Writing fiction

Course Dates: 29/04/19 - 08/07/19
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Jonathan Barnes

Develop your writing with confidence on this course, as we explore character, structure and plot development on the journey to producing quality fiction.


What is the course about?

This course invites you to consider various aspects of fiction, including character, structure, and plot development. Published work will be read and discussed so you can discover how and why it succeeds in telling an involving story. This is a very hands-on, practical course, and exercises in class will stimulate your imagination and get you producing fiction of your own. Your writing will be critically appraised and you'll gain confidence, skill, and insight into the creative process.

Students say: "I appreciated the interaction with other writers, the feedback received and the experience of the tutor"; "everyone was friendly, open-minded and supportive"; "it gave me the chance to experiment with new writing styles"; "I have taken a lot away from this course."

The Tutor: Jonathan Barnes is the author of three novels. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review and has contributed to the Arts pages of The Lancet. He is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. He is also the author of several full-cast audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, featuring characters from Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein and Doctor Who.

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?

- Techniques for telling a great story, including structure, dialogue, characterisation and point-of-view
- How to read critically and to apply the lessons learnt to your own writing
- How to transform personal experience into fiction
- How to give and use constructive criticism.

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

- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Finish at least one story or a chapter of a novel, and know its strengths and weaknesses
- Continue to produce work on a regular basis.

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

This is a stage one course and you will need literacy, enthusiasm and stamina. The course lasts for one term only. Fluent spoken and written English is essential.

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

A combination of writing exercises, presentations by your tutor, analysis of published writing, and group discussions. There is a strong emphasis on producing your own work.

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?

Paper and pens or pencils.

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

You may wish to consider another intermediate creative writing course such as Novel writing or Short story writing at City Lit. Alternatively, you may feel ready to progress to one of our advanced critical workshops.

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. Students are also encouraged to submit 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.

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


Customer Reviews 7 item(s)

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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.

This class is a great overview of all the core concepts of writing stories. It was also a great environment to build my confidence in my writing and really a wonderful jumping off point.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 14/03/2019)
Unless they were an absolute beginner then this is not the course. Not enough feedback
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 12/12/2018)
I thoroughly enjoyed this course and learnt a lot both from the teaching and workshopping. Be prepared to work hard, but it's worth it!
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 06/12/2018)
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Review by Cors / (Posted on 04/12/2018)
This course is designed to cover all bases when writing fiction. I found all the students, on the one I attended, to be of a very high standard in terms of writing skill. Each week covers a different issue, plot, character, scene, using a mixture of exercises and class discussion. You are encouraged to continue work on your own masterpiece and the weekly themes give an excellent opportunity to review all the issues you should be considering whilst writing. I have already been writing for a while but still found that I learnt a great deal. I also found that the inclusive generosity of both of my tutors meant that the students formed a supportive, inclusive group who were very open to each other's suggestions and feedback. There was the opportunity to have larger sections of work reviewed and also a few weekly opportunities for extra feedback. Overall I couldn't fault this course and felt it was of enormous value for a very good price. The tutors have an acute understanding of what does, and doesn't work in fiction. I found both to give feedback, to myself and other students, that was both insightful and from which I learnt a great deal.
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Review by Loopygoose / (Posted on 01/07/2018)
I loved the supportive, inclusive atmosphere and sense of community on this course. The tutor was very engaging and the feedback was helpful and inspiring. Lots of fun!
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Review by DL / (Posted on 09/02/2018)
This course is a good option as a starter course for those looking to start working on any kind of fiction, but less good if you are seeking feedback on more 'developed' pieces of work, simply because the size of the class (18 people) simply does not allow for regular feedback sessions.
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Review by Priya / (Posted on 22/01/2018)

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: HW035

Full Mon, day, 29 Apr - 08 Jul '19

Duration: 9 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £179.00
Senior fee: £179.00
Concession: £72.00

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.