Study Creative Writing: A Comprehensive Subject Guide

Welcome to the enchanting realm of Creative Writing! In this comprehensive subject guide, we invite you to delve deep into the art and craft of crafting words, stories, and emotions. Whether you’re an aspiring author, a budding poet, or simply someone who wants to enhance their writing skills, this article is your gateway to a world of literary exploration.

creative writing

Table of Contents

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is the art of using words to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions in an imaginative and unique way. It goes beyond the rules of conventional writing and allows individuals to craft stories, poems, essays, or any form of narrative with a personal touch. Creative writers often draw inspiration from their own experiences, dreams, and imagination to produce original and engaging pieces of literature. It’s a form of self-expression that invites you to explore your creativity, experiment with language, and tell stories that resonate with readers on a profound level.

Why Study Creative Writing?

Studying a Creative Writing degree offers a range of compelling reasons, and here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Develop Exceptional Writing Skills: A Creative Writing degree hones your writing abilities to a professional level. You learn how to craft engaging narratives, create vivid characters, and use language effectively.

  2. Unlock Creative Potential: It provides a structured environment to explore your creative side. You’ll experiment with different styles, genres, and forms of writing, fostering your unique voice.

  3. Critical Thinking: Creative writing encourages critical thinking and analytical skills. You’ll learn to analyse literature, understand narrative structures, and think deeply about the choices authors make in their writing.

  4. Effective Communication: Writing is a vital skill in nearly every profession. A Creative Writing degree equips you with the ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and persuasively.

  5. Career Opportunities: While you might think of traditional writing careers like novelists or poets, a Creative Writing degree opens doors in various fields. You can work in journalism, marketing, advertising, publishing, content creation, and more.

  6. Networking: Creative Writing programmes often involve workshops and interactions with established authors. This provides valuable networking opportunities and insights into the publishing industry.

  7. Cultural Appreciation: You’ll explore different cultures and perspectives through literature, broadening your horizons and enhancing your cultural awareness.

  8. Adaptability: The skills you acquire in a Creative Writing degree, such as creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving, are highly transferable to a variety of roles and industries.

  9. Fulfillment: If you have a passion for writing and storytelling, pursuing a Creative Writing degree can be personally fulfilling. It allows you to follow your passion and do what you love.

Entry Requirements for a Creative Writing Degree

Entry requirements for a Creative Writing degree in the UK can vary depending on the university and the specific programme. However, here are some general guidelines for typical entry requirements:

Academic Qualifications:

  • A-levels: Most universities require A-levels or equivalent qualifications. The specific A-level subjects and grades required can vary, but English Literature or a related subject is often preferred.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): Many universities accept the IB with specific grade requirements.
  • BTEC: Some universities accept BTEC qualifications, especially if they are in a relevant field like Creative Writing or English.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma: This is an option for mature students who may not have traditional qualifications. Check with the specific university for their requirements.

Portfolio: Many Creative Writing programmes may ask for a portfolio of your creative work. This could include samples of your writing, such as short stories, poems, or essays. The portfolio showcases your writing skills and creativity.

English Language Proficiency: If English is not your first language, you may need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL.

Jobs for Creative Writing Graduates

A Creative Writing graduate possesses a versatile skill set that opens up various career opportunities in fields that value effective communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Here are some jobs that Creative Writing graduates often pursue:

  1. Author/Novelist: Many Creative Writing graduates aspire to become published authors, writing novels, short stories, or poetry.

  2. Journalist: Writing for newspapers, magazines, or online publications allows you to report on news and events or craft feature articles.

  3. Copywriter: Copywriters create persuasive content for advertising agencies, marketing firms, or in-house marketing departments of companies.

  4. Content Writer/Editor: Content writers produce web content, blog posts, and articles for websites. Content editors review and refine this content.

  5. Technical Writer: Technical writers produce user manuals, guides, and documentation for software, hardware, and other technical products.

  6. Screenwriter: Writing scripts for television, film, or online video content is a creative avenue pursued by many Creative Writing graduates.

