The course

Turn dry facts into compelling stories.

Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you’ll draw on facts, research and personal experience.

This four-week online course, run by our partners at Faber Academy, shows you how to take the raw material from internet trawling, library sessions or your own notebooks and diaries and turn it into engaging writing.

You’ll be encouraged to use background reading to kick-start the creative process, and explore ways to use research material to transform a nice story into something more unusual, more credible and more substantial.

Philip Marsden

Meet your course director

Philip Marsden

Philip Marsden is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, history and fiction. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.


In partnership with Faber Academy

Expert guidance from first line to final draft, at the home of one of Britain’s great publishers. We work in partnership with Faber Academy to offer a range of courses for fiction writers at all stages of development – choose from key skills short courses through to advanced novel writing courses.

How it works

We give you the theory in the form of videos, podcasts, written lectures and reading extracts. In the case of our live workshops, this includes a live online seminar.

You put it into practice by completing the writing assignments.

You share your work with the small group of fellow writers and the teaching team.

Your tutor and fellow learners read your work and give professional-style feedback on your submission. Giving feedback notes helps to build your skills as an editor - a critical part of the writing process.

You reflect on the exercises with the group and share what you’ve learned.

You use what you learned from the feedback and discussions to review your work and improve it.

Things to know

Fiction Skills: Research is suitable for complete beginners or anyone who’s taken a beginners’ fiction course and wants to broaden their knowledge, explore new skills and develop their research habits and techniques.

The course is suitable if you:

  • Have never carried out research before and want to know how and where to start
  • Already do some research but want to become more efficient and effective at it
  • Want to explore different sources of research
  • Are keen to learn how to apply good quality research to your writing
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Tutor Philip Marsden will introduce you to the skills of a good researcher and how you can use these to help you plan your fiction or non-fiction writing.

Over two sessions, Philip will help you explore practical ways to test your ingenuity and build know-how as a researcher while you work within a supportive community of fellow writers keen to share their experiences with you.

Session 1: Approaches to Research –We’ll explore some of the skills and steps involved in research, including background reading, note taking, and the use of sources. You’ll look at different writers’ approaches to research, reflect on your own practices, and try your hand at some active research.

Session 2: Putting Research on the Page –We’ll look at how to turn notes and facts into compelling prose. You’ll explore how researched details can be used to engage the reader and bring scenes and stories to life. We’ll also look at the use of language, style and tone when putting your research onto the page.

You’ll write a 2,000-word piece using the techniques you’ve practised. You’ll have the chance to share your work with the group, so you can give each other feedback.

Join the Faber Academy alumni

After your course, you can join the online alumni where you’ll meet the growing network of past Faber Academy students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.

Within the online alumni area you can:

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum and access an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other Faber Academy courses and groups and share your work for feedback on our alumni critiquing forum
  • Join in on discussions about reading, writing, editing and ideas on our general discussion forum. This is also where we share news and useful info
  • Retain access to our resources area, which has interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people online using the alumni area live chatroom. We also host live chats with guest tutors, authors, agents, editors and publishers

Commission a report on your work

If you’d like to receive a personalised, detailed report on your final piece of writing from your course tutor, this is available at an extra cost. You’ll receive detailed written feedback assessing your ideas and writing, plus advice on what steps to take next.

Taking things further

If you’d like to continue on to another Faber Academy course, you’ll receive a discount. Please get in touch for more details.

The team

Meet your course team

Philip Marsden

Philip Marsden

From Place to Page

Philip Marsden is the award-winning author of a number of works of travel, history and fiction. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.


More about Philip Marsden

Maria Dmitriev


More courses

Looking for something different?