Fiction Skills: Research

Improving | Fiction
Convert dry facts and higgledy-piggledy materials into compelling stories packed with atmosphere.

Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you’ll draw on facts, research and personal experience. This four-week course shows how to take the raw material from internet-trawling, library sessions or your own notebooks and diaries and turn it into engaging writing. You will be encouraged to use background reading to kick-start the creative process, and explore ways to use research material to transform a nice story into something more unusual, more credible and more substantial.

How it works

• Fortnightly guided reading extracts, practical exercises and creative writing prompts

• Podcast introductions from the tutor

• Tutor instruction and tips on using facts to add substance and value to your writing

• Forum discussions about your own research themes, plus deadlines to get you writing

• A supportive group of fellow writers to read, discuss and feedback on your work

• Guidance on how to turn a sharp lens on your writing and become a better editor of your work

• Q&A forum to post your critical writing questions for your tutor

• Carefully curated additional reading and resources so you can take your interests further

• Opportunity to produce a 2,000-word piece of writing: this might be a fiction or non-fiction

2nd - 29th November 2021

Availability: In stock

15 Places

The course consists of two fortnight-long sessions, which you work through progressively with a small group of peers, your tutor and a moderator. There’s no need to log on at a certain time each week – as long as you complete the set assignments and peer feedback by the end of each session, you can work at any time of the day or night.

Session content

Session 1: Approaches to research

This first session will explore some of the skills and processes involved in research, including background reading, note-taking, and the use of sources. You’ll look at different writers’ approaches to research, reflect on your own practices, and try your hand at some active research.

Session 2: Putting research on the page

The second session will look at how to put research on the page, turning notes and facts into compelling prose. You’ll explore how researched details can be used to engage the reader and bring scenes and stories to life. This session will also look at the use of language, style and tone when putting your research onto the page. You will post your final piece to the forum for comment from your peers.

NB: Your tutor won’t give detailed feedback on your creative work during this course but will be available to answer your questions about the process and craft of writing.

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Philip Marsden is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, history and fiction,...

"There's no point staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike - to get your creative muscles working you need to start writing, reviewing and sharing your work."

Helen Shipman