Module code: ELI3064

Module Overview

Often dismissed as disposable entertainment, derided for rehashing formulaic plot devices, popular genre fiction may better be considered literature that tests the generic boundaries within which it operates. This Level 6 Creative Writing module aims to establish the fundamental techniques, strategies, and conventions of popular genres and modes (such as mystery, horror, graphic narrative), as well as ways writers may choose to subvert those conventions, with an eye toward developing original creative projects that engage—in some way—with genre. This module is intended to complement the range of Creative Writing modules offered at level 6, focussing on genre construction and reception across a variety of contexts.

One of the keys to becoming a more sophisticated writer is to become a more careful reader. Whether you love or hate, are exhilarated, or bored by a text, you can always learn from it. To that end, we will read and discuss relevant literary and theoretical works in detail, considering both the elements of craft that contribute to the construction of different genres (character, plot, form, structure, and so on), as well as the aesthetic and conceptual frameworks that underpin each text, particularly where writers may subvert genre expectations. And to make use of all our reading, we will learn to articulate responses to set texts through a series of writing exercises in which you are encouraged to experiment—and have fun—with the concepts introduced by the texts we read. Students should also be prepared to contribute fully to workshop discussions of their own and each other’s work. The module will provide students the opportunity to produce, revise and polish their creative writing and will encourage and enable them to reflect on their own creative work and writing practice in a productive and critically informed manner. Attendance is compulsory.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

SZCZEPANIAK Angela (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 71.5

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 6.5

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The following areas are indicative of topics to be covered:

This module aims to introduce students to a variety of narrative practices and modes, across a broad range of literary forms that make use of narrative. Students will explore these areas through a range of set critical and literary texts that cover the following foundational concepts in narrative studies:

  • approaches to genre theory

  • approaches to a variety of genres and associated conventions, as well as the implications of related creative choices (eg mystery, horror, graphic narrative)

  • critical engagement with a variety of approaches to genre construction (eg commercial, formally innovative, etc)

  • Ways of Telling

  • Narrative Voice

  • Reasons writers may subvert established conventions

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Portfolio of Creative Writing (2500 words in total) & Critical Commentary (600 words) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • the development in their writing skills creative writing (prose, poetry, and/or a range of other literary forms involving genre) through the creative portion of the portfolio

  • their understanding of the context of their original creative projects in historical and cultural terms, as well as in terms of other creative writing in the field

  • their development of research and writing skills, which will be most visible in the Critical Commentary

  • productive and informed critical reflection on both the literary writing itself and the critical and secondary material that surrounds it, and/or the creative process itself and the finished work that has resulted from it

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Portfolio of Creative Writing (2500 words in total) & Critical Commentary (600 words)

The summative assessment is an opportunity for students to develop their writing into a polished piece of creative work in a form/genre of their choosing, related to the module content (ie genre). The Critical Commentary element of the portfolio offers an opportunity for students to employ their research skills to determine and develop the literary context of their creative work to better understand where they may fit in a contemporary literary landscape (e.g. literary markets, readerships, or specific publication streams).

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, tutor and peer feedback in seminars, and a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: provide a critical and theoretical framework which will allow students to evaluate their own work and that of others
  • Provide opportunities for structured creative work and offer regular peer and tutor feedback (verbal and/or written)
  • Develop critical reading skills used in the production of creative writing
  • Introduce a variety of textual forms and discuss a critical context for them
  • Encourage a collaborative creative writing community in the classroom (eg via workshop discussions, peer-led feedback activities, workshop activities, etc)
  • Develop upon critical writing skills established in L4 and L5 of the Programme about students' own creative work (eg via the Critical Commentary)

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module, students should be able to: demonstrate enhanced understanding of the relationship between critical and creative practices via class discussions of set texts and their own creative and critical work KCP
002 Show familiarity with a range of narrative practices and perspectives via a varied range of set texts that introduce modes and/or forms that students may not have read or written in previously K
003 Utilise and provide regular peer feedback in the development of their own work via the workshop model of this module's underlying pedagogy P
004 Developed further their 'practice' as writers via workshop activities and/or related set texts PT
005 Demonstrate the ability to respond creatively to a variety of technical challenges and the writing, editing and revising skills required to produce a polished and effective portfolio of creative writing KCPT

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: 

• Engage students in exploring and effectively realising their creative projects through completing a series of workshop activities, readings, and class discussions
• Hone and develop students’ writing skills in projects invested in concepts of genre by deploying a range of editing, revising and redrafting methods to improve their work, as well as by identifying the specific technical challenges involved in a particular creative project, and the creative techniques with which to respond to these challenges
• Assist students in locating their work in historical and cultural contexts by helping them develop their own creative writing in relation to relevant theoretical, literary, cultural, social, or historical contexts and conceptual frameworks
• Equip students with the research and writing skills they will need to produce critically informed creative projects 
• Assist students in responding to the detailed and constructive feedback of other students in order to polish, refine and rethink their own creative writing, as well as offering detailed and constructive feedback on other students’ creative writing – and in so doing helping them gain insight into their own writing and how it might be improved
• Facilitate in students’ critical awareness of their own creative choices in their practice-based projects, through a critical engagement with a variety of literary and theoretical texts concerned with genre

The learning and teaching methods include:

2-hr workshop x 11 weeks

Two contact hours per week over the semester. Classes will take the form of workshops; students are expected to read and prepare weekly set texts and to undertake preparatory work in advance of workshops.  The Learning and teaching methods include a combination of:

  • Lecture-bites, which introduce relevant contextual and background information

  • seminars, which allow students to actively engage with the materials at hand

  • captured content which allows students to work with module content at their own pace

  • guided learning, which allows students to develop independent learning with appropriate support

  • independent learning, which allows students to develop their own interests related to module content

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI3064

Other information

Additional 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:

Digital Capabilities: In addition to using the VLE to access module materials, students also use the VLE as a discussion and workshop space, which drives a high level of activity to enhance/practice digital skills. Students will also engage with a variety digital research tools (eg archives, databases, etc), and have the option to construct creative digital projects related to module content, if they so choose. Some of the module content may include discussions of digital tools to construct creative projects (eg Storyspace, Twine, or similar), and some set texts may include or inspire discussions of digital-born texts and how they use technology/digital landscapes to centre creative projects.

Employability: This module includes a ‘professional practice’ element which raises concerns such as industry standards and career paths of particular interest to students in this programme. Students also develop their own ‘writing practice’ statements, which encourages them to reflect critically on how they will represent themselves in their future careers. There are a number of other transferable skills that this module develops: eg, independent learning (there is not set weekly lecture before seminars—students must come to workshops prepared with their understanding of module materials… this is part of a wider push to increased independent learning at L6 across the programme).

Resourcefulness & Resilience: This pillar is demonstrated most in the independence that students must practice on this module (eg, see ‘employability’ above). Students must also demonstrate their R&R in that they design their own creative projects for their summative assessment (within guidelines), which fosters independent learning and resourcefulness. Likewise, the workshop element of this module, wherein students give and receive constructive feedback, requires a high degree of resilience to practice effectively. Not only does this come through the module within the workshop pedagogy itself, the module embeds tools to help students hone these skills in a purposeful way (eg seminar topics include guidance on how to give and receive constructive feedback; how to most successfully build a community within the classroom, etc).

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 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.