Will Martin writes: with university applications and preparations in full flow, Sharon Norris’s Studying Creative Writing casts a sense of clarity over creative writing courses – what to expect, how to get the most from your course, and how to apply your learning afterwards. Hedda Estensen’s detailed review gives a full break-down of the book…
Hedda Estensen writes: Studying Creative Writing is aimed at current and prospective students, whether studying an element of Creative Writing or doing a full honours degree. The target audience is primarily undergraduate students; however it could be useful for those doing a postgraduate degree. Likewise, it may be a handy tool for lecturers, as it provides an organised and concise introduction to the subject.
Throughout the book, eleven chapters narrated by ten authors, all of whom have extensive experience with Creative Writing in higher education, will introduce you to key elements of Creative Writing, prepare you for university studies and last but not least, life beyond graduation.
Studying Creative Writing presents all the stages of the creative process and transferrable skills that you will gain throughout your degree. Each chapter is organised by headings and subheadings, enabling the reader to navigate through the 188 pages, allowing them to skip ahead, or explore the content one topic at a time.
By reading this book you will enhance your knowledge of Creative Writing as a taught subject, advance your awareness of various writers’ tools and how to use them effectively, develop an understanding of how a degree in Creative Writing can benefit your work as a writer and how it can prepare you for further studies or work within other creative, practical or administrative sectors.
If you are considering applying for a course in Creative Writing, I would recommend you to read Chapter One, which provides an introduction to Creative Writing degrees, Chapter Two, which contains information about skills required to study the subject and skills gained throughout the course, and Chapter Six, which depicts the pros and cons of learning Creative Writing through online sources, and how to use these sources most effectively.
As a former Creative Writing student I would highly recommend reading Chapter Three, on how to read like a writer, Chapter Four, on writers’ tools and techniques for developing your writing, Chapter Ten, on assessment, project development and presentation, including group efforts and feedback, writing a proposal and performing an oral pitch, and Chapter Eleven, which will prepare you for life as a professional writer (though it’s applicable to any sort of creative work) beyond graduation.
Chapter Nine, on critical reflections, will introduce you to critical and reflective writing, which is relevant to any creative or technical work or study. In fact, during my postgraduate degree in Digital Film and Television Production I had to write a reflective piece for nearly all of the taught subjects, as well as a 10,000 word critical reflection and technical report for the final project, which consisted of directing a short film. As a teacher of Media and Communications at college, I often ask my students to write a critical reflection of the work that they’ve handed in, as evidence of what they’ve learnt throughout the process.
Chapter Five, on workshops, group efforts and working with feedback, and Chapter Seven, on editing and redrafting, are relevant to most creative subjects, as they contain advice for project development, which is a crucial part of all creative work.
What can you expect from a creative writing course? What skills do you need to develop? How can you make the most of your degree course – and the opportunities it can create?
This book is designed to answer those questions. It explains how to:
- learn from other writers, workshops, and online study;
- develop ideas and edit your own work;
- present your writing and reflect on it;
- understand and meet assessment requirements;
- apply your learning to life after the course.
‘Each contributing writer has an engaging, accessible voice … a marvellous tool for all students of writing.’ – Professor Jen Webb, University of Canberra