Stylistics and Creative Writing - LL510

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Autumn 6 15 (7.5) DR J Scott checkmark-circle


This module proceeds from the premise that the ambition to write creatively presupposes an interest in the 'expressive mechanics' of language. A more in-depth understanding of these processes will benefit the writer in many ways, for example by providing them with a precise taxonomy with which to precisely describe various fictional, poetic and dramatic techniques and by furnishing them with a critical nomenclature which will aid detailed analysis of their own and others' creative work. The module is designed to appeal not just to those with an interest in writing, but to anyone who would like to explore further and in a 'hands on' fashion the insights into the expressive functions of language and text offered by stylistics. Students will be 'doing stylistics' in the broadest sense of that phrase.

A two-pronged approach is adopted, whereby students are at first introduced to various stylistic and narratological concepts and models (e.g. linguistic deviation, deixis, register, focalization, ways of representing thought/speech, and metaphor), then expected to produce creative exercises which implement and explore these concepts (for example, using linguistic deviation to foreground themes and images or using varying focalization to tell a story from different perspectives). Various 'input’ texts (poetry, fiction and drama) will also be used as examples of the techniques and concepts under discussion, and some as the basis for textual intervention exercises (critical-creative rewriting). This process culminates in the production of a portfolio of students’ creative work (which may be one or more complete stories, a selection of poems, a dramatic text, or a mixture), accompanied by a critical commentary and stylistic analysis which will focus on how an understanding of stylistics and linguistics in general has impacted on the work.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Portfolio of Creative Work (2,500 words) – 70%
Stylistic Commentary (1,000 words) – 30%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Burroway, Janet and Elizabeth Stuckley-French (2006) On Writing: a guide to narrative craft, London: Longman.
King, Stephen (2001) On Writing, New York: New English Library.
McRae, John (1998) The Language of Poetry, London: Routledge.
Novakovich, Josip (1998) The Fiction Writer's Workshop, New York: Story Press.
Scott, Jeremy (2014) Creative Writing and Stylistics, London: Palgrave
Short, Mick and Geoffrey Leech (2007) Style in Fiction, London: Longman Pearson.
Strunk and White (1999) The Elements of Style (4th Edition), London: Longman.
Toolan, Michael (1998) Language in Literature: an introduction to stylistics, London: Hodder Arnold.
Toolan, Michael (2001) Narrative: a critical linguistic introduction, London: Routledge.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate systematic knowledge and understanding of precise linguistic and stylistic terminology and be able to deploy this terminology in relation to the production of fiction and/or poetry and/or dramatic texts;
Critically analyse and account for the results and implications of their stylistic and methodological choices as writers in terms of their precise effects on the reader;
Extrapolate from stylistic examples in order to analyse those characteristics that contribute to individual authorial 'style' and world view;
Use linguistic and stylistic concepts and analytical techniques to make informed judgments about literary genre;
Develop conceptual and advanced-level understanding of the interconnections between language and literature;
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the potential sources of their own material and of the techniques of presentation available to them as creative writers;
Demonstrate analytical and 'workshopping' (oral criticism in groups) skills and be capable of applying the outcome of seminars and workshops to their own work;
Editing, proofread, format and type their own work, and be able to account for and analyse editorial changes in rigorous stylistic and linguistic terms;
Demonstrate confidence and independent learning skills necessary to produce a more sustained piece of creative work, along with an accompanying stylistic analysis (the critical essay).


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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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