What is the course about?
This one-day course will introduce you to some techniques for transforming personal experience into fiction or poetry. You'll have the opportunity to improve your writing skills as well as your ability to give and use constructive criticism. The issues around using autobiographical material in fiction will be discussed.
Students say: "Provides a very good grounding in the basics"; "Good group atmosphere"; "Very good teaching and the exercises were inspiring"; "Really well-structured and great to have covered so many aspects"; "Enjoyed greatly and would like to do more."
The Tutor: Writer/playwright Sue Healy has a PhD in modern theatre history and is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre. Her work has been developed by the Abbey and Criterion Theatres. Most recently, Imaginationship (2018) ran at the Finborough and Stephen Joseph in Scarborough, to acclaim. Cow (2017) showed at the Etcetera and Brazen (2016) at the King’s Head, funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s work has also been performed at the Hackney Attic, Claremorris Festival (New Writing Award winner), Brighton Festival (the Sussex Playwrights’ Award Winner) and Sterts Theatre. Her nine radio-plays have broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She also directs for stage. Sue has won prizes for her prose including the Molly Keane and HISSAC Awards, BBC Opening Lines and the Escalator Award. A UEA Creative Writing MA alumna, she also lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth and the University of Lincoln. Sue is from Ireland and spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M.
Build reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
- How to fictionalise, including: how to start, how to focus, and find a story-line and theme
- Recasting and changing elements of the original “true” story including fictionalising people and events
- Using different voices
- Exploring dreams and fantasy as a way to fictionalise;
- How to stay in touch with the emotional truth within the fictionalised version while navigating the problems and benefits of using personal material in fiction
- How to use journals.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Respond to, and assess, pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Write autobiographically-based fiction more effectively and confidently
- Identify and use some techniques for transforming personal material into fiction
- Identify and appreciate some of the issues around using autobiographical material in fiction.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Introductory to more advanced levels. Fluency in written and spoken English is essential.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
- Presentations by the tutor
- Writing exercises giving you practice in transforming personal material into fiction
- Class discussion of techniques and of the issues, problems and benefits of using personal material in fiction.
All writing courses at Build will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You should bring paper and pens or pencils.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
There is an Autobiographical writing course on offer throughout the year at Build and a Creative non-fiction course for one term. You may also like to explore regular writing classes and workshops, informal writing groups, writing at home, or even a Creative Writing MA.
All students are invited to join us at Build Talks Back, our monthly performance night for Build writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Students are also encouraged to submit to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details