The art of the sentence: grammar and style for creative writers

Course Dates: 20/04/20 - 06/07/20
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Great poetry and prose begin when the writer puts the right words in the right places. Learn how and why the rules and conventions of language matter in this course, which combines creative writing with opportunities to learn/revise essential points of grammar and useful literary concepts. Suitable for beginning writers looking to build confidence, and those with more experience who would like to practise these essential skills.


What is the course about?

Learning and revising language and literary skills, and using them as a tool to express yourself creatively.

Students say: "It gave me keys that opened up my creativity"; "There was a variety of interesting tasks to challenge me"; "No judgment, supportive teacher and class"; "I liked the pace, the size of the group, the easy-to-follow lessons.".

What will we cover?

We’ll examine the concept of Standard English, and consider its role in creative writing. We’ll look at sentence structures, paragraphs and verb tenses. We’ll explore how figurative language works, when it should be used and when it is best avoided. We’ll look at new words and their uses. We’ll revise the rules for punctuation of dialogue and other problem areas. We’ll examine poetic forms, and use them. We’ll ask the question: can the rules be deliberately broken for creative effect? (The answer is yes, but you have to know what they are first.).

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

- Identify any difficulties you have with written English, and remedy them
- Identify the characteristics of Standard English
- Use the rules of grammar and punctuation effectively in your creative writing
- Identify the characteristics of figurative language, and how to use it
- Identify and work with a variety of poetic forms
- Write authentic-sounding dialogue.

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

If your grasp of written English is good enough for everyday purposes (reading for pleasure, writing formal and informal letters, dealing with official documents), but you feel you would like help using your language skills for creative writing, this course is for you.

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

There will be a balance between formal teaching, writing in class, and group discussion. You'll be given assignments to write at home, will have the opportunity to present your work to the group, and will be asked to hand in work to the tutor for assessment.

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?

Please bring your own writing materials. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.

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

We recommend that those new to writing at City Lit try one of our Ways into Creative Writing courses. Call the writing department for advice and guidance if you are not sure which course to take next.

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.

Tutor Biographies
Jennifer Wong

Jennifer Wong has an MA in creative writing from University of East Anglia and a creative writing PhD from Oxford Brookes University. Her publications including Goldfish (Chameleon Press), a pamphlet Diary of a Miu Miu Salesgirl (Bitter Melon Poetry 2019) and a new poetry collection forthcoming from Nine Arches Press in 2020. Her poems have appeared in magazines including World Literature Today, Oxford Poetry, The Rialto, Magma Poetry, Stand, Prairie Schooner, Wildness, The Scores and Asian Cha etc. Her poetry reviews and translations have appeared in Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Pathlight and Poetry London. She also teaches/has taught creative writing at Oxford Brookes and Poetry School.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HW292

Mon, day, 20 Apr - 06 Jul '20

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £209.00
Senior fee: £209.00
Concession: £84.00

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.