  7. Editor/Publishing Professional: Editors work for publishing houses, helping authors refine their manuscripts. Publishing professionals manage various aspects of the publishing process.

  8. Social Media Manager: Managing social media accounts for companies involves creating engaging content and storytelling to connect with the audience.

  9. Public Relations Specialist: PR specialists write press releases, create promotional materials, and manage communications for organisations or individuals.

  10. Grant Writer: Non-profit organisations and institutions hire grant writers to prepare grant proposals and applications.

  11. Creative Writing Teacher/Professor: Teaching Creative Writing at schools, colleges, or universities is an option for those with advanced degrees.

  12. Author’s Assistant or Literary Agent: Assisting established authors or working as a literary agent involves managing book deals, contracts, and promotions.

What do Creative Writing Graduates do?

Among employed creative writing graduates in the UK, 10% are working in artistic, literary, and media occupations, 11% in sales, marketing, and related associate professions, 6% in teaching, and 5% in media-related roles. Overall, 62.3% of creative writing graduates are employed, showcasing the diverse range of occupations they enter in the workforce.

Salary for Creative Writing Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 

Low skilled: £16,700

Medium-skilled: £18,000

High-skilled: £22,000

Topics for Creative Writing Dissertation

Selecting a compelling and unique topic for your Creative Writing dissertation is crucial to creating a meaningful and engaging piece of work. Here are some topic suggestions that can inspire your creative writing dissertation:

  1. Exploring Identity Through Memoir: Write a memoir that delves into your personal identity, cultural background, or a significant life experience. Reflect on how these aspects have shaped you as a writer and individual.

  2. Epistolary Fiction: Create a novel composed entirely of letters, emails, or diary entries. Explore themes of communication, relationships, and self-expression through this unique narrative form.

  3. Historical Fiction with a Twist: Craft a historical novel that reimagines a well-known historical event or figure from a new perspective, challenging conventional narratives.

  4. Speculative Fiction and World-Building: Develop a speculative world with its own rules, cultures, and histories. Write a story set in this unique universe, exploring social and political issues through allegory.

  5. Magical Realism in Contemporary Settings: Explore the use of magical realism in modern urban environments, blending the ordinary with the extraordinary to convey deeper truths about society and humanity.

  6. Character-Driven Short Stories: Create a collection of short stories that focus on character development, showcasing how individuals evolve in response to life’s challenges and experiences.

  7. Literary Exploration of Mental Health: Write a novel or collection of poems that examines the intricacies of mental health, offering insights into the human psyche and the journey of recovery.

  8. Dystopian Fiction and Societal Critique: Craft a dystopian narrative that critiques contemporary social, political, or environmental issues, offering thought-provoking commentary on the world we live in.

  9. Folklore Retellings: Reinterpret traditional folktales or myths from your culture or others, infusing them with contemporary themes and perspectives.

  10. Multilingual Narratives: Experiment with a narrative that incorporates multiple languages or dialects to explore themes of language, culture, and identity.

  11. Environmental Literature: Write eco-fiction that addresses environmental concerns and humanity’s relationship with the natural world, advocating for sustainability and conservation.

  12. Historical Crime Mystery: Craft a historical detective story set in a specific time period, exploring crime-solving techniques and social issues of the era.

  13. Exploring Family Dynamics: Write a novel that delves into complex family relationships, secrets, and the impact of generational history on characters’ lives.

  14. Narrative Poetry: Compose a narrative poem or series of poems that tell a cohesive story, allowing you to experiment with poetic forms and storytelling.

Remember to choose a topic that genuinely excites and inspires you, as this will make the dissertation writing process more enjoyable and rewarding. Discuss your ideas with your advisor to refine your topic and ensure it aligns with your academic goals.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

  • English Literature
  • Journalism
  • Communication Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Creative Arts
  • Theatre Arts
  • Linguistics
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • History
  • Psychology
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Studies
  • Cultural Anthropology

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

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