Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module QXP-2005:
Transformative Writing

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Miss Fiona Cameron

Overall aims and purpose

  1. Introduce students to the idea of 'writing back to a source material' in literature.
  2. Develop students' understanding of transformative writing in literature (how it differs from adaptation, revisionism, etc.)
  3. Introduce students to the idea of 'negotiated writing' (often encountered by professional writers) and encourage them to participate in a secure negotiated learning process.
  4. Give students the opportunity to practice 'writing back' through transformative writing in a secure learning environment.
  5. To develop students' awareness of the importance of research in writing.
  6. To develop students' experience of specific writing and reading practices.

Course content

Some of today's well known works of literature were produced by writers 'writing back' to and transforming certain source materials. Examples include Peter Carey's prize-winning tnrsformation of Dickens' 'Great Expectations' in 'Jack Maggs' (1997), and Gregory Maguire's transformation of Baum's 'Wizard of Oz' in 'Wicked: The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West' (1995). This module examines the ideas and chanllenges of transformative writing, how such writing differs from adaptation, and how professional writers have employed it in their works.

Students will be introduced to the practice of responding through creative writing, and given the chance to select their own source material (of whatever kind) in order to experiment and 'write back' to it. Students will also have the opportunity to experience and reflect upon the nature of a negotiated writing project through the use of an initial writing contract (in weeks one and two)

Assessment Criteria

C- to C+

Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: Some attempt at serious exploration of ideas. Some link between themes and form. Good attempt to engage with form, but this may not be entirely sustained. Use of language technically proficient, but not always focused. Some awareness of the creative process and of decisions made in writing. Good work, but its strengths need to be more fully sustained to reach publishable standard.


Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: Demonstration of a degree of vitality and originality. Very good understanding of generic conventions; sound use of structures and forms. Resourceful use of language. Sound understanding of the creative process and thoughtful control of decisions made in writing. Very good work, which at times comes close to publishable standard.


Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: Excellent levels of originality, vision and depth; striking and thorough engagement with ideas. Excellent understanding and control of form. Impressive linguistic control and/or innovation. Sophisticated understanding of the creative process and assured control of decisions made in writing. Dynamic work approaching publishable standard.


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: Limited engagement with ideas. Link between themes and form not always clear. Limited sense of formal conventions. Inconsistent with regard to linguistic technicalities. Limited awareness of redrafting and editing process. Work in need of some revision.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate high level writing skills through ‘writing back’ in literature and creative writing.

  2. Demonstrate critical understanding of transformative writing in literature and creative writing, and of a range of representative texts.

  3. Observe the strengths and weaknesses of negotiated discourses and processes. Use a range of critical and creative approaches and techniques in the practice of transformative writing. Demonstrate an awareness of research techniques for writers. Show an understanding of the demands of specific writing and reading practices.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Portfolio 90
Mid term Portfolio 10

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 178

The module is delivered via a weekly two-hour seminar over the course of semester one. The role of the seminars is to raise general issues of relevance to transformative writing, supplemented by workshops offering diagnostic feedback on the student's own creative writing. Students will also be introduced to stories by a range of writers and will be guided to view them through the lens of transformative writing. The last two seminars will be devoted to individual tutorials. Some use is made of student presentations and small-group work.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Information technology and time management and organization skills, as shown by the ability to plan and present conclusions effectively (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.9; 3.3.14; 3.3.15).
  • An understanding of creative and critical processes, and of the wide range of skills inherent in creative writing. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
  • Knowledge of a wide range of canonical English texts, providing a confident understanding of literary traditions as well as the confidence to experiment and challenge conventions when writing creatively. (English Benchmark Statement 3.1).
  • An awareness of writing and publishing contexts, opportunities and audiences in the wider world (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
  • Artistic engagement and ability to articulate complex ideas in oral and written forms. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Ability to connect creative and critical ideas between and among forms, techniques and types of creative and critical praxis. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Reflective practitioner skills, including awareness of the practice of others in collaborative learning (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • The ability to synthesize information from various sources, choosing and applying appropriate concepts and methods (English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Ability to formulate and solve problems, anticipate and accommodate change, and work within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3; NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
  • Ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
  • Information technology (IT) skills broadly understood and the ability to access, work with and evaluate electronic resources (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: