Writing in Practice

Course CodeBWR308
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Improve your writing skills and build a portfolio of work with this practical writing course

  • Learn the ins and outs of writing.

  • Understand the approaches to use to develop your writing skills.

  • Know how to develop characters and stories, how to use subplots and provide accurate and believable characters.

  • Learn techniques to aid in your writing and build the picture.

  • Learn from your tutors’ feedback, understand how feedback should be interpreted and the process that writers go through.

  • Build your own portfolio of work, based upon what you are learning.

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Work shopping and Critique
    • The workshop process
    • Points of critique
    • Types of feedback
    • Best Practices
    • Identifying and Addressing Weaknesses
  2. Potential projects
    • Understanding character
    • Outlining a revision strategy
    • Goal setting
    • How to read and interpret feedback
    • Build a framework
    • Revision Process I: Structures and Character
  3. Define beginning, middle, and end
    • Closer examination: beginning
    • Closer examination: middle
    • Closer examination: ending
    • Relationship between characters and structure
    • Character Arc
    • Writing character arcs
    • Building characters
    • Revision Process II: Plot Arc and Story Goals
  4. Story goals
    • Conflict
    • Story goals in fiction
    • Story goals in non-fiction
    • Planning your plot arc
    • Working with Subplots
  5. The function of a subplot
    • Types of subplot
    • Subplots in non-fiction
    • Revision and subplots
    • Continuity of Practice: Building Strong Writing and Editing Habits
  6. Continuity
    • Good habits
    • Bad habits
    • Scheduling
    • Writer's Block
    • Character Exercises
    • Continuity of Practice:Portfolio Building
  7. Continuing to write
    • Keeping up with your journal
    • Ideas in development
    • Revision processes


  • Understand how to critique effectively, for your own work and others’
  • Understand how to approach problems and feedback constructively
  • Begin building your portfolio/samples
  • Understand how to interpret feedback, including notes from your own revision and read-throughs from others
  • Start setting out a revision strategy
  • Understanding how structure works, how to assess structure and how to fix holes
  • Understand characters and characterisation
  • Understand story goals
  • Understand how to map arcs for different purposes
  • Understand the function of a subplot
  • Understand how to revise, improve, and integrate sub plots in a fiction or non-fiction text
  • Learn ways to set good writing habits
  • Learn ways to break up writer’s block
  • Create a regular journal practice
  • Develop your portfolio further
  • The importance of keeping up with your journal
  • What to do with new ideas that you are not ready to start on

How to read and interpret feedback

Feedback can be overwhelming, especially at first. After you’ve read through it, it can be difficult to work out how to implement it. Even if you have feedback from just one person so far, a closer look will likely reveal a few patterns or clues.


 Repetitive comments. Did your reader mark a line or section as awkward? Did they do it once? Or did it happen three or four times? Did they ask the same or similar questions throughout the piece?

 Where did the reader ask questions? What type of questions did they ask? If questions are often about descriptive details, look back over your descriptions. Should they be deeper? 

 Are there marks about things feeling too slow, or not having enough information? If this happens in an especially long section, think about why. What makes that section so long? How can you introduce more movement? Do you need to explain everything, or can the reader do some inferring alone?

 Are there are lot of questions about the plot? Do those questions get answered in the work soon? If not, think about what’s actually missing. Could it be that you’re depending on the reader to work out too much on their own? 

Once you have an idea of what’s being said, look back over your work. Try colour coding sections to get an overall view of what’s happening. For example, if your reader has flagged a lack of description or too much description as an issue, go through and highlight all your adjectives or descriptive passages. Zoom out of your document, and look at the highlighting. Is it a lot? Is it a little? Is it spread out over the whole work, or centred in one spot? What does this tell you?

If your comments are mostly about plot, start mapping it out. Use visual aids and prompts, like story boards. Write key pieces on index cards and move them around. Or draw out your plot as a series of decisions, starting from your major “what if?” question. Look for holes.

Always look at feedback with a curious eye. What questions does it raise? Do they need answering? How on topic is the work?

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, or to clarify something.

Build a framework

Note that there are other ways to do this, but if you’re having trouble, this is a helpful tool. Start by deciding on the element you’re working on first. In this example, we’ll say the primary piece of feedback was about our characters:

Characters feel underdeveloped, but they have plenty of dialogue. Ways to show more about them? 

Using questions, we can build out a framework for revising. Let’s think about what we know.

 Characters are underdeveloped

 Have enough dialogue

 We know there’s a lot of backstory in the dialogue already, so we need something else.

What makes a person a person? What makes a character themselves? We could look at their stories, but still – plenty of backstory already. So what about how they act or react? 

If we approach our characters this way, we can think about emotions. How our characters express – or repress – emotion, and what that adds to the story. Think about their senses, where their minds go, how they blame or take responsibility.


Main Character: Jack

Emotion      Actions                                                                    

Anger       Jittery, shaky, trouble maintaining fine motor movements. Sharp movements. Blames others for failure, doesn’t take responsibility. 

Happiness      Light on feet, rise in voice, overpromises.


Look at the comments, then look at places you can start integrating your new ideas. Don’t be afraid to play around and expand the text. You might find yourself creating new scenes.

The idea behind this exercise to map back to something you know, like the five senses, or the major emotions. What else can you map to? How would you do this? Think about things that are familiar to you, then that are familiar to your characters or your story.


There are lots of reasons why you should sign up to do this course with us, including:

  • The course is detailed to ensure that you have the level of knowledge required to apply the practices in your own work, whether that's as a business employee or as a self employed writer 
  • Within each lesson you have the opportunity to apply your learning to activities which enables you to practice different concepts and expand your own research in areas of interest
  • Knowledge of these key areas will enable you to stand out from other applicants when it comes to applying for jobs, it will also give you greater confidence
  • Having the knowledge of different writing techniques will enable you to work in many different sectors and business types, giving you flexibility now and in the future
  • Our subject specialist tutors will be there to support you throughout your course, they are only too happy to share their industry knowledge and experience with you
  • When studying with us you set your own deadlines, meaning you study at your own pace enabling it to fit around other commitments


You can enrol on the course now, but if you have any questions about the content of the course or studying with ACS, then please get in touch with us today - use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to get in touch with our expert tutors. They will be pleased to help you!


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