My Life, Student Life

Masters in Creative Writing — De Montfort University

Introduction  

As I had previously studied at De Montfort University (DMU) at undergraduate level, I decided to look into a postgraduate study here.

The three years here were possibly the best three years of my life. Not to sound mushy, but it’s true. I met some great people and had fantastic experiences. All staff members that I met and worked with were very supporting and helpful. I didn’t have to go and see the disability team too often as my tutors were able to resolve many of the issues in house. 

The experiences at DMU included being a student ambassador as well as involvement in the Student Union. But what I particularly enjoyed was being apart of ‘Demon Media’ the University’s personal media society which gave me the chance to write for their magazine and have a radio show each year. I even got to produce a series of shows in my third year.  

Even though I knew everything else was wonderful at this university, I had to make sure that the postgraduate course was right for me. So I decided to take a look DMU’s MA Creative Writing degree.

Campus/Uni

From the first time I stepped onto De Montfort University’s campus over four years ago I fell in love with it. The university is on such a beautiful, open piece of land and is all compact into one or two areas, with a mixture of new and old buildings. I immediately got a positive general feel and it was just the same when I stepped back on to campus for my graduation and now too to consider my masters degree.Having already studied here I have the upper hand in knowing the tutors and the disability team as well as the overall campus. This is definitely a reassurance for me and relives certainly added pressure. Another anxiety that wouldn’t appear would be be how to use and make the most of the facilities around campus.

Clubs and Societies

Due to personal circumstances at the begining of my third year, I didn’t attend freshers activity fair at DMU, but now considering DMU as a place to go and study my master’s degree and with the limited contact hours, I really wanted the opportunity to get back into student life again. So I made sure to check out the recent list of clubs and socities…  

Ambassador Society

One of the new societies that I spotted was the Ambassador Society new for 2019. I have wanted to be a student ambassador at DMU but never have had the confidence to do so. Now this ambassador Society opens up opportunities for me to be able to do so as well as allow me to join a group of people and take part in socials, trips and other activities while trying to feel that courage to become a student ambassador. 

Creative Industries Society

Another Society which is new to me is the Creative Industries Society. It gives members a chance to network and connect with people in the different Industries while creating events in Leicester. This is good as well as the chance to enjoy socials and networking events and Industry talks as well as possible job opportunities. Sounds like something I can get my teeth into.

Demon Crew 

Demon Crew was one society that I thought about joining in third year but didn’t have a chance to. Members have the opportunity to join with other writers, from beginners to experienced writers to develop skills together before opportunities to perform our creative pieces at open mic nights, fundraising events or other such activities. There also are a range of socials for members to get involved with.It sounds like a good Society but I’m not completely sure whether I will join due to the amount of creative writing that I will do already. But it may help me my confidence and performance skills.

Bloggers Society

This is a society that I joined when I was in my second year and I enjoyed it but I didn’t get chance to go to many society meetings. Now, I think its a great chance to get more into it as I socialise with fellow bloggers and share ideas and inspirations on different themes as we assist each other’s blogs and enhance our own.  

Demon Media

One society that I loved being part of was Demon Media. De Montfort University’s own student media group. Members can get involved with different strands which cover television, radio, print and online media. There are opportunities for everyone to get involved in. It provided me with some valuable skills and fantastic friends and memories.Personally, I got involved in writing for ‘The Demon’ magazine a monthly publication which offers news, sports, entertainment, health and lifestyle, fashion and beauty and student discussion. I wrote a number of entertainment pieces and a few lifestyle pieces for the print magazine and the online platform.

There was also the chance to get involved in the design and presentation of the publication including editing, editorial design and photography. The most insurmountable level of experience and fun I had at DMU was being part of Demon FM. I was able to present on the show alongside co-hosts for three years and even was able to produce my own series of radio shows throughout my third year. I can’t entirely describe what it felt like and the adrenaline I received after each show but I would definitely like to join in on this again.

Harry Potter Society 

Harry Potter Society was one society that I joined and and wish I took part in longer. Every week the society met it was a different Harry Potter theme. From arts and crafts night, to costume parties and FanFiction night. It was good to find others who loved the franchise as much as me and I plan to join again if I do go back to DMU. 

Cinema

Once society that I had looked for, for a while but couldn’t find. I have a real passion for all things cinema and would love to share it with others. The screenings and cinema trips with discounted tickets and the snacks provided are a bonus!  

Nintendo Society 

The Nintendo Society would be another one that I would like to give a try and socialise with others who enjoys playing Nintendo games! From Super Smash Bros. to Mario Kart and have fun. Everyone can play on their own Nintendos or devices will be provided for members to play multi-player games with added socials and activities as well. 

Full-Time VS Part-Time

Full-time and part-time options are both available on the De Montfort University’s MA Creative Writing course. The contact hours within this course are four hours with thirty hours of independent study a week and fifteen hours for part-time students. As well as this, there would be optional research seminars, writer visits and events.

