Wednesday, 17 April 2013

O is for Open University

I absolutely loved the creative writing courses I took with the Open University a couple of years ago, so I thought I'd do a blog about them today.

The two courses I took were Creative Writing (A215) and Advanced Creative Writing (A363) - one at level two, equivelant to a second year university course, and the other at level three. Both courses encourage students to share their writing within a private tutor group forum so they can get feedback and help critique other people's work, and I found that a really helpful part of the course. The forum was also a good place to ask stupid questions and not have to worry about people thinking you were daft!

A215 was the lower level course and I think would probably have been suitable for someone who'd never written fiction before at all. Even for me, having been writing for years, it was really really useful, and I picked up so many useful tips and bits of information during the 9 months. The course book is a fantastic resource as well, and if anyone is looking for a creative writing book I would recommend it for the exercises and advice it gives.

From the OU description: The five-part course starts by showing ways of using your memory and experience and building a daily discipline. This is followed by demonstration and practice of the three most popular forms – writing fiction, writing poetry, and life writing (biography and autobiography). The concluding part aims to demystify the world of agents and publishers, teaching you how to revise and present your work to a professional standard.

A363 was more of a developing course and assumed that students already had a grasp on the basics of creative writing. It has been designed to follow A215, but I think it would probably be suitable for someone who has done any sort of basic writing course and knows the various terms and techniques. Something I particularly enjoyed was the chance to follow through a piece of writing and develop it. One of the first assignments is to write a short story, and then a later assignment is to turn that story into a script for stage, radio or film. It was nice to work with something I'd written and play with it to see what it could become, and it was something I probably wouldn't have tried if I hadn't been taking the course.

From the OU description: The course works on the forms introduced in the A215 – fiction, poetry and life writing – and supplements these with dramatic writing, showing you how to write for stage, radio and film. You’ll explore how these scriptwriting skills might enhance your prose style, improve your writing across the range of forms, and further develop your individual style and voice. The course offers guidance on professional layouts for the dramatic media.

For anyone interested in the A215 coursebook the details are:
  • Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings
  • by Linda Anderson and Derek Neale
  • RRP £25.99
  • ISBN-10: 0415372437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415372435
  • Published by Routledge


  1. Sounds like good courses to take. Have you been visiting other blogs, return comments should give you comments.


  2. They were, I really enjoyed those courses.

    I have been visiting a few other blogs but I need to have a good catch up this weekend :)