Learning to write a novel online: a surprising addiction

Writing a Novel online course student Jane Dey reflects on how the course has helped her explore different writing techniques, develop her skills, and progress with her novel in a supportive and inspiring environment.

Jay Dey
Jane Dey

My love of writing began as soon as I could read stories, and hold a pencil, but my current passion in life is to create work that other people can value and enjoy.

When I signed up for the Writing a Novel course, I was working as a Personal Assistant in classical music. My plan was to develop ideas that I had been collecting together, over the course of some time, in a supportive environment.

I can safely say the decision to enrol was one of the best I have ever made.

The course offers great tuition and constructive tips and it can also be extremely addictive! The videos files are easy to access and crammed with useful tips which really help without making you feel overloaded.

You can study as much or as little as you like each day so you can take a break and catch up at a convenient time.

I even took my laptop on holiday to Devon and managed to work in a remote cottage, next to grazing cattle and twinkling sea, with a blanket across my legs.

Fortnightly sessions cover topics such as technique and how work is published. The course addresses crucial ideas about how to engage a reader and keep them wanting more.

Thinking about what you and others enjoy reading helps you identify your interests and strengthen your own technique.

My tutor, Tom Bromley, is knowledgeable and supportive. He answers queries quickly, and as a published writer himself, Tom is able to ‘hit the spot’ with his advice.

Tips on how to structure your plot, keep your characters fresh or lace your writing with intrigue really help you keep a story moving along.

You can be writing away when a piece of advice pops into your head and you have one of those helpful, ‘light bulb moments’.

This course offers expert tuition, real-time mentoring and peer support. What more could you possibly want?

– Jane Day

The recommended reading list is brilliant because it allows you to pick and choose according to your interests. Seeing how Raymond Carver uses fewer words to express more has helped me to avoid the temptation to overwrite.

I am also enjoying novels by Nick Hornby and Sebastian Faulks.

The forums offer you a great chance to share ideas and make new friends. It is a privilege to read other participants’ work and so helpful to receive critiques of your writing.

Our forum discussions have covered everything from naming a dog, to writing about violence! Exchanging ideas online never feels ‘exposing’.

Tutors give individual feedback via podcasts or Skype, to give you an essential in-depth analysis of your work.

Studying with the Faber Academy does not have to end when you finish your course, as the post-course Alumni area allows you to continue sharing work with the others from your group.

There are also options to sign up to a mentoring scheme or join the Work in Progress course.

The path you take on the course is up to you, but the structure offers a useful map for your personal writing journey. I have sometimes written until midnight and then rewritten or rejected it all the next day, but that is fine too — the course encourages reflective learning and organic growth.

Identifying your own needs and interests as a writer helps you improve your technique and develop a unique voice. This course offers expert tuition, real-time mentoring and peer support.

What more could you possibly want?

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Meet your Guest author

Jane Dey

Jay Dey

Jane Dey lives in the South of England and has worked in health, education and the arts. She is currently developing a career as a fiction writer but has written for several professional and charitable organisations. Jane has a special interest in ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’.

More about Jane Dey

Fiction Foundations

The perfect entry point for beginner writers.

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