EL6044 - Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn how to use the key forms, approaches and techniques of fantasy and science fiction in your own writing. As you explore these genres by reading a range of classic and contemporary texts, you will develop a critical understanding of speculative fiction in theory and practice. You will answer questions such as:
• What is a fantasy or science fiction text?
• How can we read such texts productively?
• What writing strategies do they use?
• How can you produce exciting and original fantasy/science fiction writing yourself?

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through two weekly 90-minute seminars, individual tutorials, and independent learning. The seminars will introduce you to a wide range of fantasy and science fiction texts and relevant critical materials, including ‘how-to’ texts on the writing of these genres. You will discuss and analyse these texts in order to develop your understanding, and carry out writing activities in order to produce your own work. Part of the sessions will be given over to writing workshops, in which you will read and discuss fellow students’ work-in-progress.

At Level 6 the main impetus of your work must come from you: independent writing and study will form the main learning activity, and you must conceive, plan and drive forward your own writing project for this module. It is your opportunity to design and carry out your own piece of creative writing, putting into practice the techniques you have acquired on the degree so far. Your independent learning will be focused on reading and on producing your own fantasy/science fiction writing. Tutorials will enable you to gain one-to-one tutor feedback and to talk to your tutor about the development of your work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will come from tutors through seminars and individual tutorials. We will help you engage with a range of literary, theoretical, critical and reflective texts and provide writing exercises to help you produce your own fantasy or science fiction writing. We will provide tutor feedback and enable you to receive peer feedback on your draft work, to help you make your writing as good as it can be.
Tutors will make module information, learning materials and details of assessment available on the University’s eLearning Portal. We will help you to understand what is required in assessments and how your work will be measured against the assessment criteria.
The module tutor will be available in seminars, as well as during office hours, to discuss any queries or concerns you have.
You will also have access to a Guidance Tutor to support you on academic matters and provides to links for support on other matters. You will be invited to meet your Guidance Tutor regularly to review your progress. The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and improve in the areas where you could perform better.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Knowledge of the forms, conventions, contexts and techniques of fantasy and/or science fiction literature

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. ability to apply imagination and appropriate writing techniques to produce an effective piece of imaginative writing
3. ability to analyse and reflect on your own work and the work of others
4. ability to position creative work in relation to the norms and conventions of literary genres
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. development of a critical and imaginative attitude to the world

How will I be assessed?


Peer and tutor feedback will be provided on work-in-progress in seminar sessions.

A 1,500-word draft and plan will be submitted for tutor feedback


A portfolio made up of:

• 3,500 words prose fiction drawing on the fantasy and/or science fiction genres (MLO 1, 2, 5)
• with a 500-word critical commentary positioning the work in relation to other texts (MLO 3, 4)

A single mark is given, based on the literary merit of the creative component, and on the extent to which it applies ideas learned in the module, as evidenced by the commentary.





Module abstract

On this module you will explore techniques for writing in the two popular genres of fantasy and science fiction. You will apply these techniques to your own creative writing in order to produce exciting, imaginative, unreal prose fiction. You will also read and analyse a wide range of novels and other texts, some of which may challenge your sense of what speculative literature is and does, as well as considering some theoretical account of the fantastic and the speculative. You will submit a piece of original fantasy and/or science fiction prose, accompanied by a critical commentary which reflects on the creative process and positions your work in relation to other texts in the genre. Sessions will be a mixture of taught sessions on particular topics and texts, and writing workshops where we discuss each other’s work-in-progress.

Course info

UCAS Code QW38

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Your Learning Experience

Find out about our distinctive approach at 

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy