Diploma in Creative Writing in English (DCE)

Updated on 18 May, 2017

Diploma in Creative Writing in English (DCE)

Minimum Duration: 1 Year
Maximum Duration: 4 Years
Course Fee: Rs. 3,000
Minimum Age: 20 Years
Maximum Age: No bar


The Diploma Programme in Creative Writing in English provides understanding, skills and professional knowledge about the art of writing and develops the creative ability of those interested in a professional career as a freelance writer. The curriculum is structured to impart instruction in progressive stages so as to ensure that a learner can assimilate information about a writer’s art and develops his/her creative ability. This Programme includes training in imaginative writing skills in relation to feature articles (women’s issues, book reviews, etc), writing short stories, scripts for TV/Radio, and writing poetry.

The Diploma in Creative Writing in English comprises two compulsory and four elective courses. Each course is of four credits.

Click here for DCE Project Guidelines


CourseCode     Course Name Credits 
 DCE 01  General Principles of Writing  4
 DCE 06  Project  4
 DCE 02  Feature Writing (DCE 02)  4
 DCE 03  Short Story  4
 DCE 04  Writing for Media: Radio and Television  4
 DCE 05  Writing Poetry (DCE 05)  4

Planning Your Project Proposal

I) For your project, you may choose anyone of the following areas :

ii.Features / Articles
iii.Short Stories
iv.Scripts for Radio & T.V.
vi.Any other project on similar lines.

II) Format of Project Proposal

A Project Proposal (500 words) should consist of the following :

i.)Title of the project

ii.)Objectives : What you propose to do in your project, and what you hope to achieve at the end (publication of your poems, for example, could be one of the goals)

State approximately how many stories, articles, poems, etc. you plant to write.

Give the title of each story, article or poem.

Make a brief statement (2 to 3 sentences) about the theme of each story, feature/article, poem, etc.

iii.)Methodology : The method you wish to adopt in order to structure or organize your work : e.g., do you propose to write experimental stories or formula stories ? How do you propose to go about your project in general.

iv.)Any remarks of a general nature comprising observations and comments.

v.)A Project proposal should be typed in double space on one side only, as far as possible on A4 size paper. Please leave adequate space on all sides for comments. Also make sure to keep one copy of the proposal for your records.

III) Guidelines for Project Proposal and Project Report


The proposal should give some idea about the following : theme, approach (Formula, Experimental, Stream-of-Consciousness, etc). The novella itself should be 20,000 words approximately.

ii)Features /Articles

8 – 10 in number. Any single feature should not exceed 2,000 words. Make your features as diverse as possible. The title should specify the topic clearly. For instance, an article titled ‘Environment’ would be quite meaningless as it suggests too wide an area to be adequately covered in a single feature article. ‘Environmental changes in the ‘Doon Valley’ would give the reader a better idea of what to expect.

A precise title will also provide a framework for your subject matter and prevent you from digressing. For instance in the article ‘Environmental Changes in the ‘Doon Valley’ you might like to talk about the Silent Valley Project in Kerala, but the phrase ‘Doon Valley’ will keep reminding you that the major part of your article should not be about the Silent Valley.

Be sure of your point of view before you start writing. For this, you must also be sure of your target readership ? children, women, general public, academics etc. You must also be aware of the policies of the journal, magazine, newspapers, etc., for which you are writing ? its political and cultural orientation, for instance.

You must read various magazines and newspaper articles to get the feel and tone of the contemporary usage of the English language.

Avoid archaic words, and clichés, unless you can give them a fresh twist. Carefully observe the rules of grammar and syntax.

To make your features/articles readable and interesting, introduce humour, examples, illustrations, anecdotes, photographs, sketches, etc. Your factual information should be accurate. Remember, however, that the personal creative touch is more important than mere data and statistics. Do not make your project report into a research paper ? always bear in mind the fact that your feature will be read by the lay-reader rather than the specialist.

iii)Short Stories

8 -10 in number. You must give a 2-3 line statement of the theme of each story in your project proposal.

Stories can be of different types, each type requiring a slightly different approach. So, first you should decide whether you want to write formula stories, detective stories, experimental stories or children’s stories. You may, of course, have a project which will be a combination of these types of stories. We give you a brief outline of each type below:

Formula Stories

A formula story usually is written or revolves around a well-defined plot based on an incident, culminates in a climax and resolves itself tragically or happily for the main characters. These characters are recognizable types, who often dilemmas that arise out of stock social problems.

Detective Stories

Remember that your main task is to build up a sense of mystery and keep the suspense of the story at a steady pitch till the end. For this, unnecessary descriptions and details should be kept out as they distract the reader from the focus of the story. The detective’s character should be built up carefully. Secondary characters should be kept to a minimum to make the ending plausible. Relevant clues to the mystery should be presented throughout the story.

Experimental Stories

In such stories events are usually viewed through the subjective vision of the main characters. Memories, intervene; life is seen as a ceaseless flow. Hence, such a story does not give importance to a plot, a proper beginning or a definite end. Rather, it highlights significant moments in the life of the protagonists, and leaves the story open-ended. The conclusion is not important. The language may be highly informal or even lyrical.

Writing for Children

Writing stories for children can be highly demanding, both in terms of content and design. Observe children. Try to keep close to the reality of their lives. Children appreciate a sense of humour. The vocabulary and sentence structure are also important for rapid and easy reading. Illustrations enliven any piece of writing for children.

iv)Scripts for Radio and/or TV

You can attempt scripts for either Radio or TV or both. (Writing for Radio and Writing for Television see item 3.8 of unit 3, Block 1 for radio format, an Unit 1, Block 3 for TV format). A radio script can include a radio play, an illustrative talk with sound effects. You could attempt a serial adaptation of a novel or a radio profile (feature, magazine or even a documentary on a personality). You may include an interview a spot interview, a field interview or a studio interview. You could identify a topic and present it in the form of a discussion with several participants and a moderator.

