Kickstart Your Novel

Take your fiction to the next level and develop the technical skill and narrative momentum you need to really get stuck in to a novel

Have you always wanted to write a novel but you’re not sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve already started writing and you need some help developing it? This 8-week online course, run by our partners at Faber Academy, will help you explore your novel idea and experiment with different writing techniques. You’ll work in a small, group of writers with an expert tutor to guide you through the process. During the course, you’ll have regular group Zoom sessions with your tutor, plus a live Q&A with a special guest author, and a one-to-one tutorial at the end of the course to discuss your story idea and synopsis with your tutor.


Start date: 6 June 2022
Duration: 8 weeks
Skill level: Intermediate
Session length: Weekly (final session lasts a fortnight)
Sessions: 7
Price: £495 (inc. VAT where applicable)


Kickstart Your Novel is an intermediate level course, designed for people who have some writing experience. The course is suitable if you:

  • Have completed the Faber Academy Beginners’ Fiction course or equivalent, or have some previous writing experience
  • Need the discipline of deadlines, together with a carefully structured approach to developing your novel idea
  • Are keen to further develop your writing techniques
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Each weekly session explores a different topic and includes reading and writing exercises designed to help you develop a range of creative, practical and critical skills in writing a novel. You’ll explore how novel writers use techniques including character, point of view and tense, story and structure, and work towards producing the first chapter of a novel and synopsis. In each session, you’ll collaborate with a close-knit team of fellow writers to share ideas and feedback on each other’s work. You’ll also receive detailed feedback on your synopsis from your tutor in a live one-to-one tutorial via Zoom.

Session 1: Ideas and inspiration
In this opening session, we’ll look at where writers get their ideas and which types of ideas work best in the long form of a novel. There are practical ways to test whether your idea will sustain a full work of fiction, plus exercises to get your fiction juices flowing and help you assess which of your ideas are worth developing.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 2: Character is plot
We’ll focus on characterisation and those first steps in developing a protagonist your reader will care about, with practical exercises to help you uncover plot from character.
Session 3: Point of view and tense
In this session we’ll look at two of the most common questions new novel writers ask, and try out first person and  third, present tense and past. We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, and work out which are right for this particular story.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 4: Story and structure
We’ll focus on some of the basics of plotting and try out practical techniques novelists use  to stitch together their narratives. We’ll also explore how much – and how little – other novel  writers plan before getting stuck in.
Session 5: Write your synopsis
What is a synopsis and why do you need one at this early stage of writing? In this session we’ll  look at the role of the synopsis as a touchstone at different stages in the novel-writing process,  and try out formulas that work.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 6: Your opening pages
Why the first line, paragraph and page are so important for the novel writer. We’ll look at how different writers use their opening pages to set out what their novels are about and why the reader should care enough to read on, before you work on your own opening pages.

One-to-one tutorial with the tutor to discuss your story idea, synopsis and next steps.

Session 7: You the novelist
Two weeks of quiet writing time as you focus on your final assignment: applying the ideas and techniques you have explored through the course to write the opening chapter (or sample) of your novel idea.

You’ll learn in Faber Academy’s online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can balance your learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of fellow learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the sessions. Each group is limited to 15 students or fewer.

You’ll learn from:

  • Videos, podcasts and reading suggestions from course director, Tom Bromley
  • Practical writing exercises to help you experiment and practise your skills as you work on your novel
  • One-to-one tutor discussions on Zoom
  • Guided discussions with your group
  • Group webinars with your tutor on Zoom
  • The opportunity to share your work and give and receive feedback from fellow writers

You’ll need:

  • 5-7 hours per week to work through the course
  • A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
  • A laptop or computer* with:
    • A reliable broadband internet connection
    • Speakers or headphones
    • The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
    • Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
    • Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
    • QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free

*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.

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

This is a Faber Academy course, so you need to book through their website.

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Price: £495 (inc. VAT where applicable)
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