Writing a Novel

The course

Because there’s no better time to write that novel.

Do you have a great idea for a novel but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’ve started a novel but got stuck with creating a plot or developing your characters?

This eight-month online course, run by our partners at the Faber Academy, will help you hone your idea, plan your plot and bring your characters to life. You’ll work in a small group of writers and will receive regular constructive feedback from your peers and your tutor on your first 15,000 words.

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

Writing a Novel is an advanced course, designed for people who have gained some experience in writing fiction and are ready to begin the serious work of writing a novel. The course is suitable if you:

  • Write fiction and would like to broaden your palette of techniques
  • Have completed a beginners’ fiction course or are stuck in the middle of a novel
  • Are keen to master structure, characters, viewpoint, dialogue and research
  • Would like to assess your potential for working in long-form fiction
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Your tutor will introduce you to the skills and techniques that will help you test your novel idea, plan your story and chapters, and guide you as you start writing.

As you work through the sessions, you’ll develop the first 15,000 words of your novel while working within a supportive community of fellow writers keen to share their experiences with you.

Session 1: Introductions – Meet your fellow writers and discover their reading and writing habits.

Session 2: Beginnings – Honing your novel and opening pages.

Session 3: Character – Creating characters that grip the reader.

Session 4: Voice – What is your writing voice and how will you explore it in this novel?

Session 5: Viewpoint – Are you telling the story from right viewpoint?

Session 6: Structure – The essentials of structure and how to plot your story.

Session 7: Dialogue – Writing better speech and using it to move your story forwards.

Session 8: Description – Drawing your readers into the world of your novel – and keeping them there.

Session 9: Research – Using research to add realism and authenticity to your novel.

Session 10: Using scenes – Learn how to structure scenes and use writing tools and techniques for emphasis and pace.

Session 11: Foreshadowing – How does foreshadowing work and how can you use it to draw your reader in right from the start?

Session 12: Revising and Editing – How editing your book can be as important as the writing (and as creative).

Session 13: The Publishing Process – An insight into the industry, and the dos and don’ts of submitting your manuscript.

Session 14: Next Steps (4 weeks) – Private time to revise your manuscript and synopsis in preparation for submission to your tutor for final feedback. The forums are open for discussion and peer support.

At the end of the course you will receive a detailed one-to-one written feedback report from your tutor, considering your story ideas, writing, research, suitability for market and suggested steps to completion.

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
  • Contribute to an anthology of student work sent out to literary agents (Novel and Finish Your Draft courses only)

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

Lee Weatherly

Lee Weatherly

YA World Maker

Lee Weatherly (L.A. Weatherly) has written more than 50 books for children and young adults, including the bestselling Angel series, and is published in 20 different languages. She’s passionate about guiding new writing talent and has worked as a mentor across many projects.

More about Lee Weatherly

Peter Benson

Peter Benson

Fiction Supremo

Peter Benson has published eleven novels, several of which have been award-winning. He has also written short stories, poetry, screenplays, journalism and advertising copy. Peter has taught creative writing at the Arvon Foundation and the National Writing Centre of Wales, as well as several Universities.

More about Peter Benson

Mandy Byatt


Tessa Girvan


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