Work in Progress

Find the focus to move your novel forward by working in a supportive group of writers, with a great tutor to keep you on track

Have you started a novel but are struggling to reach the end? Or maybe you have a first draft and need help with giving it the final polish it needs? This one-year online course, run by our partners at the Faber Academy, will help you hone your writing skills and find the discipline to complete your draft. You’ll work in a small group of writers and will receive constructive feedback on your writing, as you work towards finishing your book.

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Start date: 24 September 2018
Duration: 12 months
Skill level: Advanced
Session length: Monthly
Sessions: 12
Price: £1,200 (inc. VAT where applicable)



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Tom
Bromley
Tutor
Paula
Winzar
Moderator

Work in Progress is an advanced course, designed for people who have at least 15,000 words of a novel and want to get to the end, or have a first draft that needs the right environment to become a second.

The course is suitable if you:

  • Have completed the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course or equivalent, or have written the first 15,000 words of your novel
  • Need the discipline of deadlines, together with a carefully structured approach to finishing your novel
  • Are keen to further develop your writing techniques
  • Would like to broaden your knowledge of topics including research, the publishing industry and approaching agents
  • Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
  • Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

Try a free course session

If you’re curious about how Faber Academy’s online writing courses work, you can try a free taster session.

It shows you what the Faber Academy online classroom looks like, how the courses are set up, and gives you the chance to read, watch and listen to a sample of learning materials.

To try your taster session, please get in touch and we’ll send you a link.

When you do this we’ll also sign you up to our newsletter. We never share your details with other people and we’ll only get in touch once in a while to tell you about nice things – such as news, events, competitions and offers. (You can unsubscribe if you decide it’s not for you.)

Each monthly session explores a different topic and includes reading and writing exercises designed to help you broaden your knowledge and hone your skills.

You’ll write 5-7,000 new or revised words a month, which you’ll share with your group and discuss during a monthly webinar with your tutor, together with reading each other’s novels in progress and giving – and receiving – detailed and constructive written feedback.

You’ll receive at least three detailed tutor reports on your work in progress over the year, plus three one-to-one Skype tutorials with your tutor.

You’ll also have a monthly book club, with novels chosen by your tutor to match each session’s topic. The novels cover many genres and are designed to show you how different novelists approach their writing and help you to read, analyse and discuss them from the perspective of a writer.

The course has been designed to follow a set monthly program, with deadlines to keep you focused and spur you on. A typical session includes:

Day 1: Session opens

Your tutor introduces the month’s topic and the recommended reading and writing exercises, including the novel you’ll read for your book club.

Days 2–20: Writing your novel

You’ll be hard at work on your novel, but will keep in touch with your group on the online forums and chatroom.

Day 21: Deadline

You’ll share the latest 5–7,000 words of your novel with your group, by posting it to the online forum.

Days 21–26: Giving and receiving feedback

You’ll read and critique your fellow writers’ latest work and receive constructive feedback on your novel in progress in return.

Days 23–26: Individual tutor discussions

Each month, your tutor will read and give feedback on at least three people’s work. You’ll also each get three one-to-one Skype tutorials over the duration of the course.

Day 27: Group discussion guided by your tutor

Your group will join your tutor for a webinar discussion where they’ll sum up what you’ve covered in the session, answer your questions and introduce the next month’s topic.

 

Session 1: Tell us your story
You’ll meet the writers in your group and get to know each other’s stories so far. You’ll also look at the art of giving good critical feedback and will have your first one-to-one Skype call with your tutor.
Session 2: Better description — place
You’ll explore the four secrets to sharpening up description in your novel: making it more specific, using the senses, and adding colour and movement.
Session 3: Better description — body language
A look at the importance of non-verbal communication in your novel, and how to write better body language so that your characters do more than raise their eyebrows, nod and smile.
Session 4: Language and rhythm
What are the effects of language and rhythm on the writing in your novel? You’ll look at vocabulary, sentence and paragraph structure, and how this can be used for effect and to help you change pace.
Session 5: Texture
We’ll look at the contrast between dialogue and description, and how they can be used to slow down or speed things up.
Session 6: Chapter ends and beginnings
How do you grab a reader at the start of a chapter? And should you leave things on a cliffhanger, or work in more subtle ways?
Session 7: Getting (un)stuck
There are times when you might hit a brick wall, experience writer’s block or succumb to procrastination. We’ll look at tackling some of these issues and ways of keeping your writing fresh. You’ll have your second one-to-one Skype call with your tutor, to take stock of your progress so far.
Session 8: Preventing soggy middles
You’ve got a great beginning for your novel, and you’ve got a great end. But how do you avoid the middle of your book sagging, like a badly made cake? We’ll focus on that in this session.
Session 9: Structuring your chapters and ionsions
What is the ideal length of a chapter? What is the effect of making chapters shorter or longer? What are the benefits of dividing the material up into wider sections? You’ll use the material you’ve written so far to experiment with this.
Session 10: Brilliant ends
What’s the best way to conclude a story? How much resolution satisfies the reader? We’ll consider these questions in this session to give you time to think about them before you reach the end of the course (and your novel).
Session 11: The secret of good editing
We’ll focus on the difference a good edit can make to your novel, with lots of tips and practical techniques.
Session 12: Getting published
Once you’ve got your final manuscript, what next? We’ll take a look at the experiences of various writers as they made the jump from writing their novel to getting published, and take advice from an agent, publisher and self-published author. This session will also include a final one-to-one Skype chat with your tutor.

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.

As this is an advanced course, 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 over phone or Skype
  • Guided discussions with your group
  • Live chatroom sessions with your group and tutor
  • 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
  • Contribute to an anthology of student work sent out to literary agents (Novel and Work in Progress courses only)

This is an advanced course and we want you to get the best learning experience, so you’ll need to apply for your place. This helps us to assign you to the right group, so that you’re all working together at the same level.

As this is a Faber Academy course, priority is given to people who’ve taken the Writing a Novel course, but you can also apply if you’ve written the first 15,000 words of your novel. You’ll need to book through the Faber Academy website and send them:

  • A covering letter, detailing your writing experience, and what you’re looking to get from the course
  • A synopsis of your novel
  • The first 5,000 words of your novel

Please note that normal Faber Academy alumni discounts do not apply to this course.

What our students say...

WIP is really good for learning the craft, redefining how we write and how we make it better i.e. writing with more awareness of different aspects of good writing. The peers are a great bunch of writers. The first session, Tom put me in a group with two other YA writers to feedback on each others’ writing, then he cycles us in subsequent sessions so we get to review the work of all the other peers in the group by the end of the course. It’s such a supportive group and worth every pound.

Dawn

What our students say...

I couldn’t recommend PWA, Faber Academy and Tom Bromley highly enough. Not only have they taught me how to improve my writing, but the supportive community of fellow writers and the feedback they give is absolutely amazing.

Katherine

What our students say...

I really appreciate the support and guidance from Tom and the group. This course keeps me opening the laptop.

Debbie

What our students say...

It’s so good to immerse myself not just in my story, but the stories of the other participants. Our stories feel like living, breathing organisms that we’re gradually coaxing into life. Rather like the plants my teenage protagonist is learning to care for in the allotment on his estate.

Fiona

Ready to start writing?

Price: £1,200 (inc. VAT where applicable)
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