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English Language   >   Creative Writing

Form and Content

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Creative Writing

In this course, the novelist Anthony Cartwright (UWE, winner of the Betty Trask Award for his 2004 novel, The Afterglow) introduces some techniques for improving creative writing, both descriptive and narrative. In the first two modules, we think about the relationship between what we are writing about (= content) and the way it is written (= form). In the third module, we introduce a simple technique for coming up with a landscape or setting for our writing, before turning in the fourth and fifth modules to consider the relationship between different objects in our landscape, and the different perspectives of the various characters. In the sixth module, we explore how verb choice can enliven a piece of descriptive or narrative writing, before turning in the seventh and final module to consider how we can go from a descriptive piece of writing (e.g. a man on a bus) to a narrative piece of writing.

Form and Content

In this module, we think about how the relationship between what we are writing about and how it is written. As we move through the module, we consider: (i) how we might adapt the style of our writing when writing about the falling of rain and (ii) two examples of an author matching up form and content – Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) and his description of the Merrimac River in The Town and the City (1950). The module ends with a writing exercise: you are writing about being on a bus stuck in traffic; how do you convey the stop-start nature of your journey in your writing's form as well as its content?

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Cartwright, A. (2022, April 11). Creative Writing - Form and Content [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Cartwright, A. "Creative Writing – Form and Content." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Apr 2022,