Writing Romance - online course. Woman sitting in deckchair writing.

Start Writing Fiction

Learn all the creative writing basics you need to write successful fiction. Suitable for new writers, and as a back-to-basics refresher for those with more experience.

Always wanted to write but never given yourself the opportunity? Started writing a novel but not got past chapter 1? Avid writer but feel you’ve reached a plateau? This course will give you the tools to get creative, beat writer’s block, and identify your potential as an author of short stories and novels.

Over 6 weekly classes you will:

  • Explore your creativity and find out how to get ideas out of your head and onto the page.
  • Get more professional about your writing, with weekly deadlines and effective ways to establish long-lasting writing habits.
  • Study how to write more effective characters, settings, story structure and other essential techniques.
  • Share your ideas and writing with a small group of fellow writers, and a moderator and tutor.
  • Hone your editorial eye and self-judgement as you learn to critique your writing.
  • Produce a short story or the first chapter of a novel by the end of the course.

This is not a video course, and requires you to put in 5-7 hours work in our online classroom at a time to suit you during the week. You’ll study in a group of less than 20 fellow writers, with a dedicated moderator and experienced tutor.

Course Director

At the end of the course you will be eligible for a Certificate of Completion.

As you work through the weekly classes, you’ll develop your creative writing skills while working within a supportive community of fellow writers keen to share their experiences.

Week 1: Set Good Writing Habits
What kind of writer are you and how do you develop a daily writing practice? Ways to tap into creative inspiration and take ideas from your head and onto the page. You’ll experiment with automatic writing and story-prompt exercises, and post your first creative piece to a forum for your fellow writers to read and feedback on.
Week 2: Create Memorable Characters
Compelling characters make good fiction. This week we’ll look at ways to get to know your characters better and experiment with techniques that help to engage readers. You’ll come up with characters based on photos, your memories and observation, interrogate your fictional protagonists until they come to life, then post a longer character piece to workshop with your fellow writers.
Week 3: Play With Viewpoint
Who is telling this story? You’ll explore options for writing first-person (‘I’) and third-person (‘he/she/they’) narrators, and experiment with second-person (‘you’) to find out which voice you feel comfortable writing. Looking at the different effects, you’ll find ways to generate story ideas and polish one longer piece of writing to workshop with the group.
Week 4: Build A Storyworld
How to create settings that lend atmosphere to your fiction and transport your reader through time and space. You’ll experiment with using your senses, precise observation and visual prompts to create different emotional responses, and write the opening of a story to share with the group.
Week 5: Shape Your Stories
Thinking about beginnings, middles and ends, the different shapes a story can take, and simple ways to develop plot and pace your writing. You’ll try some flash fiction then develop a longer piece to workshop with your fellow writers.
Week 6: Produce A Final Submission
You’ll apply the techniques you have learned through the course to write a final longer piece of up to 3,000 words. You might rework a favourite piece from an earlier class, develop a short story or start the first chapter of a novel based on what you’ve learned. There are writing warm-ups to get the creative juices flowing, practical ways to beat writer’s block, and editing tips to help you meet your final deadline.


You’ll learn in the Professional Writing 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 (20 or fewer) so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the sessions.

You’ll learn from:

  • Short audio and video files from your course tutor, writers or other industry experts
  • Tutor guidance
  • Online lecture notes and practical writing prompts and exercises
  • Directed reading lists
  • Online peer critiquing from other participants in the group
  • The assistance of a group moderator
  • The support of an online community and virtual classroom
  • A dedicated writing resources area, which is regularly updated

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
    • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher

*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 our alumni

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

  • Rejoin your classmates on a private forum, together with access to an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
  • Meet alumni from other courses and groups and share your writing for feedback
  • Join discussions about reading, writing and ideas
  • Retain access to our online resources area, which we update with interesting and informative links
  • Chat with other people in our online alumni chatroom. We also host live chats with guest tutors here

At the end of the course I looked back at the previous classes and realised how much I’ve learned. I’ve found imaginative ways to rework a story and concept, more interactive ways to write about settings, the confidence to pursue ideas and an ability to switch from one writing style to another. This is a turning point in my writing.

Course participant, 2020