Three-Month Novel-Writing Course with Christopher Wakling

The hugely popular and intensive creative writing course for 15 aspiring novelists, featuring direct input from our literary agent team, and based in Curtis Brown's offices.

CBC photo

Dates


Apr 19 2017 - Jul 13 2017

Location


London

Fees


£1,800

SUMMARY

Curtis Brown Creative specialises in creative writing courses in London and online. Our intensive Three-Month Novel-Writing Course, running from 19 April to 13 July, is designed to give aspiring novelists everything they need to make their novels fly. Author and experienced tutor Christopher Wakling will lead weekly evening workshops, teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials. We are offering one fully paid scholarship place on this course for a writer in financial hardship.

Tutors

Christopher Wakling, author

Christopher's six acclaimed novels include What I Did, The Devil's Mask, and On Cape Three Points. Born in 1970, he read English at Oxford, then worked as a farm hand, teacher and lawyer, before turning to writing full-time in 2001. As well as writing fiction, Christopher is a travel writer for The Independent. He has tutored numerous creative-writing courses for Curtis Brown Creative and The Arvon Foundation.

Anna Davis, Director

Anna is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five novels, published around the world in 20 languages: MeltingThe Dinner, CheetThe Shoe Queen and The Jewel Box.  She has worked for Curtis Brown for more than a decade as a book agent and has served on the management committee of the Association of Authors' Agents.

Overview

The Curtis Brown Creative Three-Month Novel-Writing Course takes place at our London offices – in the heart of one of the UK’s biggest literary agencies. Acclaimed author and experienced tutor Christopher Wakling will lead weekly evening workshops, teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials. And members of the Curtis Brown and C&W literary-agent team will meet with each student to give detailed feedback on their novels and discuss next steps, including industry advice. The course also features four special visiting speaker sessions in which literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W, paired with leading writers and top publishers, will talk to the students. At the end of the course, the full Curtis Brown and C&W literary-agent teams will read the openings and synopses of the students' novels, and students get to meet the agents and discuss their works-in-progress at a drinks evening.

Twenty-seven former Curtis Brown Creative students have gained book deals with commercial publishers. The school has celebrated its first Sunday Times number-one bestselling author – Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist and The Muse) – and several other students, including Nicholas Searle with The Good Liar, Kate Hamer with The Girl in the Red Coat and The Doll Funeral, and Lisa Williamson with The Art of Being Normal and All About Mia have featured in the top ten. While we can't guarantee publication or representation, we lavish our expertise on our students. The agents of Curtis Brown and C&W are hungry for new authors and actively looking for clients among our students. All workshops and visiting speaker sessions will take place in our boardroom.

The course is scheduled for evenings, so we can include participants with full-time jobs and other daytime commitments.

Applicants in financial hardship may be eligible to apply for our HW Fisher Scholarship. Find out more here.

We welcome applications from anyone with writing talent and a strong idea for a novel.

 

What does this course give you?

We think we've put together a great package here, and we're confident we're offering better value-for-money than our rivals' courses or indeed university creative-writing courses. The course is ideal for aspiring novelists who are serious about writing, and it includes dedicated time and attention from literary agents. We are selective about who we offer places to in order to keep the standards as high as possible. Students will get:

  • Weekly writing workshops led by Christopher Wakling, focusing on 3,000-word extracts from students' work. Students participate in all workshops. Each student receives two workshops centred on their novels-in-progress during the course.
  • One 25-minute, one-to-one tutorial based on their novel-in-progress with Christopher Wakling, who will read and comment on a 3,000-word extract from a student’s novel. Students can focus this tutorial on their particular concerns and questions on key issues such as how to develop their storyline, how to write good dialogue, etc.
  • One 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with Anna Davis or a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W literary-agent team. This will be based around a 6,000-word extract of the student’s novel-in-progress, plus their synopsis, and will include both detailed feedback and an industry perspective.
  • Weekly teaching sessions on key topics with Christopher Wakling.
  • Four visiting speaker sessions (two hours each), hosted by Curtis Brown Creative’s Anna Davis or Rufus Purdy, or Curtis Brown literary agent Norah Perkins. These sessions will be evening talks from Curtis Brown and C&W agents partnered with major authors and top publishing professionals.
  • A two-hour workshop on how to write pitch letters to agents.
  • Drinks with the Curtis Brown and C&W agent teams at the end of the course. Students will submit 3,000 words of their novel, plus a synopsis, which will be read by the agents prior to this meet-up.

 

Format

WEEKLY TAUGHT WORKSHOPS AND TEACHING SESSIONS
The workshops will take place on Monday or Wednesday evenings, from 7pm–9pm. Students will be asked to submit synopses and extracts from their novels-in-progress for discussion at the workshop and will receive written comments from the tutor and fellow students. This provides focused feedback and encourages students to develop their capacity to self-edit, to read as writers, and to receive and provide constructive criticism. The Monday- or Wednesday-evening sessions will also include teaching on a range of issues crucial to the writing of novels, such as characterisation, point of view and editing/rewriting.

