57041 Narrative Writing
Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a
particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source
of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.
Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade, no marks
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.
This subject emphasises narrative development, with close attention to the relationship between structure and content in fiction. Craft skills appropriate to narrative writing are developed through exercises and sustained work on pieces of fiction, along with consideration of principles of editing and revision. The focus of the class is the students' own work. A range of exemplary contemporary narrative writing is read and discussed, integrating practical work with critical reflection on the processes of narrative writing. This is a core subject for postgraduate writing students and is suitable for students in other areas wishing to develop their writing through exercises and sustained work.
Subject learning objectives (SLOs)
|a.||Explore and practise creative and imaginative writing.|
|b.||Reflect upon and analyse a variety of narrative forms in fiction.|
|c.||Develop original ideas in narrative form|
|d.||Bring focused critical skills to bear on their own and others' fiction narratives|
|e.||Explore the possibilities and techniques of writing fiction.|
Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)
This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:
- Write to a publishable standard across a range of genres, demonstrating an advanced understanding of the appropriate use of different writing forms (1.1)
- Negotiate and understand the specifications of commissioned writing tasks in diverse environments (1.2)
- Critically and reflexively engage in research and writing practice for a major work with a high degree of personal autonomy and accountability (2.3)
- Seek to engage with other cultures through examining and producing creative writing across a range of genres (3.1)
- Counter negative stereotypes and respect cultural protocols in all forms of writing (4.1)
- Convey complex ideas in writing clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences, across a range of media formats (6.1)
Teaching and learning strategies
Face-to-face classes will include interactive lectures structured around a weekly topic (weeks 1-8) with group activities, seminar discussions and analysis of set readings, as well as group workshopping of student work and peer feedback activities outside the class. The workshop environment provides a collaborative learning environment for the production and revision of new creative work, and a supportive space for critical reflection on the writing process. Teaching and learning strategies will include practical writing exercises focused on the weekly topic and selected reading(s) in relation to narrative and form and UTSOnline peer-to-peer assessment. Students will access and read pre-class learning materials and set readings through UTSOnline to support participation in active learning tasks within class (writing exercises, workshopping).
This subject involves creative and theoretical exploration of aspects of technique and structure in writing fictional narratives as well as the historical origins of contemporary narrative practice. Areas covered include: introductory narrative theory, point of view, voice and character, tense and temporality, location and setting. Fundamentals of prose craft such as sentence structure and dialogue will also be covered. This subject develops students’ awareness of the possibilities of fictional narrative and provides critical debate around some areas of contemporary practice.
Assessment task 1: Indigenous writing critical analysis
a, b, c and d
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Assessment task 2: Short narratives
a, b, c, d and e
Up to 1,500 words
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Assessment task 3: 3000 word narrative
a, b, c, d and e
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Students are expected to read the subject outline to ensure they are familiar with the subject requirements. Since class discussion and participation in activities form an integral part of this subject, you are expected to attend, arrive punctually and actively participate in classes. If you experience difficulties meeting this requirement, please contact your lecturer. Students who have a reason for extended absence (e.g., illness) may be required to complete additional work to ensure they achieve the subject objectives.
Classes are based on a collaborative approach that involves essential work-shopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor.
In this subject assessment tasks are cumulative so that each task builds understanding and/or skills, informed by formative feedback. Consequently, all assessments must be submitted in order for you to receive feedback. Students who do not submit all assessments will not pass the subject.
The required texts are available in the week by week outline section of this document.
Adelaide, Debra, (2015) The Simple Act of Reading. (North Sydney: Vintage)
Atwood, Margaret. (2002) Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press)
Bell, Susan (2007) The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself (NY: Norton)
Brown, Renni and Dave King (2004) Self-editing for Fiction Writers (NY: Harper Perennial, 2nd edn)
Cixous, Hélèn, (1993) Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing (Sarah Cornell & Susan Sellers trans: (NY: Columbia Uni Press)
Dillard, Annie (1989)The Writing Life (NY: Harper Perennial
Eagleton, Terry (2013) How to Read Literature (New Haven: Yale UP)
Earnshaw, Steven (ed.) (2007) The Handbook of Creative Writing (Edinburgh: EUP)
King, Stephen (2000), On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Hodder)
Lamott, Anne (1994), Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (NY: Penguin)
Lodge, David (1992) The Art of Fiction (London: Penguin)
Stern, Jerome (1991) Making Shapely Fiction (London, NY: WH Norton)
Strunk, William Jr and EB White (2000) The Elements of Style (NY: Longman, 4th edn)
Thomas, Scarlett (2012) Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories (Edinburgh: Canongate)
Wood, James (2008) How Fiction Works (NY: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux)
Yorke, John (2013) Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them (UK: Penguin)
All Narrative Writing students are expected to read widely in fiction and non-fiction. Ereadings relating to each week's topic will be made available to all students.