Course Title: Write simple stories

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

Course Code: COMM5910C

Course Title: Write simple stories

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6125 - Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Noel Maloney
Phone: 9925 4307

Nominal Hours: 30

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

Write Simple Stories is taught within the course Storytelling, which is made up of two competencies Write Simple Stories and Write Extended Stories. Strong storytelling is an essential component of screenwriting and the competency Write Simple Stories delivers the skills, craft and knowledge required to write short stories.
This competency Write Simple Stories (CUFWRT302A) is delivered and assessed with Write

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFWRT302A Write simple stories


1. Clarify storytelling requirements

Performance Criteria:

1. Discuss with relevant personnel storytelling briefs, including target audience, format, timelines and delivery platforms
 2. Identify purpose of dialogue, characters, point of view and setting to help structure storylines
 3. Discuss with relevant personnel possible visual and aural storytelling structures that would meet the requirements of briefs


2. Prepare to write stories

Performance Criteria:

4. Research stories from a range of creative works that may inspire story ideas that meet requirements of briefs
 5. Use information sources to research subject areas
 6. Experiment with linear and non-linear storyline structures
 7. Use imagination to develop ideas for characters, plots and settings
 8. Develop ideas for scenarios, contexts and situations in which characters act, react and resolve
 9. Select story structure and content that best meet requirements of briefs
 10. Seek feedback from relevant personnel on proposed story and refine approach as required


3. Draft stories

Performance Criteria:

11. Use a creative writing style appropriate to specified stories
 12. Use tools to draft stories
 13. Use correct grammar, appropriate punctuation and accurate spelling
 14. Proofread copy to check for spelling, grammatical, typographic and other errors
 15. Submit draft stories to relevant personnel for feedback and amend as required


4. Refine stories

Performance Criteria:

16. Participate in the testing of stories in line with agreed criteria
 17. Discuss and confirm with relevant personnel additional requirements or modifications to stories
 18. Complete necessary amendments within agreed timelines

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to use both linear and non-linear structures to write simple and extended stories, You will build your understanding and overview of the history and importance of storytelling.

Details of Learning Activities

You will learn through:
1. In-class activities:

  • lectures
  • industry speakers
  • teacher directed group activities/projects
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • group discussion
  • class exercises to review discussions/lectures
  • reading of excerpts of writings and set texts to provide examples of writing elements
  • workshopping of students’ stories
  • analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice

2. Out-of-class activities:

  • independent project based work
  • writing and reading assignments
  • online and other research
  • independent study 

Teaching Schedule

Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

WeekClass ContentAssessment DueCompetency and Elements
1Introduction to Storytelling. Explanation of course content and overview of assessment. 

CUFWRT302A - 1

CUFWRT402A - 1 

2Sourcing: Ordinary Things 
Reading: Tim Winton
Story Structure: Beginnings
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT 1: Generating Story IdeasCUFWRT302A - 1, 2 


Sourcing: Fairy Tales
Reading: Little Red Riding Hood, The Sleeping Beauty, Charles Perrault, Fairy Tales
Story Structure: Characters
Story workshop processes, conventions and ethics

 CUFWRT302A – 1, 2 
4Sourcing: Fairy Tales (cont’d)
Reading: Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, The Grimm Brothers
Story Structure: Inciting incidents 
Story workshops
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT 2: Workshop of story (dates of workshop to be confirmed)

CUFWRT302A – 1, 2,



5Sourcing: Classical theatre
Reading: Aristotle, Aristophanes, E M Forster, Linda Aronson
Story Structure: Conflict 
Story workshops
 CUFWRT302A – 1, 2, 3 

6Sourcing: Myth
Reading: Joseph Campbell, Christopher Vogler
Story Structure: Climax
Story workshops
 CUFWRT302A - 1, 2, 3 
CUFWRT402A 2, 3, 4 

Sourcing: Allegory
Reading: Plato’s The Cave
Story Structure: Endings  
Story workshops


1, 2, 3 
CUFWRT402A - 2, 3, 4 

8Sourcing: Place
Viewing: North By Northwest
Story Structure: Emplacement
Story workshops
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT STORY 1 DUE: "The Ordinary in the Extraordinary" CUFWRT302A - 1, 2, 3, 4 

9Sourcing: Objects 
Extended Story Structure: Characterization, Complex Character Development, Motivation
Summative Assessment 2 (Write Extended Stories) explained. 
Story workshops
 CUFWRT402A - 1, 2, 3, 4 

Sourcing: Travel
Extended Story Structure: Time, Analypsis 
Reading: Helen Garner, Lisa Dethridge 
Story workshops            

 FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT 3: Developing Conflict 
2, 3
11The Ordinary and The Fantastic  Reading: Henry Lawson, Peter Carey
Extended Story Structure: Set-up, Payoff, Antagonists
Stories for short film
Story workshops 


1, 2, 3
12Extended Story Structure: Mystery, Suspense, Irony 
Reading: Robert McKee
Story workshops
 FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT 4: Workshop of story (Dates of workshop to be confirmed) 
1, 2, 3 
13Sourcing: Imagery
Extended Story Structure: Upping the Stakes
Stories for feature film
Reading: Barbara Baynton, Linda Seger
Story workshops 

CUFWRT402A - 1, 2, 3

14Action, Stillness 
Extended Story Structure: Sub-text, suspension of action 
Reading: Colm Toíbín, Adrian Martin 
Story workshops
1, 2, 3

Extended Story Structure: Framing, POV, Story about Story
Reading: TBC          
Story workshops

 SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT STORY 2 DUE: "A Suspenseful Tale"CUFWRT402A - 1, 2, 3, 4
16Sourcing: True Crime
Extended Story Structure: Crisis, Conflict, Climax
Reading: Australian Police Journal, Henning Mankell

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

The Storytelling Course Reader 2014 will be available at the beginning of the semester both in hard copy and as a digital copy on blackboard.


