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 CodeBWR308
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement 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.

 


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