Session 1: Beginnings
You as a novel writer – why do you want to write this novel, and why is now the right time? Establishing your intent, your mission as a novel writer and committing to the expedition. Finding the right idea – taking inspiration from the world around you, or asking your inner writer to give you a good idea. You’ll share a summary of your novel idea.
Introductory group webchat with your tutor: Tuesday 16 January, 7-8pm GMT.
Session 2: Character & Plot
Who is going to inhabit this story? And what needs to happen to that character: drama is action! Exercises to help you catch up with your central character and ask them what they long for and want to achieve. Getting more curious about your character and how to write them into the story. You’ll introduce your protagonist to your group and tutor for the first time.
Session 3: Setting & Atmosphere
Bringing real or imagined settings to life in your novel, with practical sensory description techniques. What makes this different from writing a non-fiction description? How to get inside your narrator character so readers have a sense of seeing everything – action, landscapes, interiors, other characters – filtered through the very specific lens of this fictional person. You’ll show us what your central character feels in this setting.
Group webchat with your tutor: Tuesday 30 January, 7-8pm GMT
Session 4: Point of View
The art of listening for the difference in how people express themselves, and how to ‘hear’ the voice of a character in your head when you are writing. Think about who is most affected by the events of your story and what suits you best as a point of view choice – for you as a writer and this novel. You’ll experiment with a POV that comes naturally and other options.
Session 5: Shaping a Story
How are character and plot intertwined? Let’s pull this apart this week and try out different story structure systems, with tricks of the novel-writer’s trade including a map in three acts. Also the dance between plotting and trusting the muse as you plot, looking at ways to allow space for magic and the unexpected in your novel. You’ll build a short scene to introduce your character’s ordinary world, learning how to bury clues and get your readers begging for change.
Group webchat with your tutor: Tuesday 13 February, 7-8pm GMT.
Session 6: Write Your Synopsis
Ready to tell your story in three simple sentences? We’ll do that this week, then build it up into a synopsis, learning to see this as an enjoyable creative process in itself. How to use the seven elements of a synopsis to clarify your novel idea, help you focus on the scope and shape of the story, and learn secrets about your characters, voice and potential as a novelist. You’ll share a short synopsis of your story for feedback.
Session 7: Novel Openings
We’re finally there: you have two weeks to immerse yourself in the fictional world you’re creating and write the opening of your novel. We’ll look at setting your narrator’s mood as the novel opens, finding an overarching ‘voice’ that will feel comfortable over the length of a novel, and techniques to draw readers instantly into your fictional world. With your tutor you’ll also think about what next, and how to keep up momentum as a novel writer.
You’ll have a one-to-one tutorial to discuss your synopsis, novel idea, and next steps. We’ll also have a live Q&A with special guest author on Zoom (date and time TBC).
At the end of the course you’ll have everything you need – including a synopsis, first pages, expert feedback and one-to-one guidance – to progress your novel or move onto a next-level novel-writing course.