Course Title: Refine writing and editing techniques - Non-fiction

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2008

Course Code: COMM5409

Course Title: Refine writing and editing techniques - Non-fiction

School: 345T Creative Media

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5181 - Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing

Course Contact : Professional Writing and Editing Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4368

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Di Websdale-Morrissey
Building 94, level 2, room 6
23–27 Cardigan Street, South Carlton 

Andrea McNamara
Building 94, level 2, room 6
23–27 Cardigan Street, South Carlton

Nominal Hours: 85

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

This course covers the knowledge and skills required to research and experiment with writing and editing techniques and media to generate writings. It explores the skills required to produce a major non-fiction project and to develop a greater understanding of target audiences, publishers’ expectations and the marketplace.                             

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBP553 Refine writing and editing techniques - Non-fiction


1. Inform work through experimentation with writing techniques and media   

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The potential for new approaches to writing based on the capabilities of techniques already used are evaluated
1.2 New techniques are selected, adapted and introduced for the achievement of different effects
1.3 The capabilities of writing techniques are extended through experimentation to inform practice
1.4 Relevant ideas and approaches from other practitioners are researched, adapted and used with consideration of intellectual property, moral rights and copyright requirements


2. Develop and refine conceptual vision for writings

Performance Criteria:

2.1 A conceptual vision for writings are developed based on a knowledge and understanding of different writing techniques
2.2 The criteria for selecting techniques are considered based on results of experimentation
2.3 The criteria which are most likely to facilitate the achievement of the conceptual vision are established
2.4 The approach to work which meets established criteria is selected
2.5 The conceptual vision is refined based on on-going experimentation and analysis of writing techniques


3. Determine and organise resource requirements for work

Performance Criteria:

3.1 The specific resource requirements which arise from the use of techniques and experimental approaches are assessed
3.2 Potential sources of supply of writing resources are researched and accessed
3.3 Constraints that may impact on the development of work are evaluated


4. Plan the writing

Performance Criteria:

4.1 The writing task is planned to reflect the media, scope, structure and content of the work and to meet agreed timelines
4.2 Ideas are organised and developed into an ordered sequence of scenes
4.3 All resources required to deliver the writing task are organised
4.4 A timeline for the completion of the writing task that reflects the critical milestones is determined


5. Realise writings                              

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Writings are realised using techniques and media selected from research and experimentation to meet the conceptual vision
5.2 The potential for changes in the use of techniques are evaluated and responded to
5.3 The conceptual vision is refined  based on on-going experiences with the production of writings
5.4 Issues of design and presentation of writings are considered and appropriate actions taken

Learning Outcomes

Not applicable

Details of Learning Activities

Learning Activities

  • discussions
  • demonstrations
  • guest lecturers
  • peer teaching and class presentations
  • exercises
  • discussion
  • group activities/projects
  • workshopping
Related independent learning:

  •    research
  •    reading
  •    discussion and comment via the class website, Blackboard
  •    assignment/project work

Teaching Schedule

Date         Class Content
11 FebOrientation Week
 18 Feb
 Introduction to years work and goals
Preliminary discussions about individual projects
Assignment outline given for next week
 25 Feb Students present ideas in oral proposal form using question sheet
distributed in first week
 3 March How the publishing industry works; how ideas are pitched and evaluated.
Refinement of ideas, class ‘evaluation’ exercise.
 10 March Labour Day Holiday
 17 March Shaping your project. Is it a book? Development of ideas as industry knowledge grows.
Workshopping as required.
 24 March Easter Monday Holiday
 31 March No formal class. Class to work independently on market research assignment.
 7 April Discuss market research results
Structure - its importance and how to achieve the most appropriate
structure for each project. Analysis of structure styles and application
 14, 21, 21 April &
5,12,19,26 May & 2 June
 Workshopping/discussion of project issues in class forum as required. Class exercises in response to identified knowledge/skills needs (students should be prepared to workshop at least fortnightly).
 9 June Queens Birthday Holiday
 16 June Individual project feedback
 23, 30 June Mid Year Holidays
 7 July Blurb Writing
 14 July Student in-class report exercise
 21, 28 July & 4, 11 August Workshopping/discussion of project issues in class forum as required. Class exercises in response to identified knowledge/skills needs (students should be prepared to workshop at least fortnightly).
 18, 25 August Proposals - elements
 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 September Workshopping project and/or proposals
 6, 13, 20 October Workshopping projects as required
 20 October Pitching your manuscript – how and to whom?
 27 October Critical look at year’s work – where to from here? Pitching your manuscript – how and to whom?
 3 November Melbourne Cup
 10 November Final Class
Industry expert to give feedback to students’ proposals

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment includes a short preliminary proposal and a substantial part of a non-fiction project.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment 1
Students will submit 2000 words  of a written project       Due: 7 April       10%

Assessment 2
Students will submit 3000 words  of a written project       Due: 26 May        20%

Assessment 3
Students will submit 3,500 words  of a written  project        Due: 11 August    25%

Assessment 4
Students will submit 3,500 words   of a written project       Due: 27 October     25%

Assessment 5
Students will submit a publishing proposal for their project    Due: 6 October         20%

Assessment Matrix

Course Overview: Access Course Overview