Short Fiction (TRU3041)

StaffDr Rob Smith - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to offer analysis, study and practice of the techniques of short fiction. Short fiction in English and in translation will be used as models to give students a broad knowledge of various components of the form. Through practical exercises and discussion, the module will develop students' awareness and understanding of textual forms, content, and style. It will also develop appreciation of the processes involved in writing short fiction, including drafting, revising, editing, developing ideas, and awareness of an audience. The module will also function as a prerequisite to the Creative Writing Dissertation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an informed appreciation of a broad range of English language and translated short stories;
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the technical qualities of short fiction, including narrative structures, voice, character and the role of conflict;
  • 3. demonstrate a capacity to write short fiction, in a manner informed by an understanding of the main traditions of the short story;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate an advanced appreciation of formal techniques and imaginative expression in creative writing;
  • 5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to produce pieces of creative writing, in agreement with specified forms and genres taught on the module;
  • 6. Analyse and critically examine, at an advanced level, diverse forms of short story writing;
  • 7. Present persuasive written and oral arguments concerning their own creative writing and the work of other authors, both peers and published authors;
  • 8. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of a variety of theoretical positions and articulate a broad range of appropriate critical and professional terminology

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Through seminar work, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 10. Through writing essays and creative work, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, advanced skills of creative expression, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 11. Through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.

Syllabus plan

1 – 2: Elements of Creative Writing Craft

3. Exposition of Characters

4. Plot

5. Point of View and Narrative Voice

6. Description, Imagery, Language

7. Dialogue

8. Thematic underpinnings

9. Mounting Incidents and Endings  

10. Revisions
11. Writing for Publication


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities33Seminar
Guided Independent Study33Private study, research and preparation
Guided Independent Study70Research and preparation for seminars
Guided Independent Study164Reading, research and essay

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Workshopping drafts of students’ stories1000 words2, 4-9Weekly in-class workshop

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Proposal for narrative10500 words2-5,8,10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Short fiction portfolio704000 words1-5, 10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Critical Contextualising Essay202000 words1-2, 5-8, 10-11Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Proposal for narrativeProposal for narrative 500 words2-5,8,10Referral/deferral period
Short fiction portfolioShort fiction portfolio 4,000 words2-5, 10,Referral/deferral period
Critical Contextualising EssayCritical Contextualising Essay1-2, 5-8, 10-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core reading: Chekhov, Anton. The Lady with the Little Dog and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 2002. Print. Oates, Joyce Carol. (Ed) Telling Stories: An Anthology for Writers. New York: Norton, 1998. Print. Pritchett, V.S. (Ed) The Oxford Book of Short Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. Print. Wood, James. How Fiction Works. New York: FSG, 2008. Print. Secondary reading: Contemporary short stories in the New Yorker and Granta Calvino, Italo. Adam, One Afternoon. New York: Vintage, 2002. Print. Carver, Raymond. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? New York: Vintage, 2004. Print. Fitzgerald, Penelope. The Means of Escape. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. Print. Hoffmann, ETA. Tales of Hoffmann. London: Penguin, 1990. Print. Moore, Lorrie. Birds of America. London: Faber and Faber, 1999. Print. Prose, Francine. Reading Like A Writer. London: Union Books, 2012. Print. Tolstoy, Leo. Master and Man and Other Stories. London: Penguin Books, 2006. Print. Winton, Tim. The Turning. New York: Picador, 2006. Print.

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Key words search

Creative writing, short fiction, fiction, short