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

For an intensive course with an expert tutor, a peer-group of 15 fellow writers (selective applications process), lively participation from our literary agent team, writing workshops and one-to-one tuition, taking place in evenings in Central London, apply to the original Curtis Brown Creative 3-month novel-writing course. 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.

Guest Speakers

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Jonny Geller


Agent
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Cathryn Summerhayes


Agent
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Sophie Lambert


Agent
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Sam Hepburn


Author
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Stephanie Thwaites


Agent
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Norah Perkins


Agent
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Lisa Jewell


Author
L J

Louisa Joyner


Publisher

Overview

The 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. 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 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.

Thirty-one of the students who've attended our creative writing courses 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 to suit 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?

This course is ideal for aspiring novelists who are serious about writing, and it includes dedicated time and attention from literary agents. We have a selective applications process in order that students will be a part of a valuable peer group operating at a high-level. 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 - this takes place in the later stages of the course.
  • Weekly teaching sessions on key topics with Christopher Wakling, to include discussion and writing exercises (some of which may be set for homework).
  • Four visiting speaker sessions (two hours each) - evening talks from Curtis Brown and C&W agents partnered with major authors and top publishing professionals. The sessions will be hosted by Curtis Brown literary agent Norah Perkins or Curtis Brown Creative’s Anna Davis or Rufus Purdy.
  • A two-hour workshop on how to write pitch letters to agents with Anna Davis and Curtis Brown's Norah Perkins.
  • Advice on how to write synopses with individual feedback from Christopher Wakling.
  • 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 weekly teaching sessions will take place on Monday or Wednesday evenings, from 7pm–9pm. In the first hour, Christopher Wakling will cover a range of topics important to novelists, such as characterisation and narrative point of view. The second hour is the writing workshop, with the discussion focusing on 3 students' work  per week. Students will be asked to submit synopses and extracts from their novels-in-progress one week ahead of their workshop, and also will receive written comments from the tutor and fellow students (so, students will each week be reading and giving feedback on 3 students' work). 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.

ONE-OFF TALKS
The four visiting speaker sessions and the pitch-letter workshop will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7pm-9pm, to include time for Q&As. At some of these visiting speaker sessions students will be given the opportunity to practise pitching their novels to industry professionals.

TUTORIALS
The 25-minute one-to-one tutorials with Christopher Wakling will take place on Monday or Wednesday evenings between 6pm and 7pm.

The one-to-one 45-minute tutorial with Anna Davis or a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W literary-agent team will take place towards the end of the course - appointment times will be agreed with the students.

EXTRACTS TO BE READ BY AGENTS
Towards the end of the course, students will be given a date by which to submit their 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 ahead of the drinks evening.

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
Beginnings, 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: Sophie Lambert (C&W) with Louisa Joyner (Faber), hosted by Norah Perkins (CB)

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

Tuesday 16 May
Visiting Speaker Session: Stephanie Thwaites (CB) with Sam Hepburn (author), hosted by Norah Perkins (CB)

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

Wednesday 31 May
Dialogue, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Monday 5 June
Description and Tone, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Half-term break

Monday 19 June
Endings, Editing and Revising, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 20 June
Visiting Speaker Session: Jonny Geller with Lisa Jewell (author) hosted by Rufus Purdy (CBC)

Monday 26 June
The Synopsis I, with Christopher Wakling
Writing workshop

Tuesday 27 June
Letters to Agents, with Anna Davis and Norah Perkins (CB)

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

Tuesday 4 July
Visiting Speaker Session: Cathryn Summerhayes (CB) with Jason Arthur (Heinemann), hosted by Norah Perkins (CB)

Monday 10 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

 

This course is now closed for applications.