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Creative Writing 1: Writing Skills

Course Level: 1 (HE4) | HE Credits: 40 | Approx. Duration: 12 months at 8hrs/week


The course offers an introduction to the basic skills needed for writing prose and poetry. The course offers you a developmental and directed learning pathway, within a context of structured freedom.

The teaching materials contain clear instruction and outlines of expectation, covering prose, scriptwriting and poetry. The exercises and assignments are designed to help you to develop your own creative style and voice and to inspire and encourage you to begin writing creatively from direct sensory experience and detailed observation over a wide breadth of genres and forms.

You will develop your writing practice by creating a body of work comprising short pieces of writing. You will develop an understanding of critical models by reading, drafting, editing and presenting your creative writing and responding to constructive critical suggestions from your tutor. You will reflect on the writing process and critically appraise your own work by writing reflective commentaries throughout the course.

Jane Horton on ‘Creative Writing 1 : Writing Skills’


The course aims to

  • A1 give practice in writing creatively from direct sensory experience and detailed observation
  • A2 explore language and style in different literary forms
  • A3 develop skills in drafting, evaluating and editing texts.
  • A4 develop your reflective skills


On successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • LO1 Write effectively drawing on sensory experience and observation (A1)
  • LO2 Show development of language, style and expression within your writing (A2)
  • LO3 Draft, redraft and edit self-generated texts with discrimination. (A3)
  • LO4 Reflect on your own learning experience (A4)

Course content

  • Starting to write – basic tips and techniques: keeping a writer’s notebook and commonplace book; using freewriting to release your thoughts; observation and the five senses; building a poem or descriptive prose from observation.
  • Writing about people – observing and describing people in prose and poetry: your emotions, character, possessions, motivation and history.
  • Making your characters speak:monologue, dialogue, point of view, playwriting and creating variation and balance within the text.
  • Style and language: writing styles (formal, technical, journalistic, etc.), narrative voice and persona, using language with simplicity, economy, clarity and accuracy, using imagery.
  • Plot and structure: getting inspiration; creating interest with character and conflict; mapping a plotline; beginnings, middles and ends; plot structures (the quest, rebirth, etc.) and themes; redrafting work.

This course also includes a key text, included in the cost of the course: The Creative Writing Coursebook; Foreword by Andrew Motion Edited by Julia Bell & Paul Magrs

Unit Leader

Vicky MacKenzie

Unit Leader for Creative Writing 1: Writing Skills

“I’m drawn to work that responds to unusual subject matter or casts a clear eye on the natural world and often read books of natural history, popular science and writers’ letters for inspiration. My favourite fiction writers include Andrea Barrett, Marilynne Robinson and Anthony Doerr; favourite poets include Alice Oswald, Kathleen Jamie and Robert Wrigley…”
Read the rest of Vicky’s profile here