Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Novel Writing

Module summary

Module code: COML1055
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Alexander Pheby


Pre and co requisites



1. Novel Writing seeks to consolidate, reinforce and develop further the practical skills and formal techniques required in prose fiction writing, as gained from work undertaken at levels one and two, with a particular focus on the novel as a form.
2. The course will provide students with the opportunity to investigate and analyse different theories relating to the production of novels and to explore the ways in which these theories and ideas influence literary texts.
3. The course requires students to critically appraise and analyse theories of writing and their relation with and relevance to the practical craft of novel writing.
4. Students will focus on the skills necessary for analysis, reflection, discussion and critical engagement of ideas and theories and their application to writing novels.
5. Students will produce creative and critical written work based on the exploration and analysis of novels and theories of writing and will show awareness of different perspectives through written reflection.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 practice fiction writing in greater depth and at more length, with a deeper understanding of the techniques involved.
2 demonstrate that they have acquired, developed and consolidated further analytical and creative skills central to the practice of writing fiction, with a particular focus on the novel.
3 acquire, develop and consolidate analytical skills central to the reflection on theory and writing. They will apply these to the production of creative and critical writing and be encouraged to experiment with their prose writing practice.
4 acquire, develop and consolidate creative skills central to the practice of novel writing. They will apply these to the production of part of a novel.
5 demonstrate critical skills associated with engagement in debate on the relation between theory and the process of novel writing.
6 analyse their process and to further explore the processes involved in the development of their own work.

Indicative content

1. Students will read, analyse, critically appraise and reflect on a range of material from novels and theoretical texts. They will examine how the ideas and practices contained in these texts have been used creatively in relation to the production of novels. A study of the impact these ideas and theories have had on writing, in areas such as form, technique and representation will be complemented by experimental practice in creative work.
2. Students will produce written material in novel form to indicate a deepening of their understanding of fictional techniques. They will also be expected to begin to recognise the different requirements and characteristics of the form.
3. Aspects of fiction writing the students will study include: plotting, narrative, voice, point of view, characterisation, description, use of landscape, realism, stream of consciousness and magical realism.
4. Alongside commentary, analysis and production, students will be required to keep a course journal in which they are encouraged to reflect critically on work undertaken during the course, and on the course itself.

Teaching and learning activity

1. The course will take the form of seminars and workshops. Workshops are designed to provide a variety of activities, such as automatic writing, reading out work that has been produced, critical debate and discussion, and practical advice, all of which allow the students to further develop skills in writing novels.
2. Throughout the course the emphasis will be on working with analytical critical skills appropriate to the engagement with debate on the relation of theory to the process of creative writing and applying that analysis to the practice of writing novels.
3. Students will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of ideas and theories and produce work that reflects and incorporates the impact of those ideas into their process and thematic concerns.
4. Students will present their own work to the group to be analysed and critiqued by their peers.


Synopsis - 10% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 6.
1000 words. Synopsis of student's original work.

Critical Commentary - 20% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 6.
2000 words. Critical analysis of student's original work.

Novel Portfolio - 70% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 6.
6000 words. Portfolio of student's original work.

Students are not required to pass all components in order to pass the course.

Formative Assessment - Seminars / Workshops.