Improve your writing skills and build a portfolio of work with this practical writing course
- Learn the ins and outs of writing.
- Understand the approaches to use to develop your writing skills.
- Know how to develop characters and stories, how to use subplots and provide accurate and believable characters.
- Learn techniques to aid in your writing and build the picture.
- Learn from your tutors’ feedback, understand how feedback should be interpreted and the process that writers go through.
- Build your own portfolio of work, based upon what you are learning.
Course Structure and Lesson Content
The content of each of the seven lessons is as outlined below:
Lesson 1. Workshopping and Critique
- The Workshop Process
- The Cold Read
- The Close Read
- Points of Critique
- Types of Feedback
- Best Practices
Lesson 2. Identifying and Addressing Weaknesses
- Introduction, Potential Projects
- Focus: Understanding Character
- Start Outlining a Revision Strategy
- How To Read and Interpret Feedback
- Build a Framework
Lesson 3. Revision Process I: Structures and Character
- Define Beginning, Middle, End
- The Relationship Between Characters and Structure
- Character Arc
- Writing Character Arcs
- Writing Character Arcs that show a Negative Change
- Building Characters
- Moving Forward
Lesson 4. Revision Process II: Plot Arc and Story Goals
- Story Goals
- Planning Your Plot Arc: the 5Ws and 1H
- Using Diagrams to Plan or Revise your Story
- Creating Lesser Arcs
Lesson 5. Working with Subplots
- The Function of a Subplot
- Types of Subplot
- Subplots in Non-Fiction
- Revision and Subplots
Lesson 6. Continuity of Practice: Building Strong Writing and Editing Habits
- How Can We Maintain Continuity of Characters/Plots?
- Continuity and Writing Practice
- Good Habits
- Bad Habits
- Writer's Block
- What Can Cause Writer's Block?
- Character Exercises
- Journalling and Writer's Block
Lesson 7. Continuity of Practice: Portfolio Building
- Develop your Portfolio Further
- Continuing to Write
- The Importance of Keeping Up With Your Journal
- What to do With New Ideas You Are Not Ready to Start On
- Keep Writing
- How To Use Your Portfolio or Sample
- Revision Processes
- Writing Groups
- Understand how to critique effectively, for your own work and others’.
- Understand how to approach problems and feedback constructively.
- Begin building your portfolio/samples.
- Understand how to interpret feedback, including notes from your own revision and read-throughs from others.
- Start setting out a revision strategy.
- Understanding how structure works, how to assess structure and how to fix holes.
- Understand characters and characterisation.
- Understand story goals.
- Understand how to map arcs for different purposes.
- Understand the function of a subplot.
- Understand how to revise, improve, and integrate sub plots in a fiction or non-fiction text.
- Learn ways to set good writing habits.
- Learn ways to break up writer’s block.
- Create a regular journal practice.
- Develop your portfolio further.
- The importance of keeping up with your journal.
- What to do with new ideas that you are not ready to start on.
Workshopping and Critique - Developing A Writer's Toolkit
Workshopping and critique are an important part of improving your writing. While writing can often seem like a solitary endeavour, working with others is a vital part of the writing process.
Students studying Writing in Practice will be working with a tutor. The principles that can be learned by studying this course are transferable into everyday writing life, and used for a students own revisions, and revisions with people in writing groups online and in-person.
Different people call the process of commenting and interpreting feedback different things. The most common names for this process are “workshopping” and “critiquing”. This is distinct from editing. While a structural or developmental editor often gives feedback, they are often looking at your work in a limited number of sittings. Workshopping usually occurs over a longer period, and is done in a quid pro quo fashion, where you and your partner(s) swap work. This means that you learn about each other’s styles, goals, and approach to writing, and gives you the opportunity to grow together.
Valueable opportunities to grow as a writer
Workshopping is a high-value process. It gives you an outside perspective on your writing – what’s working for you, how effective your characterisations are, weak spots in your plot or expression, and more. That said, it can be tough hearing someone else’s thoughts on your work, especially if you’re not used to letting other people see your writing. Remember, workshopping is intended to help you grow as a writer. It’s not about cutting people down, but rather building someone up. If you feel like your work is being unfairly criticised, put the comments away and take a day or two off your project. Do something enjoyable. When you are ready, look at the comments again with fresh eyes, and think about what’s actually being said. Is there value in the comments you’ve received? Having someone else point out our weaknesses is often difficult. If you’re unsure about why someone would give a certain comment, ask.
At the end of the day, your work is your work. You have final say over everything. Be open to feedback, but don’t compromise your vision or beliefs, either.
Grow as a Writer, Develop your Skills and your Work
There is an old adage that says everyone has a book in them. That may be true, but having a story to tell and being able to tell it well are considerably different things.
To be able to tell a story, you must be able to engage the reader and make the story believable. If you are writing, say, fantasy fiction, the story may not be entirely believable or conceivable within the real world, but it must make sense within the confines of its own world. The behaviour of characters and sequences of events must be portrayed in a manner that a reader can make sense of and accept within the realms of logic.
The Writing in Practice course is designed to provide you with the ability to write properly, to plan your work, and develop both character and story arcs that a reader can follow. The work you produce as you progress through the course will be critiqued by your tutor, enabling you to develop your skills and your styles. Once you have completed the course, you will have compiled a portfolio of samples or work, or have progressed on a larger writing project.
Our specialist Writing tutors are not only well qualified, but they have experience of working in commercial environments. This means they are well placed to provide you with the guidance and support you need to learn and develop your skills.
The Writing in Practice course is studied by distance learning. You choose when and where you study. The course is available to start at any time to suit you.
If you have any questions about the course, or want to know more about studying with ACS, please get in touch with our specialist Writing and Journalism tutors today. They will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you decide how to approach your studies.