. Whether you want to write professionally or for pleasure, our programmes offer you the opportunity to take your writing to the highest levels.

Our approach to teaching creative writing

Our approach to teaching creative writing is fundamentally different from that of the majority of creative writing courses in Higher Education that mix conventional critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literary texts with short modules in creative writing. At the core of our teaching strategy is the belief that creative writing requires a similar educational approach to that used in other areas of the arts. Our focus therefore is primarily on the process of composition and our aim, through carefully designed writing exercises is to balance intuition and understanding: to allow writers to become more critically aware in the editing process and more instinctive in the writing process. We recognise the importance, alongside intellectual and critical skills, of the physical and emotional experience of fiction and draw on published fiction, writers on writing and relevant theory to support this holistic approach.


The online learning 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, you will be taught the writing techniques you need to complete your work, be given focused written feedback and help to set yourself 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 ‘online’ seminars in which you will develop your writing technique through practical exercises, reading, discussion of published work and group discussions guided by your tutor. Each week your course will focus on a different aspect of the writing process. Your tutor will introduce the topic and through discussion of the preparatory reading, reveal the concepts and ideas that will guide you to a deeper understanding of that particular aspect of the writing process. You will then work on these aspects of technique in specifically developed writing exercises before discussing your work and the creative process in small groups. Over the course of the two-year programme you will work closely with two of our tutors. You will be offered one-to-one tutorials and receive feedback on written submissions at the end of each course.

What this programme will do for you

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.

What is required of me?

You will need to commit to a minimum of twelve hours per week for the duration of each course. This includes online seminar time, writing time and reading time. You will need to have a computer, (a desktop computer or a laptop), with email and good Internet access and be able to find a quiet place to be online at a regular time each week for group seminars. A reasonable level of computer literacy is required and it would be a good idea to have someone on hand you can ask for advice. Access to the virtual classrooms is straightforward and will quickly become routine. In your first session your tutor will guide your through the simple protocols for online teaching. You will need to complete your set writing tasks by the deadlines set so you can share and discuss your work with other writers online. All students on the distance learning courses are responsible for ensuring that their own computers and Internet connections are working and properly maintained.

For writers joining the programme from abroad a good grasp of the English language is essential as all the discussions and writing on the course will be in English.

How will your learning week be structured?

You will receive a course outline at the beginning of each course and your weekly topics will appear on your course page on our website on a week-by-week basis and will remain on the course page once they have gone live. Your online sessions will be recorded; so, if you miss a session, although you will no longer be able to participate, you will be able to watch a recording of your class. This also means that at any time during the term you can look back over the discussions you have had and the work you have covered in previous weeks. You will be given further reading and writing assignments out of the taught class to consolidate learning and prepare for the following week’s seminar. You will need to make sure that you created enough time in your week – approximately six to eight hours  – to carry out these reading and writing tasks. You will be able to message your tutor and the other writers in your group through your Writers’ Forum.

Programme Structure

Course One: Approaches to Writing.

Autumn Term 2020

10 weekly topics, online discussions and creative writing exercises.

Through small group online discussions, practical exercises and tutor 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. 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.

Course Two: Tactics for Writing

Spring and Summer Terms 2021

15 weekly topics, online discussions and creative writing exercises.

In this course 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 share and discuss your work with other writers in your group. At the end of the course you will submit work for constructive appraisal, discuss your progress and plan your writing project for the second year with your tutor.

Course Three: Story Structure

Autumn Term 2021

10 weekly topics, online discussions and creative writing exercises.

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 share your work with other writers in your group. At the end of this term, you will submit further work to your tutor for a written critical appraisal.

Course Four: Writing Workshops

Spring and Summer Terms 2022

15 weekly topics, online discussions and creative writing exercises.

This final 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 online 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 course, guided by your tutor, you will read and write constructive critiques of finished short stories and novel chapters written by you and other writers in your group.

Key facts

Programme length: Two years

Term Dates:

Autumn: 28 September – 11 December 2020 (10 weeks)
Spring: 11 January – 26 March 2021 (10 weeks)
Summer: 19 April – 24 May 2021 (5 weeks)

(Dates for 2021-2022 will be given in the summer term of 2021)

Session times: Thursdays 10am – 12.30pm UK time

Entry requirements: No formal qualifications required. All writers must ensure they have a working computer with good Internet access.

Programme tutors: Dr Mark Slater (programme director), tutor to be confirmed.

If you have any further enquiries about the programme, please contact


Enrolments for 2021-22 will open in spring 2021

  • Creative Writing Programme logo


1 October 2020 - 20 May 2021
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

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