Writing a Novel: the first 15,000 online course

Start your novel the right way with six months of structured learning and constructive feedback on your first 15,000 words

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 six-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 constructive feedback on your work as you write the first 15,000 words of your novel.




Writing a Novel: the first 15,000 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

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.)

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: Introduction
Meet your fellow writers and discover their reading and writing habits.
Session 2: Thinking about ideas
What’s the story behind your story?
Session 3: Honing your ideas
Taking your idea from premise to pitch, ready to start writing. 
Session 4: Perfecting your protagonist
Creating characters that grip the reader.
Session 5: Point of view overview
Are you telling the story from right viewpoint?
Session 6: Nailing your narrative
Structural problems and how to overcome them.
Session 7: The role of the reader
Drawing your readers into the world of your novel – and keeping them there.
Session 8: Researching techniques
How important is research to your writing? Interviewing to improve your novel.
Session 9: The writing process
How do different writers write? Tips to improve your own practice.
Session 10: Dialogue
Writing better speech and using it to move your story forwards.
Session 11: The publishing process
An insight into the industry, and the dos and don’ts of submitting your manuscript.
Session 12: Rewriting and revising
How editing your book can be as important as the writing (and as creative).
Writing time (4 weeks)
Private time to revise your novel so far and/or add up to 5,000 extra words 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.


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
  • Exclusive videos from masters of novel writing and fiction
  • 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
  • Detailed tutor feedback report at the end of the course

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)

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.

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.

This is a Faber Academy course, so you’ll need to book through their website. You’ll need to send them:

  • An example of your fictional prose writing (approximately 1,000 words). This does not have to be from your proposed novel
  • A brief outline of your novel idea (250-750 words) — include details about character, setting and events, and a working title if you have one
  • The title of the novel you’d recommend to another writer, and why (approximately 200 words)

You can also include a cover note, detailing your writing experience, and what you hope to gain from the course.

What our students say...

The real and great benefit of doing the Writing a Novel course and discussing issues with Tom Bromley is that he is bang up to date and in touch with what readers really want.


What our students say...

I’m excited for the alumni area. Clearly, when I was deciding which course would be the best for my money, I made the right decision signing up here. Everything has been the best — my tutor Emily, my fellow students, the system — and I did not even expect such great post-course opportunities!


What our students say...

It’s quite amazing how this course has made me ‘see the light’ and has completely upturned the way I was seeing and structuring my story.


What our students say...

I have been looking all my writing life for just the kind of detailed, attentive advice tutor Tom Bromley provided in his feedback on my novel — and it is just what I need.


What our students say...

The online Writing a Novel course gets 10 stars for flexibility and user-friendliness, but even more for thoughtful structuring and teaching. I can’t quite believe how far I’ve advanced.


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