Autobiography into fiction

Course Dates: 08/06/20 - 10/06/20
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Location: Online

Learn how to turn real-life experiences into gripping fiction in this fun course for fiction writing beginners and those interested in writing fiction from life. Develop your writing skills and explore techniques for transforming personal stories into written narratives, realistic or fantastical.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

This one-day course will introduce you to some techniques for transforming personal experience into fiction. You'll have the opportunity to improve your writing skills as well as your ability to give and use constructive criticism. The issues around using autobiographical material in fiction will be discussed.

Students say: "Provides a very good grounding in the basics"; "Good group atmosphere"; "Very good teaching and the exercises were inspiring"; "Really well-structured and great to have covered so many aspects"; "Enjoyed greatly and would like to do more.".

What will we cover?

- How to fictionalise, including: how to start, how to focus, and find a story-line and theme
- Recasting and changing elements of the original “true” story including fictionalising people and events
- Using different voices
- Exploring dreams and fantasy as a way to fictionalise
- How to stay in touch with the emotional truth within the fictionalised version while navigating the problems and benefits of using personal material in fiction
- How to use journals.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Respond to, and assess, pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Write autobiographically-based fiction more effectively and confidently
- Identify and use some techniques for transforming personal material into fiction
- Identify and appreciate some of the issues around using autobiographical material in fiction.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course that also welcomes more experienced writers of fiction who are interested in writing fiction from life. Fluency in written and spoken English is essential.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

- Presentations by the tutor
- Writing exercises giving you practice in transforming personal material into fiction
- Class discussion of techniques and of the issues, problems and benefits of using personal material in fiction.

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.

This course will be delivered online, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome). Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You should bring paper and pens or pencils. You are welcome to bring a laptop or a tablet for use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit runs a 6-week Autobiography into fiction course in Term 2 (January) at the intermediate level. Alternatively, you can choose to progress to another intermediate course such as Writing fiction, Short story writing, or Starting your novel. We also offer a range of courses in creative non-fiction if you are interested in life writing.

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.


Customer Reviews 20 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Course Rating
Review by Trudy / (Posted on 04/03/2020)
If you want to explore the idea of turning your own life experiences into fiction, this is a great place to start.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 25/02/2020)
By all means take part in this group.
It would be most beneficial if you have already got work you would like feedback on.
Course Rating
Review by anonymous / (Posted on 06/02/2020)
has useful aspects with great tutor
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 07/12/2019)
Go for it!
Course Rating
Review by Morgane / (Posted on 21/10/2019)
Highly recommended course if you wish to explore fiction writing! It may be just a day course but I got so much out of it!
Course Rating
Review by Christian / (Posted on 21/10/2019)
It is stimulating and inspiring
Course Rating
Review by Anna / (Posted on 22/07/2019)
The group is a bit too big and you don't really get to know them well enough in just one day. Not enough focus on the transition.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 22/07/2019)
This course delivers new skills in a short space of time.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 21/07/2019)
It's well worth doing and you'll come away with writing tools and tips.
Course Rating
Review by Monique / (Posted on 23/06/2019)
Well worth it
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 22/06/2019)
A good way to begin exploring some of the many issues involved in transforming autobiographical material into fiction.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/05/2019)
Yes I would recommend this course
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 26/02/2019)
For anyone interested in autobiographical or non-fiction writing, this workshop is a great way to inspire you and get you started. It gives you insights into transforming your ideas into stories, and answers questions you may not have known you had.
Course Rating
Review by Linda / (Posted on 25/02/2019)
If you have a story to tell and don’t know how to turn it into a story this course will give you a superb introduction. I found it really stimulating and it has given me a structure I can follow. The tutor was engaging and inspiring.
Course Rating
Review by Anne Nicholls / (Posted on 07/12/2018)
Basic summary of what to consider when turning memoir into fiction
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 04/12/2018)
This course is extremely helpful whether you’re writing fiction or non fiction. It is a great solution for “writers’ block”! I would highly recommend this course.
Course Rating
Review by Joan / (Posted on 02/12/2018)
Come along with some ideas for themes and some of your own writing, even if it's only in draft - this course will really help you to structure your ideas and your writing in a short period of time.
Course Rating
Review by Denise / (Posted on 21/10/2018)
This is an informal and relaxed course. I found the extracts from the works of writers illustrated the tutor's points perfectly and the explanations of his own writing process encouraging and inspiring. I recommend this course to anybody who feels timid about putting their own experiences down on paper or blocked in doing so. Thank you.
Course Rating
Review by Pinky / (Posted on 27/11/2016)
A good overview of the techniques of writing fiction. That said, I've had more support and success on other, non City Lit courses. It did seem rather a long day in my opinion.
Course Rating
Review by Londonerscribe / (Posted on 01/07/2016)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: HW119

Mon+Wed, day, 08 Jun - 10 Jun '20

Duration: 2 sessions

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £59.00
Concession: £24.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.