In case you wish to produce a script for a play, keep in mind the fact that appropriate sound effects will be needed to replace the visual elements and you would have to suggest them in your script.

While formulating your proposal.

choose your area of interest with care – radio and/or TV

then decide on your intention – education, information, entertainment, choose your topic/programme

narrow it down to specifics – an adaptation, a series, a number of talks, a quiz programme

decide on the word/time length – say 22 minutes and then formulate your proposal.


12 – 15 poems of approximately 14 lines each. You should give the central theme and image or symbol of each poem in your project proposal. Longer poems are not acceptable.

Go through the four blocks of your course materials first. They have been structured to identify and discuss the components of a poem.

Write short poems ? 14 lines or so.

Before you start writing, be sure of the form of your poem ? will it be a lyric, a sonnet, or free verse ? the meaning of a poem also conveys itself through its form.

Do you want your poem to tell a story, describe a scene, an emotion or an idea ?

What is the overall mood of your poem ? Build it up by the use of appropriate similes and metaphors and other kinds of imagery.

iii)Any other project

Any other project on similar lines is permissible so long as it conforms to the format and is duly approved by the Faculty of English.

Book Reviews are permitted; so long as they do not exceed 20% of the total length of the project;

Combination, judiciously balanced, are permitted. In case you wish to combine genres in your project report, it should include a fair representation of each kind. For example, a report could comprise 5 features and 5 short stories;

Translation of poems, short stories etc. (into English) as a project, or part of it, will not be accepted.

Travelogues, Biographies and Book-Reviews or Radio Interview alone cannot form an entire project.

IV) SAMPLE PROPOSAL – This is what your proposal should look like :
Title of the Project : THE FRAGMENTS


The Project will consist of 5 short stories and 5 feature/articles I hope that ultimately I will be able to get some of my articles and stories published.


Some of my stories will be formula stories others will be left open-ended. Some of my stories will employ then stream-of-consciousness technique. The atmosphere, setting and tone will suit the theme in each case. The day-to-day experience of living raises a number of questions. Problems encountered, topics deeply pondered, unfamiliar scenarios these will be presented in the form of feature articles, the aim being to evolve a well-rounded, unbiased picture of the situation. For this, I will conduct some on-the-spot interviews, read relevant material on the topic under discussion and then write these feature articles, presenting my personal point of view.

1) Quirk of Circumstances : Popular, erudite professor, but a tyrant at home, till an incident changes his life

2) The Mask : A pretty and pleasant girl seems to behave oddly, all of a sudden. Her deceptive appearances are seen through in the course of events.

3) The Dark Horizon : Son of socialite parents, neglected, loner, stern upbringing makes him lean towards the pleasant hallucinations of heroin and opium…

4) The Reflections : A number of persons are seen walking down a country road, they are being watches by someone. His reflections on the persons who move along the road form the main ingredient of the story.

5) The Memories : Anup recalls his friendship with Joseph on hearing the shocking news of the latter’s suicide. A trail of memories follow.

1) Capitation Fee : Can we entrust our lives and industries to those doctors and engineers who have “bought” their education through capitation fees?

2) Poor Standard of Indian Sports : Why is the standard of Indian sports so low ? Why do other developing countries perform so much better than us ? Is something wrong with our sports policies ?

3) Ecological Degradation : In recent years, a great deal of damage has been caused to the natural environment. This needs to be stopped otherwise the consequences will be disastrous for the future generations.

4) Growing Old : The effect of the split in the joint family brings tremendous mental suffering to old persons who even though economically independent, require love and care.

5) Singapore Revisited : A glimpse into the scenic spots of the proverbial “Shopper’s Paradise”, and some of the many festivals that make up its cultural climate.


In any project undertaken for DCE-6,it is necessary to observe the following steps:

i)Draft your Project Proposal as per the guidelines given above.

ii)Submit your Project Proposal to Director, School of Humanities, send a copy, simultaneously to your Regional Director for information and records.

iii)Your proposal should carry the details of your enrolment number, your name and your address.

iv)Your proposal will be returned to you within ten weeks of its receipt with one of the following remarks :


‘Approved conditionally’ subject to observation of certain guidelines and modifications. ‘Re-do and re-submit’ to : The Director (School of Humanities).

v)All approved proposals must be attached with the completed project to enable the evaluator to check whether there is conformity with the proposed outline, suggested modifications, etc. Some projects have arrived in parts ? 4 stories in one dispatch and 4 features some weeks later. Please note that the entire report must be in one cover, and bound if possible, or at least tagged. It is of no use if you send your reports in parts ? in fact, there is every chance of it getting lost.

vi)Your report must be accompanied by a certificate that the work is original, has not been submitted elsewhere and embodies the writing done as part of Course 6. (Self certified)


vii)Project Report (Single copy) – If you wish to complete your Diploma within a year of the enrolment kindly submit your Project Report by the 30th November for December Term End result and 30th May for June Term End result.

? Submit your Project Report by Registered Insured post to :

Student Evaluation Division (SED)
Indira Gandhi National Open University
Maidan Garhi, New Delhi – 110 068

Please note that –

You will not be required to do any assignments or term-end examination for Course 6, i.e., you will only submit the Project Proposal, followed by the Project Report.

The Project carries the weightage of a full course, (4 credits) and

You must get a minimum C grade for your project. If you get a D, you would be required to revise the report.

Please submit a typed and bound copy of the Project Report. Use A4 size paper. Use one side only.

Regional Centres: