Writing Fiction: Next Steps with Monique Roffey
Award-winning writer Monique Roffey teaches creative writing on this six-month advanced course. You can study the course from anywhere and Monique will be on hand to provide feedback on your writing, including one-to-one tutorial sessions.
The course focuses on the short story, but the techniques we look at are equally relevant to the novel.
Classes are capped at 15 places to ensure a high-quality experience. Book quickly to secure your place.
This course will return later in the year. To register your interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Special offer: All creative writing online courses include a free 12-week digital subscription to Granta Magazine!
“I have much greater confidence in my creative work and have learned many new writing techniques and ways of working.” – Maddie, course participant, Sep 2019
What the course covers
- Getting started – meet your fellow students, get to know Monique and develop your writing habit – where to find inspiration, how to keep a notebook and how to open your story
- Point of view – we consider how the perspective of your story shapes the narrative: who is telling the story? Is the narrator ‘unreliable’? How does it affect the reader, and how can it restrict the writer?
- Character – how do we create believable, surprising characters? How can we make sure that characters drive the plot? How can conflict be used to explore characters?
- Dialogue and setting – what makes for good and bad dialogue? We also look at how a sense of place can interweave with dialogue to give a sense of your characters’ lives
- Plot and structure – there are no rules for writing a story, but it can help to understand common structures. We’ll learn about ‘Freytag’s triangle’ and use it to examine the structure of published stories as well as your own
- Defamiliarisation – good fiction changes the way we see the world: we explore how different genres remove our sense of security, from supernatural and ghost stories, science fiction and satire
- The unsaid – people often don’t quite say what they feel; silence can be more powerful than words. We will examine how omission and understatement can create greater impact and convey a character without relying on overt dialogue
- Managing time – how does time work in a story? How do you make transitions between time periods? How can flashbacks and flash-forwards be used?
- Revising and redrafting – examine how to improve your writing sentence by sentence. Learn techniques for re-reading your own work, and exchange work with fellow students.
- Writing and planning – find out how to balance the imaginative exploration of writing with the need to interrogate and revise your early drafts
- Being open to surprise – venture into the unknown and learn how to respond when your story takes an unexpected turn, as well as the possibilities of incorporating other elements into your work
- Coming to an end – should you fulfill or subvert the expectation for a story to be concluded satisfactorily? Should every narrative be tied up neatly, or is it best to leave unanswered questions?
By the end of the course you will have:
- Developed your creative practice
- Analysed and deconstructed devices and techniques used in literary narratives
- Developed observational skills, and how to use memory creatively
- Studied and considered different types of writing
- Practiced and enhanced your use of plot, character, dialogue, and description
- Revised and edited your writing, and advanced your work to a finished draft stage
- Enhanced your writer’s voice and begun to define the themes which most interest you
Applying to the course
This is an intermediate level course and we ask that you submit a 500 word sample of your work plus a 200 word introduction to yourself.
Committing to a 24-week course is a big decision for any writer. If you have any questions at all please do get in touch at email@example.com.
About your tutor
Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and mostly educated in the UK. She is the author of six books, five novels and a memoir. Three of her novels are set in Trinidad and the Caribbean region. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (2009) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2010 and the Encore Award in 2011. Archipelago (2012) won the OCM BOCAS Award for Caribbean Literature in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Orion Award 2014. House of Ashes, published in 2014, is a novel drawn from historical events and tells the story of a botched coup d’etat. It was shortlisted for the COSTA Fiction Award, 2015 and longlisted for the OCM BOCAS Award in 2015. A new novel, The Tryst, was published in July 2017 by indie press Dodo Ink. Her memoir, With the Kisses of His Mouth traces a personal journey of mid-life sexual self-discovery. She is a Lecturer on the MA/MFA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University, and tutor for the Norwich Writers Centre. Her seventh book, The Mermaid of Black Conch is out 2nd April, 2020.
How it works
All you need is a computer and an internet connection. You can find out more about the requirements here.
The course is divided into twelve modules, each of which introduces a topic, points for discussion, exercises, and an assignment. Subjects include character, plot and structure, point of view, dialogue and setting, defamiliarisation, the unsaid, and how to plan, revise, and redraft your work towards a finished draft. The principal aim of the course is to encourage your progress as a writer, help you improve and refine your work, and to inspire you to build a sustained writing practice. By the end of the course, you will have gained valuable knowledge and insight into the process of writing fiction, through working with a published novelist on your own work.
Designed by the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing.