The University of Southampton

ENGL6118 The Art and Craft of Fiction Part II

Module Overview

This module offers advanced training in the writing of short fiction, concentrating on voice, texture and structure rather than context and subtext. Like The Art and Craft of Fiction 1, it does so in a wider international context than the usual selection of UK and US texts allows. It changes the focus of the earlier module, however, to focus on the creation of short fiction and structurally experimental novels. During the semester you will be expected to plan a collection of short stories, or a novel based on a sequence of stories, and produce a synopsis of this in the closing seminar sessions. You will reflect upon and discuss the set texts, and there will also be opportunities to discuss your own work in a workshop atmosphere. You will not be expected to do practical or written exercises in the class, though you are encouraged to bring in your work in progress to share with your group. The Art and Craft of Fiction 1is not a pre-requisite for taking this module.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

. provide a supportive learning environment for the development of your skills in writing short stories . extend your knowledge of the possibilities for fictional narratives by reading and discussing short stories in English and in translation by writers with an international background . introduce a wide range of short stories that employ varied narrative techniques

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how to write in a range of fictional genres and styles
  • the process of development and revision involved in creating novels and short stories
  • how to achieve originality, linguistic versatility, and form in the handling of plot, character, time, point of view, and overall structural control in your fiction writing
  • the achievements of contemporary international fiction writers whose work may help you improve your own writing
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • handle complex demands of fictional composition in a systematic and analytic manner
  • make literary judgements of fiction in an informed way
  • independently evaluate and apply compositional methods
  • interact effectively with readers via your writing
  • demonstrate originality through your writing
  • locate your fiction writing in relation to a global context
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • write prose fluently in a range of styles
  • present ideas effectively in narrative form
  • revise and edit creative writing to a professional standard
  • demonstrate interpersonal skills necessary for teamwork
  • manage deadlines and make effective use of your time
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • plan the extended development of a fictional narrative towards a successful conclusion
  • revise and edit your work effectively
  • distinguish your aims as a writer of fiction from others
  • create the key structures of fictional narrative and identify their relation to readers
  • work with different styles, modes and genres of fiction


This module will allow you to develop a work of fiction within the supportive crucible of a group of fellow writers. You will be guided by a tutor who will provide examples of various literary techniques drawn from a range of international examples, allowing you to expand the breadth and depth of your literary reference points. Through careful discussion of a wide range of international fiction, you will hone your own craft and explore a number of new writing strategies and approaches to the short story.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module will train you in how to listen and discuss creative work in progress, analyse a range of international fiction, and to reflect on your own creative practice. You will give oral feedback on work-in- progress by your fellow writers, and explore literary techniques from a writer’s standpoint.

Independent Study130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

A S Byatt (1999). Elementals: stories of fire and ice. 

Aamer Hussein (2007). Insomnia. 

Lorrie Moore (2008). The Collected Stories. 

Rana Dasgupta (2005). Tokyo Cancelled. 

Tennessee Williams (1996). Collected Stories. 

Milan Kundera (1994). The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. 

Lydia Davis (2011). The Collected Stories. 

Isak Dinesen (1983). Winter's Tales. 

Tobias Wolff (2011). Our Story Begins. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Critical commentary  (1000 words) 25%
Written assignment  (6000 words) 75%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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