Fiction Writing: Key Aspects and Techniques


Discover your creative potential during this wide-ranging course which will introduce you to core storytelling skills, including advice on tackling long-form fiction. During the week you will learn strategies for maintaining motivation, plus how to source ideas, construct plot, develop characters, choose the right point of view, establish setting and write convincing dialogue. Class discussion and stimulating writing exercises will be combined with analysis of published extracts, plus individual tutorials will give you the chance to discuss specific issues with your writing. The class will be friendly, supportive and inspiring, designed to increase your confidence as a writer.

Programme details

Session 1

Course Introduction: explore your reasons for writing and discover how to maintain self-belief and commitment

Session 2

Ideas: how to source story ideas and how to make use of life experience

Session 3

Cracking openings: how to hook your reader

Session 4

Developing Plot 1: types of plot and how much to plan ahead

Session 5

Developing Plot 2: choices and sub-plots – how these enrich and drive the story

Session 6

Creating Character 1: Using external attributes to convey personality

Session 7

Creating Character 2: techniques for conveying the inner lives of your characters

Session 8

Point of View: exploring various options and their effects

Session 9

Dialogue: how to write believable conversations and how to avoid the pitfalls

Session 10

Setting: how to create meaning and atmosphere

Session 11

Editing and Pitching: how to revise your work and put together your submission package

Session 12

Publishing Choices and Summing-up: including discussion of traditional and independent publishing


Description Costs
Programme Fee (No Accommodation - inc. Tuition, Lunch & Dinner) £850.00
Programme Fee (Standard Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1485.00
Programme Fee (Standard Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1245.00
Programme Fee (Superior Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1600.00
Programme Fee (Superior Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1345.00


Ms Lorna Fergusson


Lorna Fergusson runs Fictionfire Literary Consultancy at An award-winning short story writer and novelist, she has taught creative writing for OUDCE's various writing programmes since 2002.

Course aims

This course aims to help students clarify their intentions, acquire the skills they need to develop their craft, increase their confidence and find fulfilment through developing their writing practice.

Teaching methods

All summer school courses are taught through group seminars and individual tutorials. Students also conduct private study when not in class and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research needs.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be expected to understand:

  • Their own creative motivation and intentions
  • How to make use of a variety of writing techniques
  • How to analyse and debate aspects of style and approach in fiction, both in their own work and the work of others
  • How to revise and present their work professionally
  • How the modern publishing industry works

Assessment methods

Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.