What is the course about?
An entirely workshop-based programme, this advanced online course does not offer weekly lectures, but instead provides all students with opportunities to workshop, and to receive detailed feedback on substantial pieces of writing. The course is ideally designed for students who have completed either Scott Bradfield’s novel or short story writing online courses.
This course is based entirely online and offers a huge degree of flexibility for students. You can participate wherever and whenever you wish. It opens on Monday 8 May at 15:00. After that point, you will be free to log in and contribute at any time that suits you. The course is largely text-based so you can review the material and discussion so far without having to be online at a specific time.
Scott Bradfield, retired Professor of English from the University of Connecticut, is the author of five novels and three collections of short stories. His work has appeared in numerous international journals, magazines and anthologies, including The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Tri-quarterly, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Black Clock, The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, Neue Rundschauer, and many others.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
The fundamentals discussed in earlier courses (point of view, narrative time, shaping scenes and stories) will be developed and broadened through further group discussion, chatroom meetings, and visits from a significant guest writer. There will be a weekly half-hour chat on a weekday evening.
Students can complete their work in their own time, and at their own pace; student pieces will be posted on Mondays, and a forum will be provided for other students to comment and provide supportive feedback towards revising one another’s work. On Friday, the tutor will post substantial written and audio comments on each piece of work presented or read.
There will be some assigned reading of novels and short stories.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
By the end of the course you will have had the opportunity to workshop and improve two or three substantial pieces of your work (1,500-2,000 words), and received detailed, constructive and supportive feedback from your tutor and classmates.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an advanced level course for students familiar with the structure and protocols of previous online courses. It can be taken once or several times, and is designed as a long-term opportunity to learn from writing - and reading - the work of fellow students. You'll need to bring enthusiasm, patience (with yourself and others), a good sense of humour, as well as a basic knowledge of computers and the internet. You should be able to use a word processing program to type, edit and save your work.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A few days before the start of the course, you will be sent log-in details to City Lit's online portal. You will be taught entirely online, so you can study wherever and whenever is most convenient to you. The tutor will post materials at the start of each week - either a lecture or several workshop submissions, a discussion topic, and perhaps a reading assignment. The majority of the material will be text-based and can be accessed at any time. To get the most out of the course, you should aim to put in around 3 hours of work per week.
At least one internationally-published short story writer will serve as a visiting writer, perform a reading, and answer questions about the craft - and career - of writing short stories. Guest writers have previously included multi-award winning novelists and short story writers.
Some essays, stories, and writing-tips will be posted on Moodle. The tutor will provide occasional audio and video lectures on topics that arise.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need to buy two books: Tobias Wolff (ed.), The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories and a novel to be agreed with students.
You will also need a reasonably good home computer, as a general rule of thumb no more than five years old, with a broadband internet connection and an ability to find your way to our Moodle study space.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
All students are invited to join us at City Lit Talks Back, our monthly performance night for City Lit writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Visit www.citylit.ac.uk/citylittalksback for more details or if you're interested in reading your work. Students are also encouraged to submit to Between the Lines, our annual anthology. Learn more at www.citylit.ac.uk/betweenthelines. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details