There is the opportunity for students to change to the from part-time to full-time or vice versa if they find that more suitable to them when the course starts. The semesters and coursework are spread out accordingly, depending on the pathway students are to take.

The full time degree operates with six modules, studied over one academic year, and a dissertation that is completed over the summer. In contrast, the part-time study will be a single module completed in each semester. The dissertation is then spread out through both summers.

My considerations on Full-Time vs Part-Time

Personally, if I was to become a student on this course I think I would take the part-time option as it would be most beneficial to my physical and mental health. I feel it would just be too much strain on me too to balance everything and and develop my best work into each and every assignment that I am set.

Part-time study will allow me to dedicate more time and effort into each assignment or project set by the course and this could increase my chances of getting a higher grade and feeling more self achievement. 

According to some enquiries I made, the contact hours in lectures and seminars are predominantly compressed into one day with the occasional optional classes and tutorials. 

I decided that if became a student here again, I could commute from home. DMU has good adaptable accommodation which I lived in for three years, but I would be at the university for such little time that it wouldn’t be personally and economically worth it.

I also concerned the limited time I would spend on campus or in accommodation, I didn’t want to feel overly isolated for whatever reason, especially as I’d be living with freshers again, so I thought that this would be the best option.

My plan would be to use the direct train from Birmingham to Leicester as it only a short distance and I know the journey so this is reassuring. Being a short distance away and taking the part-time option will allow me flexibility to ensure I can do everything needed for the course. I will try to ensure that I complete all of my work, if not the majority using the study facilities such as the university library, which is open 24/7.

Course Overview

De Monfort University’s MA Creative Writing degree allows students to strengthen current knowledge and skills, working on new genres as well as giving the individuals the space to pursue and giving a gentle push the projects they are wanting or devlop the ones they are currently working on. Students will for take in industry based models to be able to achieve this. Students can construct an extended piece of work independently with support and guidance from a supervisor. At the end of their time as a postgraduate student, there is the oppitunity to study at PhD level.  

Module Overview 

De Montfort University’s MA Creative Writing course is made up of three strands of six modules in total. All of which seems to build on what I already covered on undergraduate level. There is three strands of modules which offers a mixture of theory based, practical and employability modules, all industry based. We as students will have the chance to work on our own projects while each module breaks it down and it encourages us to look and work on it in a different way which will overall influence our projects.

 To some level I am apprehensive about the amount of modules we will be doing at one time and how I would balance it all properly, but I would just have to be careful of how I manage my time to allow my imagination to run as I create words that myself and my readers can escape into as I am opening up to new ideas and approaches.

The modules on the course include: 

  • Researching as a Writer 1: Icebergs and Audience
  • Researching as a Writer 2: Practising Ideas, Articulating Practice
  • Developing Writing 1: Craft, Form and Exploratory Writing
  • Developing Writing 2: Genre Case Study 
  • The Writing Ecosystem 1: Navigating networks 
  • The Writing Ecosystem 2: Performance, Presentation, Pedagogy
  • Final Dissertation 

Researching as a Writer 1: Icebergs and Audience

This is the first of two creative writing research modules that works over six weeks related to individual student’s writers craft as they will unpack their writing projects and understand each and every part of it using Hemingway’s model of the craft. Using archives, mood boards, video resources, images, paintings, newspapers, other fictional texts, websites, wider reading and experiences to assist, students can deconstruct their research projects and proceed with building the creation of believable worlds, characters and stories, imagery, voice and narrative as well as throughly developed settings and time periods. 
Only by unpacking stories and learning your projects forwards, backwards and back to front as well as all of your characters’ backstories. 

My favourite part of being a writer is how you can get into the mind of characters and figure out what makes them tick, see things from their perspective and imagining scenarios for them to be in, in their world as they encounter obstacles and overcome the odds that face them and this wil what the module will allow me to do. I could understand and explore every part of my project properly and develop an extensive level of research layer by layer to see if there’s any section needs intensifying or excess to cut to strengthen and rebuild. My favourite books include Harry Potter by JK Rowling, Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven by Bella Forrest, these books to aren’t always told in chronological order but create imaginative worlds with many layers and this is something I want to do with my own writing and bring it to life. 

Researching as a Writer 2: Practising Ideas, Articulating Practice

This module is more theoretical than ‘Researching as a Writer 1’. Students would be able to practice and articulate ideas surrounding Creative Writing in a research context, writing creatively but also in an academic sense. It also gives students the opportunity to develop writing underneath the surface of the ongoing projects and complete some contemporary writing around and the base of it as well as tackling issues and further ideas. As well as this, individuals will practise alternatives to a traditional essays such as manifestos. 

One particular assignment which caught my eye was the chance to write an essay that will feature myself meeting an author or authors I find inspiring and how I would approach the meeting and my reactions to meeting them even in my subconscious. I love the idea of this, it would help me think of my projects from different ways and how I would handle myself in a professional capacity as well as personally, which would mean I would try very hard not to giggle or make a fool out of myself. I would love the thought of meeting my idols even if its just in writing.   

I like the openness of the MA and the ability for you as the writer to work on projects that inspires you and that you as a student and writer want to pursue. By doing this it will help as a skill as well as in artistic practice for their professional development. The module will also lead to further preperaton for studying at PhD level.     

Developing Writing 1: Craft, Form and Exploratory Writing

This module will be about experimenting with current projects, but also to try new forms and ideas. This will include practising the craft, experimenting with different genres, developing in different writing forms, and theorising about hybrid genres (like a romantic horror). It will encourage me to look at my chosen research project and see it in different angles and slants and how to self-multiply into different writing identites. By the end, I should have conducted relative research for my project and explored my characters in other settings. 

I had the chance to do this at undergraduate level at DMU already and it would be nice to do so again, but this time it looks to take it up a level and use new genres you want to explore and experiment different forms and styles of writing in as well as our own projects. Then you can use it not for just assignment purposes but ones that you can take forward and throw more into it. The chance to write in this will also show potenial agents or publishes that you can write multi-diementional pieces.  

Developing Writing 2: Genre Case Study 

This module will look specifically at genre. Each week, a genre specialist will come in to teach about their specific genre, the challenges within that genre, and details that make that genre unique, this will include marketing. The genre that I select must be different from my dissertaion project. My work could also be in different forms, such as poetry or TV drama. Each week, fellow students and I will workshop our pieces in our chosen genres and forms.

 Here is another oppitunity to be open with the type of writing you pursue. Though I have a main fantasy-fiction novel, I do have other projects on the back burner that I just need a window to work on it and this will give me the perfect chance as we are requested to work on a different genre to my dissertation, which is currently to persue ‘Realms of Magic’.

The Writing Ecosystem 1: Navigating Networks 

This module focuses on markets, such as routes into publishing and production. It will focus on the ecosystems and organisationsthat provide work, professional development and support for writers, such as the Writers Guild. This module will help me develop and submit work for publication, production and grants, as  well as writing for a business. It will also look into self-publishing and Indie-filmmaking.

Additionally, it will look at networking and collabrotive work for writers and creatives. During my undergraduate degree I was able to create and develop a publication which I have hard copies of and is now also available online. Now this module would give me a further insight into the industry and worlds of publication. 

The Writing Ecosystem 2: Performance, Presentation, Pedagogy

This is the second module that looks at employability as a module. It looks at the importance of self-promotion and self-marketing in the current professional landscape. First, it will address what “creative writing” is, the aspects of creative writing pedagogy and creativity, and how to apply new knowledge, whether that is in my own work or to use in future workshops with peers and other writers.  The aim is to articulate my processes and learn to pitch my work, as well as to teach creative writing. 

While experiencing and learning about publishing as well as the practical industry and how it operates in detail, I can try and improve my profile as a writer. Through the module I could learn the proper tools to how to self promote and network with industry members to further my career in the industry. This is a brilliant opportunity as its one thing to complete the hard graft to develop stories, poetry etc but to actually then self promote and network to help is another thing, so to have this module is great.  

Final Dissertation 

Lastly, students would need to complete an extended project, containg from 15,000 to 25,000 words in any choice form and genre, a synopsis of project with support from fellow peers and a supervisor. To support this dissertation, a 2,000-word critical analysis of the project will have to be submitted. 

Personally, I would focus my dissertation on my fantasy-fictional novel, ‘Realms of Magic’.   

Overall Thoughts

For one, the campus and the facilities will always be a winner for me. I can also enjoy all the things I loved about the University when I was first there while feeling a great level of comfort .I can enjoy the lovely open campus which I fell in love with.

The MA degree builds on a lot of what was covered during undergraduate level, so I would be forewarned of the type of thing to expect and I would know the tutors which is a reassurance and bonus.

However, I am open to what other Universities and different cites have to offer. The course is great though and the modules are practical and room to work on own projects as well as giving the base for self-promotion and a career in the industry. An anxiety of mine is whether I can study six modules in such an intense programme. Though I would be studying it part-time it would still be intense we have six modules and the course overall when making a decision, I will have to consider these modules carefully when there are other courses that may offer the same opportunities but in a fewer capacity.

Another great thing is if I did become a student here I will be able to commute the 40-minute journey with trains running regularly to and from Birmingham to Leicester.

I don’t have to live in student halls with undergraduate students don’t have to live with undergraduate students and can easily get to the University when need be. With the assistance of nice and supportive tutors, I could manage the modules and their entitlements.

I learned and gained so much from De Montfort University during my undergraduate course and had so much fun with the outside of classes experiences. Now the consideration to study a Masters degree at DMU presents me with new challenges.  

Consideration

De Monfortfort University is a great University with a strong MA course and will be a strong contender when it comes to applying to study a masters degree.

1 thought on “Masters in Creative Writing — De Montfort University”

  1. you have so much of patience doing this Sophie…i loved just scrolling down and seeing how well you constructed it all…and to know we share an almost similar name only added to my need to share a quick comment….keep going….you’re going to get up there as you keep climbing the ladder…all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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