Writing in Practice

Learn how to revise your work with useful strategies and tips on the workshop process. Receive feedback on a larger project or build a portfolio in conjunction with our expert writing tutors.

Course Code: BWR308
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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In this course, you'll learn how to revise and polish your work. Discover reviewing strategies, how to give and receive feedback, and how to work over your projects to check structure, characterisation, and more.

How this course works

There are two options for working through this course. You can:

Work on sections of a larger work

Create 3 shorter pieces, such as three feature articles or 3 short stories.

Work can be fiction or non-fiction (including creative non-fiction). Note that you can only workshop the same piece twice.

e.g. 

You submit chapter 1 of a novel.

Your tutor provides feedback.

You work on chapter 1 of the novel, using the tutor’s feedback.

You resubmit chapter 1 of the novel.

Your tutor provides feedback.

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Workshopping and Critique

    • The workshop process
    • Points of critique
    • Types of feedback
    • Best Practices
  2. Identifying and Addressing Weaknesses

    • Potential projects
    • Understanding character
    • Outlining a revision strategy
    • Goal setting
    • How to read and interpret feedback
    • Build a framework
  3. Revision Process I: Structures and Character

    • Define beginning, middle, and end
    • Closer examination: beginning
    • Closer examination: middle
    • Closer examination: ending
    • Relationship between characters and structure
    • Character Arc
    • Writing character arcs
    • Building characters
  4. Revision Process II: Plot Arc and Story Goals

    • Story goals
    • Conflict
    • Story goals in fiction
    • Story goals in non-fiction
    • Planning your plot arc
  5. Working with Subplots

    • The function of a subplot
    • Types of subplot
    • Subplots in non-fiction
    • Revision and subplots
  6. Continuity of Practice: Building Strong Writing and Editing Habits

    • Continuity
    • Good habits
    • Bad habits
    • Scheduling
    • Writer's Block
    • Character Exercises
  7. Continuity of Practice:Portfolio Building

    • Continuing to write
    • Keeping up with your journal
    • Ideas in development
    • Revision processes

 

Aims

  • Understand how to critique effectively, for your own work and others’.
  • Understand how to approach problems and feedback constructively.
  • To begin building your portfolio/samples.
  • Understand how to interpret feedback, including notes from your own revision and read-throughs from others.
  • Start setting out a revision strategy.
  • Add to your larger project or portfolio.
  • Understanding how structure works, how to assess structure and how to fix holes.
  • Understand characters and characterisation.
  • Understand story goals.
  • Understand how to map arcs for different purposes.
  • Understand the function of a subplot.
  • Understand how to revise, improve, and integrate sub plots in a fiction or non-fiction text.
  • Learn ways to set good writing habits.
  • Learn ways to break up writer’s block.
  • Create a regular journal practice.
  • Develop your portfolio further.
  • The importance of keeping up with your journal.
  • What to do with new ideas that you are not ready to start on.

What You Will Do

  • Analyse story structures and arcs.
  • Keep a daily writing journal.
  • Revise significant portions of their work in conjunction with their assigned academic.
  • Review feedback and implement notes.

GOOD WRITERS SHOULD STRIVE TO ALWAYS IMPROVE

As you work through this course, you’ll be aiming toward creating a strong sample or portfolio you can use in your journey to publication. Novel submissions usually require the first three chapters and a detailed synopsis; non-fiction work also requires samples, such as a selection of essays or articles. Think about your end goal as you progress through feedback and revision. 

Potential Projects

If you’re interested in fiction, use this course to think about your weak points. Identify things you struggle with and discuss them with your tutor. 
Examples:

  •  Are you struggling with your writing practice? 
  •  Do you need help with technique or craft? 
  •  Are you struggling to understand structure?

Once you’ve done this, think about the type of portfolio or other work you want to achieve. Consider your options – what’s the best way to show off your skill? If you’re working on a portfolio, think about your strengths and your target audience. Do you want to do all feature articles? Do you want to write a profile, an essay, and a research feature? 

Focus on Understanding Character

Although we most often associate character with fiction, both non-fiction and fiction benefit from strong characterisation. Both types of writing are about telling a story, whether that’s a fantasy novel with witches and wizards or a feature on the pros and cons of screen time for children. Creating strong, believable characters is a vital part of this.

While characters are most often people, settings and objects can also function as characters, such as a garden where many weddings have taken place, or a heritage car that’s been passed down a family line. 

As you read through this assignment, think about the characters in your work. Look at how they’re drawn. What sets them apart? What makes them likeable/not likeable? How do you focus their thoughts through their interests? Do musicians recognise patterns in music, or use music as examples more often than, say, space metaphors? Think about character maps, ways to show how your characters are feeling. Are they always “up”? If so, why? Or do they have “ups and downs”? Are they always “down”? Why?

Begin Developing a Revision Strategy

Now you have an idea of how to approach your feedback, it’s time to start thinking about your revision strategies. As you work through this course, you’ll look at different types of workshop and revision. For now, you need to begin gathering your thoughts. This is not an exact process, but rather a reflective one.

Start Journaling

First, gather up a selection of work you feel sits within your genre or specialty. This could include a set of magazine articles, novels, essays, or even letters. Go through these with the cold and close read process described in lesson 1. Don’t rush – this will happen over a long period, throughout the course.

Keep notes on your progress through the samples. As you work through, keep a journal. Write about the things you are discovering. Not in a great deal of detail – the point of the journal is not to keep notes but to reflect. Reflection on ideas, things that speak to you, and your creative process – including self-doubt. This journal will help you develop a daily reading and writing practice, but will also give you a place to consider feedback and vent frustrations – an important outlet for any writer. It’s both a proactive and protective exercise, one that will help you face all the work that is to come.

 

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

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We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

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Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

PhD (University of Tasmania), Graduate Certificate in Maritime Safety (AMC) LLM (Environmental Law ANU), GDLP (ANU), LLB (SCU), BL&JS (SCU), MAppSc (Hawkesbury), Graduate Diploma Agriculture (Hawkesbury), Certificate IV Training & Assessment, Certificate IV Frontline Management.

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practising environmental and agricultural lawyer. She holds a PhD in International Environmental Law, LLM, BLJS, GDLP, LLM (Environmental Law) and a Master of Applied Science (Agriculture).
Julia started out in agriculture working on various dairy farms in the 1980s before working as dairy manager / tutor at Hawkesbury Agricultural College Richmond NSW. Julia then went on to work at Riverina Artificial Breeders at Tabletop (Albury) NSW as an embryo transfer technician assisting vets with artificial breeding and embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and deer. This was followed by two years as a herd manager for a very large commercial dairy herd milking 3,000 cows over three dairies on the outskirts of Sydney before heading overseas. In 1994 Julia accepted a position in NE Thailand at the Sakhon Nakhon Institute of Technology (now a University) training farmers and students in cattle breeding and dairy farm management. On returning to Australia in late 1996 Julia completed a Master of Applied Science in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (UWS) as well as law degrees and maritime studies. Julia now works as a Lawyer in the area of environmental and rural law.
Currently Julia teaches a variety of maritime subjects for Marine Rescue NSW.
As well as teaching Julia is working on a number of environmental research projects.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy

Lyn has 35 years of experience in the Fitness, Health and Leisure Industries. She has a string of qualifications that are far too long to list here; being qualified and registered to teach, coach or instruct a wide range of different sports and other skills.

Lyn established and managed Health clubs at three major five star resorts on Australia's Gold Coast, including The Marriott. She was a department head for a large government vocational college (TAFE), and has conducted her own aquafitness business for many years. Lyn has among her other commitments worked as a tutor for ACS for almost 10 years, and over that time, participated in the development or upgrading of most courses in her fields of expertise.

Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

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