Need Assistance? 01384 442752 (UK)


Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Develop your writing skills with this hands-on course

  • Learn about workshop and critique processes.
  • Learn how to view critiques in a positive and beneficial manner as a route to improving your writing.
  • Understand how to develop your narrative and story.
  • Learn about subplots and how to use them.
  • Learn about developing arcs.
  • Learn how to approach your project and how to use frameworks and journals.
  • Build a portfolio of work in conjunction with our expert writing tutors or receive feedback on a larger project.

It's easy to enrol...

Select a payment plan:  

Select a learning method  


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
  • Introduction
  • 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
  • Introduction
  • Story Goals
  • Conflict
  • Planning Your Plot Arc: the 5Ws and 1H
  • Using Diagrams to Plan or Revise your Story
  • Creating Lesser Arcs
Lesson 5. Working with Subplots
  • 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
  • Continuity
  • 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

Course Aims

  • 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.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
John MasonMr Mason has worked 45+ years in Writing, Education, Horticulture and Recreation. His experience in both public & private sectors is extensive; particularly across Australia and England.
Tracey Jones (writing)Tracey has enjoyed creative writing since she was a child. She has had several short stories published and a novella. She is also a keen writer of children's stories and poetry. She has also written many academic and non-fiction books in the fields of psychology, sociology, child development, writing and marketing.

Check out our eBooks

How to be a Successful EditorThere are plenty of books that show you the processes involved in editing; but knowing the process is in itself not enough to be a successful editor. This book not only covers aspects of the process; but it also goes beyond the process; showing you things that may help you to become better than the “average” editor.
How To Write A NovelThis eBook will help you learn about what it takes to write a great novel. See what is involved in devising a plot which will draw readers in and keep them interested. Discover how to make your characters memorable and believable. Find out how to avoid pitfalls and common mistakes. Consider this book as your companion – your aid to writing your first novel.
English GrammarThe English Grammar ebook can be a great reference for students, people who are learning English and anybody who writes anything- ever. The English Grammar ebook takes grammar back to basics to help confirm correct use of grammar. Topics that are covered within this course include 1/ Introduction- the components of language, 2/ Types of words, 3/ Punctuation, 4/ Upper and lower case, abbreviations, numbers, bullet points and 5/ Using words together.
Creative WritingThe Creative Writing ebook can be useful for writing students or even professional writers to help improve their writing techniques and skills. The Creative Writing ebook is a fabulous starting point for budding writers. The topics that are covered within this book are an introduction to creative writing, Methodology and technique- the building blocks of writing, Genres, Creative non-fiction, creative writing techniques, developing your skill, building your career and a Glossary.