Three-Month Online Novel-Writing Course

With teaching sessions designed for online spaces and flexible scheduling, you can join this course wherever you live, in whatever time you have free.

CBC photo

Dates


Nov 13 2017 - Mar 12 2018

Location


Online

Fees


£1,600

SUMMARY

This three-month online novel-writing course, led by acclaimed author Nikita Lalwani, brings together all the ingredients of our successful London-based novel-writing courses to those unable to attend sessions at our offices. We welcome applicants from different countries and timezones – this course is incredibly flexible time-wise and it doesn’t matter how many hours ahead or behind the UK you are.

Tutors

Nikita Lalwani, author

Nikita Lalwani's first novel Gifted was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and was the winner of the Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction. Her second novel The Village was published in June 2012. Nikita was a judge for the Orwell Prize in 2013. Photograph: Bucy Neech.

Guest Speakers

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Jake Arnott


Author
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Anna Davis


Author and Agent
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Suzannah Dunn


Author
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Erin Kelly


Author
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Lisa O'Donnell


Author
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Christopher Wakling


Author

Overview

Acclaimed author and experienced tutor Nikita Lalwani will give direct feedback to students on their novels-in-progress via weekly online workshops, one-to-one tutorials and writing exercises. Each course module will include specially filmed video and teaching notes on an aspect of the novel-writing process from one of the seven authors that make up our CBC tutor team. Students will access course notes and videos on our new, purpose-built, online learning platform, where they'll also share their work and take part in forum discussions with Nikita and their peer group. The 15 students on this course will be selected from a broader group of applicants on the basis of quality of writing material, as demonstrated in their applications.

Our course features live Q&As and advice on pitching with the full Curtis Brown and C+W literary-agent teams – something we believe to be unique in the online-learning arena. And the agents from both companies will read the openings and one-page synopses from our students at the end of the course.

Our online creative writing courses are all about flexibility, and are ideal for those with busy lives or who are unable to travel to London to attend our courses.

Curtis Brown and C+W have a reputation for launching new writers in a competitive publishing environment, and for developing successful writing careers. And 34 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 Jane Harper with The Dry, Nicholas Searle with The Good Liar and A Traitor in the Family, 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.

Applicants of limited financial means may be eligible to apply for The Scrivener Scholarship. For more information about this, please click here.

We welcome applications from anyone with talent, passion and a strong idea for a novel. Please submit the opening 3,000 words of the novel you want to work on during the course, plus a one-page synopsis giving us a sense of where your novel is heading.

 

What does this course give you?

Our online novel-writing course is designed, run and taught entirely by Curtis Brown and tutor Lisa O’Donnell, with participation from the C&W agency. All students will get:

  • Weekly writing workshops with Nikita Lalwani and your student peers, taking place in a secure group space, hosted on a tried-and-tested educational online platform.
  • Two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Nikita, delivered on the phone or by Skype (depending on student’s choice), and scheduled in consultation with you.
  • Weekly teaching sessions on key topics with Nikita, with video material, and homework to include writing exercises, discussion and preparing synopses.
  • A first-page workshop offering direct feedback for all students on their opening pages.
  • Feedback on your essential one-page synopsis.
  • A day-long session for dialogue and Q&As with the Curtis Brown and C+W literary-agent teams.
  • A day-long opportunity to get feedback from the Curtis Brown and C+W agents on the all-important pitch letter.
  • The opportunity to have your 3,000-word opening and synopsis read by the Curtis Brown and C+W literary-agent teams at the conclusion of the course.
  • A secure discussion space to share material and thoughts with your student peer group informally.

 

Format

Weekly workshopping of students’ novels
Each week, three students will be asked to submit 3,000-word extracts from their novels-in-progress to a private online discussion space, and will receive comments from the tutor and fellow students (both private, one-to-one comments and comments in the group discussion space). 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.

Weekly workshop timetable
Workshop extracts are submitted to the tutor and group each Monday. By the following Monday, students must have read the three extracts and submitted their comments and a fully annotated version of each text to Curtis Brown Creative. Following this, the tutor opens up the group workshop discussion, which takes take place across 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours (on Wednesday morning), we close the group workshop discussion and deliver all one-to-one written feedback to the relevant three students.

Weekly teaching sessions
Beginning each Monday morning, the teaching sessions will cover a range of issues crucial to the writing of novels, such as plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and rewriting. As the course progresses, we will post video material and teaching notes, which will form a library of resources available only to this student group, and Nikita will lead the teaching sessions.

Agent advice sessions
In a special day-long session (date to be confirmed), students will be given the opportunity to put questions to the Curtis Brown and C+W literary agents in the discussion space, and to gain advice on how to navigate the choppy waters of the publishing industry.
In a further special day-long session (date to be confirmed), Curtis Brown and C+W agents will give feedback to the students on their agent-pitch letters and show them how to bypass the dreaded slush pile.

