Time: 18:30 - 20:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
What is the course about?
This course invites you to consider various aspects of fiction, including character, structure, and point of view. 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.".
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
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 piece of fiction writing, 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 an intermediate course suitable for students who have taken Ways into creative writing at City Lit or a similar course elsewhere. You will need to be an enthusiastic reader of prose fiction and feel comfortable sharing your work with others. Suitable only for students with reading and writing fluency in English.
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 and your tutor will set short reading and writing assignments to be completed at home.
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.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
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 at City Lit such as Starting your novel or Short story writing. Alternatively, if you feel ready to submit your work for rigorous constructive feedback you are welcome to enrol in one of our Advanced fiction writing workshops.
Our Craft Focus series is also available to writers who wish to focus on an isolated element of fiction writing craft. We offer short intensive courses in developing character, plot, setting, point of view, and more. See our website or contact the department for advice on how you can develop a programme of fiction writing study.
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.
Nick Barlay is the author of four acclaimed novels and one book of non-fiction. He has written award-winning radio plays, short stories and wide-ranging journalism. He has previously taught fiction, life writing and Guardian Masterclasses on writing family history.
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.