Your free exercise

In the video that follows, you’ll meet one of our fiction lecturers, Valerie O’Riordan, who will introduce you to a sample exercise on characterisation that you can do at home: this will give you an idea of the work we do in class, how students at a first-year level generate characters and scenarios that they can later incorporate into longer, more complex stories.

This particular exercise doesn’t take very long. It has four distinct steps, begins with some simple descriptive writing, and expands into a more detailed consideration of character. You will end up with a short scene that will – hopefully! – spur you into writing a full story in your own time. 

Once you’ve watched the video and followed the instructions, upload the resulting piece of writing using the form at the bottom of the page.

We will read this and respond to you as soon as possible with tailored comments on your submission. This will give you an idea of the type and quality of feedback our students receive, as well as highlighting your own strengths as a writer.

Finally, please check out the rest of our taster pages, and if you’re interested in learning more about our degree programmes, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll happily organise a face-to-face or Zoom meeting. We look forward to reading your work!

About the full degree programme

Here at the University of Bolton, as a student on our BA Creative Writing or our BA English & Creative Writing, you’ll take a series of modules that will introduce you to the key skills you’ll need in order to develop as a fiction writer. In your first year, you will learn the basics of characterisation, plot, setting, point-of-view and voice. In your second and third years, you will build upon this foundation to craft longer, more developed pieces of fiction. You will learn valuable critiquing skills by analysing each other’s work and also by studying exemplary short stories and novels by renowned writers from around the world, from J.D. Salinger and Octavia E. Butler, to Shirley Jackson and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Whether you’re passionate about literary fiction or fantasy, thrillers or science-fiction, novels, short stories or micro-fiction, we will introduce you to new writers and techniques that will enable you to reach your potential as a writer.

Our classes are designed to be both thought-provoking and fun; we want our students to enjoy their time with us as they expand their skills-base and learn the crucial skills that will help them build a professional-level creative portfolio. The exercises we do in class and as homework are both accessible and challenging: we want to push you out of your comfort-zone, while sparking new and exciting ideas

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Submit your work here

When you have completed the writing exercise, please type up your submission or upload it onto this form. We will read this and respond to you as soon as possible with tailored comments on your submission.

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