Creative Writing Programme 2021-2023
(Two-years. One morning, or one evening a week for 25 weeks per year.)
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. 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.
What is blended learning?
Over the last year work patterns and learning patterns have changed. To accommodate this new reality, we have developed a new blended learning structure for our two-year programme. The online environment is a great medium for delivering ideas and structured discussion, but it’s much easier to socialise if you’re sitting in the same room, so we’ve created a course of study that does both. You’ll spend the first three weeks of each academic year meeting up in person, then switch to online learning for the rest of term and meet up for the final week before Xmas and the first week of the Spring Term. After the Easter break you will meet up as a group for five weeks in the Summer Term for the important ‘writing workshop’ phase of your course. This way we make the most of what online learning has to offer, get to know each other individually, understand the importance of working as a group, avoid going out on wintery nights and reduce our carbon footprint. We think that’s a positive change.
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.
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 a challenging piece of prose and are looking for structure, encouragement and feedback to help them achieve this.
All you will 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 novel Snake Ropes. Through the Agents and Publishers Day on the programme I met an agent who liked my work. I now have a two-book deal with Sceptre and Snake Ropes was published in May of this year.
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, author of ‘Snake Ropes’ and ‘Cooking with Bones’
What is required of me?
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.
How are seminars structured?
The programme is delivered through weekly seminars which run for two and a half hours. Your face to face classes will take place in our teaching space in Brighton and you will access your online classes through your course page. For an online class, you simply click on the link on your course page to join your tutor and the other writers in the online classroom. 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. 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 an opportunity to take additional seminars with visiting writers on the Creative Writing Programme Weekend Schools.
There is a small fee for Weekend Schools (£30) and for Publishing Day (£50). These additional courses are optional and can be purchased once you have enrolled on the programme.
In the event of a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic and/or any restrictions on social gatherings, courses will be taught via Zoom (our video conferencing platform) for the duration of the restrictions.
Course one: Approaches to Writing
Autumn Term 2021
10 weekly writing seminars, plus a tutorial. Weekend School (Optional – late November)
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 pieces of creative writing for creative and critical comment from your tutor in a one-to-one tutorial session.
Course two: Tactics for Writing: Prose Fiction
Spring and Summer Terms 2022
15 weekly writing seminars, plus individual tutorial. Weekend School (Optional – early March).
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.
Course three: Story Structure
Autumn Term 2022
10 weekly writing seminars, plus individual tutorial. Weekend School (Optional – November).
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.
Course four: Writing Workshops
Spring and Summer Terms 2023
15 weekly writing seminars. Publishing Day (Optional – dates to be announced – usually towards the end of May.).
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 have the option to attend Publishing Day where you can get advice on how to prepare for publication and discuss your work and different routes into print with visiting literary agents and publishing professionals. In July you will submit a final long piece of work to your tutor for written critical feedback.
The Phoenix Art Space, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Brighton, BN2 9NB
Times (Choose one of the following groups)
Tuesday 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Thursday 10am – 12.30pm
Autumn: 4th October – 17th December (Reading Week 25th – 29th October)
Spring: 10th January – 25th March (Reading Week 14th – 18th February)
Summer: 25th April – 27th May
(Dates for 2022-2023 will be given in the summer term of 2022)
Fee per annum £995. Fees can be paid in full or per course:
Autumn Term, Approaches to Writing: £400
Spring/Summer Term, Tactics for Writing: £595
No formal qualifications required
Dr Mark Slater (director), Bethan Roberts, Rosie Chard, Dr Hannah Vincent, Christine Harmar-Brown, Jacq Molloy, Dr Beth Miller, Laura Wilkinson
For further information on this course or our other programmes contact