Elements of Fiction - ENGL6850

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 5 30 (15) Dragan Todorovic checkmark-circle


This module will concentrate on, as it says, The Elements of Fiction. The elements that will be covered are: point-of-view; characterisation; dialogue; plot; structure and planning; voice and tone; description and imagery; location and place; editing and re-editing; theme. Each week, there will be a different technical theme, exemplified by prior reading. Students will discuss the set texts, as exemplars of writerly craft. These discussions will be supported and illustrated by writing exercises. As the term progresses, the focus will shift more on to the students' own work; and writing workshops will be an integral part of the seminars.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 45
Private study hours: 255
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Seminar Participation 20%
Writer's Journal 20%
Original Fiction 4,500 words 60%

Reassessment methods
Alternative Assessment: 100% coursework (4,000 words original fiction plus 500 words reflective task)

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Carver, Raymond (1993) Where I'm Calling From: The Selected Stories, London: Harvill
Jackson, Shirley (2009) The Lottery & Other Stories, London: Penguin
Machado, Carmen Maria (2019) Her Body & Other Parties, London: Serpent’s Tail
Mansfield, Katherine (2008) Selected Stories, Oxford: OUP
Packer, ZZ (2005) Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, Edinburgh: Canongate
Williams, Eley (2017) Attrib. & Other Stories, London: Influx

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Read and respond to a range of short stories and novels as technical exemplars of the craft of fiction writing.
2 Identify and evaluate the technical and stylistic choices made by the writer of contemporary fiction.
3 Understand how these choices can be applied to their own writing.
4 Develop their capacities for close reading and editorial scrutiny.
5 Apply these developed skills to the reading of fiction produced by their classmates and by themselves.
6 Begin to identify their own formal, stylistic and thematic approaches.
7 Reflect on the range of narrative, stylistic and technical choices open to the contemporary writer.
8 Apply sophisticated writing techniques to their own creative work.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate their capacities for close reading and editorial analysis.
2 Demonstrate their creative writing skills to an advanced level.
3 Demonstrate their communication skills, particularly in responding to others' work in the context of the workshop.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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