BUILDING STORIES- METHODS AND MATERIALS OF CONTEMPORARY WRITING - 2025/6

Module code: ELI3067

Module Overview

"Literature was never only words, never merely immaterial verbal constructions. Literary texts, like us, have bodies, an actuality necessitating that their materialities and meanings are deeply interwoven into each other"-N. Katherine Hayles, Writing Machines. In this level 6 Creative Writing module, we will, as Hayles argues, consider the materiality of a variety of print-based and digital-born literature with an eye toward developing original creative projects. We will read and discuss relevant literary and theoretical works in detail, considering the medium (and technology, where appropriate) involved in their construction, as well as the aesthetic and conceptual frameworks that underpin each text. And to make use of all of our reading, students will learn to articulate responses to set texts through a series of writing exercises in which they are encouraged to experiment-to get their hands dirty, to play, to 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: 77

Seminar Hours: 16.5

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 6.5

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative list of topics to be covered: 


  • The medium-specific concerns of print texts, digital-born texts, artists' books, and book objects by reading and discussing a variety of works engaged with materiality 

  • Theoretical frameworks relating to textual materialities (e.g. digital, physical, technological) to contextualise creative literary works by reading and discussing critical explorations of materiality

  •  The relationships between form and content, which can be seen across set texts, workshop activities (eg writing tasks), and in students' own creative projects

  •  Drafting, redrafting, revising, editing creative projects that explore textual materiality, as well as peer and tutor feedback on students' original writing in this field

  •  Producing an effective critical commentary that explores the medium-specific concerns of individual creative projects produced in response to set texts


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Creative Writing Portfolio (2500 words creative prose or equivalent), plus 750 words of self-reflective commentary 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

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


  • the development of their creative writing skills in their own creative projects that explore textual materialities

  • the development of creative projects which engage with specific technical, formal, and creative challenges Page: 3 of 6 (such as materials and methods of construction; achieving narrative cohesion-or purposeful disruption thereof; exploring constructions of tone, voice, character, etc)

  • their understanding of the context of their work within this field and how their work may fit into it, and productive and effective ways of writing critically about these methods



Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

End of semester Creative Writing Portfolio (2500 words creative prose or equivalent for poetry or other forms submissions), plus 750 words of self-reflective critical commentary (100%)

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, textual materialities). 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

Verbal feedback and formative 'feed forward' is provided through seminar discussions, and tutor feedback in seminars on short pieces presented as part of the workshopping element of the classes. Each student can expect to present 1-2 such pieces over the course of the semester according to a schedule worked out between the tutor and the student cohort, as well as presenting other in-class writing exercises to the class for discussion, and peer and tutor feedback. Written and/or oral tutor feedback will also be provided on one piece of creative writing (maximum of 500 words or equivalent for poetry or other forms) during the course of the module.

As such, 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.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 help students: gain practice in producing prose, poetry or other creative literary forms which engage
    with creative and theoretical frameworks that explore textual materiality, and apply those concepts in their own writing
  • Become more sophisticated readers of texts concerned with textual materiality (for example, digital-born texts, artists'
    books, book objects, etc)
  • Gain a sensitivity to the ways in which different media/materials impact literature, creative processes, and reading
    practices, through reading, class discussions, and workshop tasks (eg writing exercises)
  • Engage with the conceptual frameworks of a variety of literary texts invested in materiality (such as mixed media
    texts). students will begin to see this writing not only in the context of developing technologies, but also through the
    artistic foundations that undergird them
  • Develop individual projects while seeing their work as part of a larger community within and beyond the classroom (via
    workshops, class discussions, writing exercises, etc)

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will: have identified the specific technical challenges involved in a particular creative project focused on textual materiality CP
002 Have identified a variety of creative techniques with which to respond to these challenges KCP
003 Be able to understand, describe and explain the nature, role and significance of the creative choices they make as writers KCP
004 Have offered detailed and constructive feedback on other students' creative writing and in engaging in these peer review activities, gained insight into their own writing and how it might be improved KCPT
005 Respond to the detailed and constructive feedback of other students in order to polish, refine and rethink their own creative writing KCPT
006 Have honed their ability to locate their own creative writing in relevant theoretical, literary and historical contexts, which will enable students to engage within the wider field of creative writing relevant to their interests KCP

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 materiality 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 textual materialities



The learning and teaching methods include:

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 materials, 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.

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: ELI3067

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: this module examines, in part, digital materialities (eg exploring digital-born texts in the module content such as set texts), so not only do students gain familiarity with reading and writing in digital forms, there is an underlying critical framework about the nature of digital materialities within this module's content. Additionally, students will use the VLE for discussions, workshop submissions, constructive feedback, as well as to access captured content and other module materials. This module not only allows students to practice basic digital skills (such as accessing SurreyLearn), it also has a thread of considering how digital media may impact their own writing as well as literary/creative projects. Students are encouraged to explore digital writing modes, methods, and relevant technologies such as constructing hypertext creative projects (using platforms such as Twine, Storyspace, or similar), or to use digital tools to construct poetry, fiction, or hybrid texts (such as digital erasure projects), and so on.

Resourcefulness & Resilience: This module encourages students to pursue their own original creative works (both in regular workshop activities and in their summative assessments) which by its nature requires a high level of independent learning and project design. Students practice their resourcefulness and resilience with this independent research and writing. Likewise, students are asked to offer constructive peer feedback to the workshop group, which allows them to build their communication skills in this area (eg writing students'-like writers-need to develop resilience to manage, assess, and apply appropriately constructive criticism they hear about their work to achieve more polished results).

Employability: in addition to the digital skills and R&R skills this module encourages students to develop, the independent learning skills coupled with discussions of relevant publishing streams (or similar industry expectations) for a variety of literary forms that students may wish to pursue. These skills are transferable and highly sought after as employable skills (eg a high level of written and verbal communication; independent Page: 4 of 6 research/learning; etc)

Global & Cultural Capabilities: the current reading list was designed with an eye toward the programme's larger investment in decolonising the curriculum. As such, set texts explore a variety of cultural and social issues, which may effectively widen students' experience of forms that explicitly deal with these issues. Likewise, our workshop environment is collaborative and often peer-led (eg in small group workshop activities), which directly puts students from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds together which will, ideally, enhance their understanding of and appreciation for these differences.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Optional 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
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature 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 2025/6 academic year.