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BA Hons creative writing


The importance of being….Precise in your opening sentences

We all know how important it is to grab the reader right away. When I mark students work, I often find myself making very similar comments about their opening lines. If the character, and their specific orientation in a scene is made clear in the first few lines I tend to praise that. If not, […]

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Developing your voice. Part 1

The idea of developing ‘your voice’ is not just an idea limited to X Factor. Or, for that matter, Britain’s Got Talent. It is a term publishers and agents often use when critiquing new writers. How strong is their ‘voice’? But what is meant by this term, and how can we develop our voice, as a writer, to make it stronger?

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How do writers use the idea of memory to help tell stories? Part two

Memory has a nebulous, abstract quality to it. Perhaps it is that mysterious element which makes authors often use it as a literary device. People – and therefore characters – can trick themselves into thinking they remember something that happened when it did not.

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How do writers use the idea of memory to help tell stories?

Are there any novels or films that don’t rely on the premise of ‘I remember’? The idea of memory is more embedded in art than I think we credit. The fact that a story needs to be told is central as to why the reader – or viewer is being offered in the first place. We have all heard stories that began with the winsome phrase ‘Once upon a time’ when we were children.

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Facing up to what you really don’t want to try

For decades I was terrified of poetry. It all seemed so incredibly technical and difficult. I didn’t see the point; I wanted to tell a story. So when I did my MA I made myself face up to this and do the poetry module, even though the scriptwriting one beckoned as I’d already had five radio plays broadcast. What’s the point of doing a course if you don’t learn something new? I struggled. It hurt. I came to realise that this was something I had to actively learn.

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I’ve got stuck

Oh, it happens, and it’s horrible, whether it’s a book, a play or a short story. It’s like being in a maze when you can’t find the way out, and you keep passing the same point over and over again.

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To flow or not to flow: the risks of getting carried away

Many students in their commentaries explain that they changed some word or omitted a phrase “so that my writing would flow better.” And as tutor, my comment is usually: “What do you mean by flow?” I think it’s a dangerous word.

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Making the most of your narrative, part 2.

In the first part of this blog I looked at the smoothness of the narrative and how peaks and lulls in the emotional intensity of the story seem to engage the reader. But there are clearly many aspects of the narrative that can allow the author to make the most of it. Here I want to turn attention onto a couple of these aspects. Namely the plot and the characters.

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Study Visit: Stephen Moss

Join Stephen Moss in conversation on the 18 February in Taunton. Moss is an award winning producer responsible for BBC Springwatch and other programmes; he is also the author of some 30 books with his latest publication being Planet Earth 2. Presently he teaches the Travel and Nature Writing M.A. at Bath Spa University. Although […]

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