Surrey University Stag

THINKING LIKE A WRITER - 2023/4

Module code: ELI1027

Module Overview

Building on your semester 1 creative writing module, this module will further examine prose and poetry, and will also address writing for the stage, screen and even for games! Additionally, this module will encourage students to reflect on what it might mean to ‘think like a writer’. It will introduce students to writing for the stage as well as the big and small screen, through the work of individuals who are both critics and creative practitioners in their respective fields. The module also examines the creative work of poets, playwrights, screenwriters, prose writers and writers for the new spaces of digital and electronic media often in the light of these authors’ critical writing, and helps students to think about how their own creative and critical practice might inform each other. The module also includes an introduction to narrative and creative writing theory that will be explored in greater depth in the second and final years of your creative writing programme.

 

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

MOONEY Stephen (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: W800

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 45

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 86

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Students must be enrolled in the English and Creative Writing programme, or be taking Creative Writing as their minor pathway.  

Module content

The following areas are indicative of topics to be covered:


  • Thinking Like a Writer

  • Introduction to Drama

  • Introduction to Film

  • Writers on Writing

  • Preparing Creative Work

  • Introduction to Narrative Theory

  • writing for interactive analogue and digital media


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework PORTFOLIO OF CREATIVE WRITING (1500 WORDS OR EQUIVALENT) AND REFLECTIVE CRITICAL COMMENTARY (500 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in working as part of a group and practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication. It also assesses subject knowledge in the different forms of critical theory used in English literature and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using theory in the close reading of literary texts in class.

The Creative Writing Portfolio Plus Self-Reflective Commentary assessment option allows students to demonstrate:  
* Subject knowledge relating to the close analysis of form, meaning, language and context in Science Fiction (including sustainability and global and cultural capability narratives)
* Cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking
* Professional/practical skills in communicating ideas in writing that will feed forward into their future careers as writers and/or critics through the broad range of assessment submission possibilities incorporated into the open-ended assessment type integral to the module
* Creative engagement with the opportunities and limitations of a particular mode of writing, skills that will feed into both their English Literature and creative writing modules in future years of the degree, including their major project in their final year.
* Creative engagement with the texts and themes discussed on the module, such as sustainability and global cultural awareness matters
* An ability to locate your own creative work fruitfully and articulately in relation to existing literary traditions and the contemporary field of literary production as well as in terms of other creative writing in the field as part of their journey to hone their contextualising skills through their degree
 

Assessment Pattern

* Creative Writing Portfolio (1500 Words of Creative Prose or Equivalent in Other Forms) Plus Self-Reflective Commentary (500 Words)

[Designed to facilitate student accessibility, the creative writing can be in any form (or collection of forms) that the student wishes to work with or to try new forms of writing in. Alternative forms of literary essay, such as the video essay, are also possible.]

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback and formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, and tutor and peer feedback in seminars, on short pieces (250-500 words or equivalent in another form) presented as part of the confidence building safe space of the creative writing workshop element of the classes.
Each student can expect to present 2-3 such pieces over the course of the semester according to a schedule worked out between the tutor and the student cohort. Written and/or oral tutor feedback will also be provided on one piece of creative writing (maximum of 500 words or equivalent) during the course of the module (the student is free to submit this at any point of the semester).

Writing, presentation and critical analysis skills will be developed and honed which will feed forward to the summative assessment at the end of the module and towards building the students’ resilience and confidence in presenting work publicly.

There is the option of a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module, such as seminar contribution and writing exercises.

 

Module aims

  • The module aims to: explore the relationship between critical analysis and creative practice in a variety of forms, analogue and digital, as well as their wider contexts (social, cultural and compositional)
  • encourage students to reflect on the demands of dramatic structure, and its relationships to storytelling in other media and modes
  • introduce students to the creative challenges and possibilities of writing for stage, screen and interactive analogue and digital forms
  • facilitate textual production in various contexts by providing students with a theoretical and practical toolkit for text design
  • further build confidence in writing, presenting and workshopping their creative work
  • further build editing and workshopping skills in relation to their work and that of their peers
  • develop more fully students' understanding of the value and context of creative writing theory as a tool with which to shape and locate their own creative writing and its critical frame

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will have: reflected on the relationship between creative practice and critical and theoretical approaches to the text by studying critical approaches on the module and workshopping texts in discussion with other students C
002 Drawn on their creative practice to inform their critical thinking, and vice versa and demonstrated further developed awareness of their creative process though the safe space of the creative writing workshop where students will receive support and advice in their journey to becoming a writer from both the seminar leader and fellow student creative writers KP
003 Written competently and confidently for a variety of different modes and media through engaging with the varied form based exercises in the weekly seminars P
004 Thought about types of cliché and how it can be avoided or used in their own writing, which is often a stumbling block for beginning writers T
005 Demonstrated further developed workshopping and editing skills which will stand them in good stead throughout the rest of their degree and beyond as professional writers and members of writerly communities and the literary industries, for example KT
006 Demonstrated familiarity with some of the key ideas and concerns in narrative, one of the key aspects starting writers need to consider KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