Extracts, readings and additional references are provided throughout the course. In addition to hard copy handouts, some readings are made available on Blackboard, and others can be accessed via the web. Recommended books will be discussed in class. You are advised to visit Blackboard for ongoing updated information

Other Resources

Students will require access to a word processing program and the facility to print hard copies of stories for workshopping. These facilities are available in the Carlton Library.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your writing tasks.

Assessment Tasks

This unit Write Simple Stories is delivered with Write Extended Stories. However each unit will be assessed separately. You will be assessed on your knowledge and ability to write stories that engage the target audience and meet the requirements or purpose of a storytelling concept, brief or project. 

Assessment tasks in this course are either formative or summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks. Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.

Formative Assessment
There are two formative assessment tasks for each of the units delivered in this course.

CUFWRT302A Write a Simple Story

  • Assessment #1: Sourcing and developing story ideas
    For this assessment you will do a series of in-class exercises designed to help you think imaginatively about sourcing and generating story ideas.
  • Assessment #2: Story workshops
    For this assessment, you will present a story for workshopping. It may be the story you intend to submit for your summative assessment in this unit, or it may be another piece of work.
    Workshop dates to be confirmed with your teacher early in the semester. 
    The story will be between 1500 and 2000 words. It is to be emailed to your teacher one week prior to the workshop date.

CUFWRT402A Write an Extended Story

  • Assessment #3  Developing conflict
    Conflict is often one of the most difficult aspects of story writing. This in-class assessment is designed to not only generate conflict in a story but escalate it. 
  • Assessment #4: Story workshops
    For this assessment, you will present a story for workshopping. It may be the story you intend to submit for your summative assessment in this unit, or it could be another piece of work.
    Workshop dates to be confirmed with your teacher early in the semester.
    The story will be between 1500 and 2500 words. It is to be emailed to your teacher one week prior to the workshop date.

Summative Assessment
There are two summative assessments, one for each of the units in this course.

CUFWRT302A Write a Simple Story: Final draft of short story. Theme: "The Ordinary in the Extraordinary". Length: 2000 words Due: Week 8

For this assessment, you will write a story that finds something extraordinary in an ordinary situation. You will:

- respond imaginatively to this story brief
- produce a powerful premise, concept and theme
- create characters that are deeply and imaginatively integrated into the story
- produce a structure that effectively supports premise, concept, theme and character
- explore language that is rich and deeply integrated

CUFWRT402A Write an Extended Story: Final draft of short story. Theme: “A Suspenseful Tale”. Length: 2500 words  Due: Week 15

For this assessment, you will write a story that uses suspense and surprise to engage your reader’s curiosity. You will:

- respond imaginatively to this brief.
- take risks and experiment with narrative structure
- explore character in depth
- use language that enriches and deepens the story
- identify five aspects of the story that you might explore in a subsequent draft. Include these points at the end of your story.

Summative Assessment Requirements:
Assessments to be submitted as hard copy
A signed cover sheet to be attached
All assessments must be double space


  • You will have the opportunity to have at least two stories workshopped in class time over the duration of the course.
  • One story can be between 1000 and 2000 words in length, the other between 1000 and 2500 words in length.
  • You can choose to workshop the story you plan to submit for summative assessment, or a different story altogether. The choice is yours.
  • To have a story workshopped, you will email it to your teacher one week prior to the workshop date. The teacher will distribute the story to the class prior to the workshop, to enable students to read and reflect on it.
  • Workshops are facilitated according to conditions and rules that will be negotiated and agreed upon at the commencement of the course.

Grades used in this unit are as follows:

  • CHD Competent with High Distinction
  • CDI Competent with Distinction
  • CC Competent with Credit
  • CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
  • NYC Not Yet Competent
  • DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

For further information on the assessment and grading criteria, please refer to the course blackboard site

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration.

Other Information

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that you attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.

You will receive spoken and written feedback from teachers on your work. Where appropriate, this feedback will also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. More about the student progress policy is available on RMIT’s website.

Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension. You can apply in writing for up to a week’s extension from your course teacher. If you need a longer extension, you wil need to apply for special consideration. Special consideration, appeals and discipline

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Work Placement
It is a requirement of this program that all students participate in authentic work related tasks. These may be either simulated or in a real work environment. On occasion, we are approached by industry and given opportunities for students to apply for short term placements. When these placement opportunities arise, students are required to negotiate the specific details with the relevant program coordinator or teacher. All industry placements require students, RMIT staff and host organisations to sign a written agreement prior to the commencement of the placement.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview