What is the course about?
Learning and revising language and literary skills, and using them as a tool to express yourself creatively.
Zoe Fairbairns is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, journalist and poet. Her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio Four, and have appeared in anthologies, print magazines and online. She has taught creative writing in schools, universities, prisons, and shelters for homeless people. Her latest book, 'Write Short Stories And Get Them Published' is published by Hodder Education.
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?
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, as well as the difference between plain English and gobbledygook. 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 the 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 still have difficulty 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.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may feel ready to progress to one of our 'Ways into creative writing' courses. Alternatively, City Lit's English and Maths Department offer a wide range of courses to help students develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.
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