ONE-OFF TALKS
Five further sessions will be scheduled on Tuesday evenings. From 7pm–9pm there will be four one-off talks from Curtis Brown and C&W book agents, partnering with leading writers and publishing professionals, with the opportunity for Q&As. The sessions will include industry advice from the agents and practice for the students in pitching. Anna Davis will also partner with a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W literary-agent team to lead a two-hour session on how to write pitch letters to agents.

TUTORIALS
Each student will be given a one-to-one tutorial with Christopher Wakling, scheduled for Monday or Wednesday evenings (between 6pm–7pm) for discussion of their novel-in-progress, and will be asked to consider, ahead of time, the questions and issues they wish to focus on. Christopher will read up to 3,000 words of material for each tutorial.

Students will also receive a one-to-one tutorial with a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W literary-agent team, focusing on 6,000 words of their novel-in-progress and their all-important synopsis. The agent will address the material submitted and the plan for the novel as a whole in a 45-minute meeting.

EXTRACTS TO BE READ BY AGENTS
Towards the end of the course, students will be asked to submit 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis to be shared with the full agenting teams at Curtis Brown and C&W. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance for students to share work-in-progress with our literary agents. A drinks evening then provides the opportunity for students to meet the agents and book assistants, to talk about their novels and get to know the agents in a relaxed and supportive environment, and to consider who at Curtis Brown and C&W they would like to send their novels to when they're ready to be submitted formally.

 

Student workload

At the start of the course, each student will be given two dates by which to submit extracts from their novel-in-progress (up to 3,000 words each) by email to the tutor and fellow students. These extracts will be discussed in the following Monday or Wednesday’s workshop and the student will receive written comments from each member of the group plus the tutor. (So, students submit work and have their material ‘workshopped’ twice during the course.)

The students also submit a further 3,000 words to Christopher Wakling one week ahead of their tutorial date. To get the best value from this course, we advise students to choose a different section of material from those being reviewed in the workshops. The 6,000 words sent to a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W literary-agent team for the longer tutorial (towards the end of the course) should include their opening, and should be accompanied by their one-page synopsis.

Each week the students will be given ‘homework’ tasks to prepare for the next class, related to the teaching topic scheduled. These will frequently be written exercises and may involve working with material from the novels-in-progress (for example, rewriting scenes from different perspectives, transforming sections of dialogue, etc). Students will also be asked to prepare and deliver 'elevator pitches', produce synopses for analysis in class and write sample approach letters to agents for discussion. Detailed work will be undertaken on plotting.

Each week the students will be asked to read the workshop submissions of three students and to contribute written feedback as well as to prepare their thoughts for discussion in the next workshop.

 

Schedule

Dates and details

All sessions take place from 7pm–9pm at Curtis Brown's offices.

Wednesday 19 April
Introduction, Inspiration and Reading as Writers, with Anna Davis and Christopher Wakling

Monday 24 April
Voice and point of view, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Wednesday 3 May
Story and Timelines, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Monday 8 May
Developing your protagonist, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 9 May
Visiting Speaker Session: Curtis Brown or C&W agent with a top author or publisher (TBC)

Monday 15 May
Developing minor characters, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 16 May
Visiting Speaker Session: Curtis Brown or C&W agent with a top author or publisher (TBC)

Monday 22 May
Genre and Structure, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Wednesday 31 May
Dialogue, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Monday 6 June
Description and Tone, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Half-term break

Monday 19 June
Research and Endings, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 20 June
Visiting Speaker Session: Curtis Brown or C&W agent with a top author or publisher (TBC)

Monday 26 June
Editing and Revising, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 27 June
Letters to Agents, with Anna Davis and a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W agent team

Monday 3 July
The Synopsis I, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 4 July
Visiting Speaker Session: Curtis Brown or C&W agent with a top author or publisher (TBC)

Monday 10 July
The Synopsis II, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 11 July
Conclusions, with Anna Davis and Christopher Wakling

Thursday 13 July
Drinks with the Curtis Brown & C&W literary agents

* Please note, teaching topics, speakers and dates are subject to change.

 

Fee

The course fee of £1,800 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required.

Applicants in financial hardship may be eligible to apply for our HW Fisher Scholarship. Find out more here.

 

Apply

The 15 places on this course will be awarded to those who submit the strongest 3,000-word submissions and synopsis. Please fill in the application form below.

The application deadline for this course is at midnight on Sunday 12 March. We will be in touch with all applicants by Weds 15 March.

  • Personal Details

  • Please include country code is applicable
  • eg. name@domain.com
  • We won't share this data
  • Application Details

  • No more than 150 words please....
  • State here the details of any previously published work, awards, prizes and other writing achievements
  • Names and contact details of two referees (professional, reputable figures able to provide a character reference on our request. NB they do not need to be able to speak about your ability as a writer)
  • Accepted file types: pdf, txt, doc, rtf, docx.
    Please upload your synopsis and opening chapter in one document. Only PDF, TXT and DOC files accepted, file size must be less than 8mb
  • HW Fisher Scholarship

  • I am over 18 years of age, unmarried and not co-habiting with a partner, with an annual (gross, pre-tax) income of less than £23,000* and I do not hold personal savings in excess of £5,000 OR I am married or co-habiting with a partner, with a total annual (gross pre-tax) household income of less than £30,000 and personal savings (jointly or individually) of less than £5,000.