•    Hone and develop students’ writing skills in academic writing, and creative writing (in a variety of forms) by developing an awareness of the application of their creative practice in informing their critical thinking, and vice versa, and in further developing workshopping and editing skills through in-class discussion and sharing of writer experience alongside study of critical and source materials
•    Assist students in locating literary texts and their critical writing, and their creative work in historical and cultural contexts by identifying some of the key ideas and concerns in their work and its cultural context, such as global cultural and sustainability questions, and the relationship between creative practice and critical and theoretical approaches to the text
•    Equip students with the research and writing skills they will need to produce critically informed academic writing, and creative writing (in a variety of forms) and creative criticism by developing competency and confidence in writing in a variety of different modes and media, by encouraging thinking about types of cliché, and how it can be avoided or used in their own writing through the safe space of the seminar and the creative writing workshop setting where ideas, advice and responses are shared with new authors
•    Equip students with a basic grounding in resourcefulness and resilience as new writers by giving them the freedom to experiment with form and style in response to the open-ended form-based exercises each week, and by providing them with the supportive and encouraging safe space of the creative writing workshop within which they can take the beginning steps in receiving and giving constructive critical and writerly responses to their own work and those of other students and begin to develop a further awareness of their creative process
•    Help students develop further the sorts of writing and communication skills and credentials that modern employers look for in the communication, marketing, literary, education and creative industries (and beyond) through the editing and feedback process engendered though the weekly writing exercises and the workshopping process in tandem with an emphasis on reading alongside writing as a critical tool in developing writerly skills
 

The learning and teaching methods include a combination of lecture materials, seminars, captured content, guided learning and independent learning and includes a weekly interactive workshopping element where students either present or respond to their own or other's creative work in a supportive, constructive and open manner.

Students will engage with preparatory reading, including creative work by other students, in advance of the seminar which will combine discussion of interrelated critical ideas and texts with in-class creative or critical writing exercises each week. Designed to help students reflect on and apply their learning to creative and critical outputs, the workshop environment acts as a safe space for developing and exchanging ideas, support and writing skills.

Varied learning materials such as lexical texts, visual materials, sculptural objects and other physical material prompts, video and sound objects, games and gamified texts are designed to increase student accessibility and will present them with a range of interpretive materials and approaches with which to work and develop their own thinking and creative responses.

 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI1027

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: Following on from your 1st semester creative writing module, this 1st year semester 2 module explores creative writing form in new and expanded ways, introducing drama, screenwriting and digital writing to your portfolio of writing approaches. In focussing on and growing key writing skills in various media (including poetry, prose, drama, screenwriting, digital writing and writing for the big and little screen), in this module you will continue to develop the sorts of writing abilities that will facilitate your practice as a professional writer. In addition, this will also provide you with the much sought after writing and communication credentials that modern employers value so much in students with literature and writing backgrounds, such as clarity of expression, grammatical skills, structuring, narrative flexibility, storytelling aptitude, writerly lexicons, persuasive and engaging language and so on that careers in publishing, editorial, marketing, social media, teaching, drama, film and TV production, writing for games and a host of other career areas require. The skills and aptitudes developed in this module will feed forward to the creative writing modules in the later years of your degree.

Digital Capabilities: As part of this module’s approach, you will be introduced to digital writing and writing for the big screen (cinema) and little screen (TV and gaming). In this introductory 1st year module, we will look at screenwriting and writing for games as well as digital writing more broadly and get the opportunity to produce, and receive feedback on, your own creative writing in these forms. These writing approaches can be developed further in your 2nd and/or final year in more generalised creative writing modules as well as specialisied modules that look at digital form in particulars forms, such as writing for the screen or writing for games, for example.
In addition, students taking the Placement year may choose to explore working in fields that allow them to further develop these skills.
As part of the module seminars, you will also be encouraged to communicate with one another and to work collaboratively on some exercises SurreyLearn, Microsoft Teams, and other digital and document sharing platforms, skills will be carried forward to later modules on your degree.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Creative writing is a field that reaches out to all parts of the human experience and all parts of our global cultures, facilitating exchange of ideas and experiences and helping to foster creative and cultural empathy in readers and writers of all kinds across the globe. Creative writing also plays a very important recording and preservation role in narrativising and keeping alive and vibrant different cultures and experiences, especially those that might otherwise be silenced or endangered. Following on from your 1st semester creative writing module, where you are asked to respond in writing to texts and modes of writing from different cultures and times, you are encouraged to share and write your experiences and knowledge, and those from your own cultures and backgrounds, and to respect and value differences in experience. The weekly workshopping sessions give students the opportunity to present your own narrative and to experience and respond to those of others in a friendly, constructive and open forum. Creative writing students will be exposed, through their English literature and other creative writing modules throughout their degree, to a wide range of texts from all over the world and students are encouraged to bring this knowledge into their writing and their writing practice right from the beginning of their study of creative writing.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: the life of a writer can often be a solitary and isolating one. This module, through workshopping, group work and shared writerly experience will help equip you for the real world setting of your current and future writing practice. Not only will we look at  texts where writers talk about their experience of life as a writer, you will also benefit from the experience of your peers (a really important group, as you will be the writers of the future), from your tutors who are all professional writers who started out just like you and from periodic guest speakers attached to this and later creative writing modules as you progress through your degree. This module helps set the stage for more detailed discussions in later creative writing modules on your degree about your practice as a writer, the practicalities of building a portfolio of writing and a profile as a writer, the realities of the publishing industries and the importance of connecting to writing communities that will be essential to your current and future emotional and practical wellbeing and success as a writer.

 

 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.