Draw on your own history and experience to tell the story of your life.
Whether you want to engage readers, share your history with family and friends, or simply write for yourself, this module will give you the methods and means of composing compelling life writing, autobiography and memoir.
Learning and teaching
Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include discussions, exercises (optional), craft lectures and workshops. The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. You will be expected to write in your own private time, with the guidance of your tutor, and to learn about revision, while at the same time becoming familiar with the fundamental concepts of creative writing.
Week 1: Introductions. Definitions of life writing. Autobiography basics.
Week 2: Looking at our roots and beginnings. First memories. Defining the self.
Week 3: Evoking fully rounded characters. Character description. Archetypes.
Week 4: Getting characters talking. Writing believable dialogue.
Week 5: How to plot your story. Linear narrative vs other modes. Identifying and describing key moments.
Week 6: Show vs tell. Sensory detail vs keeping it simple. Making an emotional connection.
Week 7: Looking at the themes of our story. Sharing our embarrassments as well as triumphs.
Week 8: Telling your story with images. Writing in response to photographs.
Week 9: Associative writing using an object as inspiration.
Week 10: Automatic writing. Online prompts. Writing from a list. Keeping your writing going.
Coursework and assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects. There will be no formal examinations.
You will be encouraged to write and read examples of your own work to your fellow class members and to comment on their work in turn, in the process sharpening your critical skills. The form your writing takes is for you to decide but your tutor will offer you advice and, depending at what level you are studying, work out a scheme of study with you which is intended to bring out the best in you.
The basis of assessment will be a portfolio of creative writing consisting of your best work produced on this module. This portfolio may consist of several separate creative pieces or one piece of extended writing, by prior agreement with the tutor. Your work will be assessed by your tutor, who will offer you written reports which we hope you will find constructive. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are flexible and are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
The course tutor will suggest titles, as appropriate.
Library and computing facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.