Individual tutorials
Each student will receive two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Nikita. These will be conducted over the phone or via Skype, and will each be based on 3,000 words from the novel-in-progress, which Nikita will read ahead of time. Students will also be asked to highlight for Nikita any issues they may wish to discuss and put questions to her.

 

Student workload

At the start of the Three-Month Online Novel-Writing Course, each student will be given two dates by which to upload extracts from their novel-in-progress (up to 3,000 words each) to a private discussion area on our course website. These extracts will be discussed by the tutor and fellow students a week later in the workshop – and each student will receive both a full annotation of their work as well as detailed comments from the group. (So, students submit work and have their material ‘workshopped’ twice during the course.)

Students will also be given two dates to submit extracts of up to 3,000 words plus their questions and concerns in readiness for their one-to-one tutorials with Nikita.

Students will be given a ‘homework’ exercise each week. This will relate to the teaching topic scheduled and could be anything from a writing task to a reading requirement.

At the start of each week, students will be asked to read the workshop submissions of three students and to contribute an annotated version of the text to their peers as well as to feed their comments into the discussion space.

During the course, students will also be asked to prepare pitch letters and one-page synopses for discussion and feedback from the agents.

Students will be asked to contribute to frequent online discussions concerning the teaching topics, the work of other students as well as their own work, and Q&A sessions with the agent teams.

At the conclusion of the course, students are invited to submit the 3,000-word opening of their novel plus one-page synopsis to be read by the  Curtis Brown and C+W literary agents.

This writing course is designed to be flexible. Students can go on- and offline at times to suit them throughout the period when workshops and discussions are open. Once a session starts, students will have access to the new content, and can act on this in their own time.

 

Schedule

Monday 13 November – Sunday 19 November
Introduction (Anna Davis)
Teaching topic 1: Inspiration and Reading as Writers (Chris Wakling)

Monday 20 November – Sunday 26 November
Teaching topic 2: Openings (Lisa O’Donnell)
Writing workshop

Monday 27 November – Sunday 3 December
Teaching topic 3: Writing from Life (Nikita Lalwani)
Writing workshop

Monday 4 December – Sunday 10 December
Teaching topic 4: Story, Plotting & Planning (Chris Wakling)
Writing workshop

Monday 11 December – Sunday 17 December
Teaching topic 5: Voice and Narrative Point of View (Nikita Lalwani)
Writing workshop

Monday 18 December – Sunday 24 December
Teaching topic 6: Characterisation (Suzannah Dunn)
Writing workshop

Christmas break

Monday 8 January – Sunday 14 January
Teaching topic 7: Description, Tone & Style (Erin Kelly)
Writing workshop

Monday 15 January – Sunday 21 January
Teaching topic 8: Dialogue (Suzannah Dunn)
Writing workshop

Monday 22 January – Sunday 28 January
Teaching topic 9: Building Suspense (Erin Kelly)
Writing workshop

Monday 29 January – Sunday 4 February
Teaching topic 10: Endings (Lisa O’Donnell)
Writing workshop

Monday 5 February – Sunday 11 February
Teaching Topic 11: The Synopsis (Anna Davis)
Writing workshop

Half-term break

Monday 19 February – Sunday 25 February
Teaching topic 12: Editing and Rewriting (Jake Arnott)
Briefing on end of course submission to agents (Anna Davis)
The Synopsis (I) – comments on 8 students’ synopses – Nikita Lalwani

Monday 26 February – Sunday 4 March
The Synopsis (II) – comments on 7 students’ synopses – Nikita Lalwani

Monday 5 March – Sunday 12 March
Final questions and farewell from tutor
Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the Curtis Brown and C+W literary agents.

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

 

Fee

The course fee of £1,600 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. Successful applicants who have concerns about being able to pay the fee in full at the start of the course should email CBCcourses@curtisbrown.co.uk.

We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required.

Applicants of limited financial means may be eligible to apply for The Scrivener Scholarship. For more information about this, please click here.

 

Apply now

Please apply with the first 3,000 words of your novel, and a synopsis of no more than a page. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 1 October, and we will respond to applicants by Friday 6 October. Make sure you include your synopsis and opening in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file as part of the application below. Please apply with a sample of the novel you would like to work on during the course. If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk for assistance.

  • 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
  • The Scrivener 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 [or equivalent] and I do not hold personal savings in excess of £5,000; I am over 18 years of age, married or co-habiting with a partner, with a total annual (gross, pre-tax) household income of less than £30,000 [or equivalent] and personal savings (jointly or individually) of less than £5,000