Six-Month Online Novel Writing Course with Lisa O’Donnell
Online teaching and flexible scheduling means you can join this course wherever you live, in whatever time you have free.
Feb 19 2018 - Jul 30 2018
This six-month online novel-writing course, led by experienced tutor Lisa O'Donnell, 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.
Lisa O'Donnell, author
Lisa O'Donnell is the author of the Commonwealth Book Prize-winning novel The Death of Bees, published by Windmill. Her second novel, Closed Doors is published by William Heinemann. Lisa won the Orange Screenwriting Prize for her screenplay The Wedding Gift and was nominated for the Dennis Potter New Screenwriters’ Award. She is currently working on her third novel.
Commonwealth Book Prize winner and Curtis Brown Creative regular Lisa O'Donnell will give direct feedback to students on their novels-in-progress via weekly online workshops, one-to-one tutorials and writing exercises. The 15 students will be selected from a broader group of applicants on the basis of quality of writing material, as demonstrated in their applications. Each course module will include specially filmed video and teaching notes on an aspect of the novel-writing process from one of 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 Lisa and their peer group.
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 literary 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 in the five years since it was established, Curtis Brown Creative has seen many students gain major publishing deals – including now-well-known authors Jessie Burton, Janet Ellis, Kate Hamer, Jane Harper and Nicholas Searle.
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?
All our courses are designed, run and taught entirely by Curtis Brown Creative and its team of author-tutors. Unlike many other creative writing schools, we don't use third party providers to supply our online courses, and we have painstakingly developed our learning platform with our design team exclusively for the use of our students. On this course you'll get, direct from us:
• Participation in weekly writing workshops with Lisa O'Donnell and your student peers, taking place in a secure group space, hosted on our exclusive Learn platform. Each student will receive three dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress across the course.
• Two 45-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Lisa O'Donnell, delivered on the phone or by Skype (depending on student’s choice), and scheduled in consultation with you.
• Bi-weekly teaching sessions on key topics. A range of our popular tutors (see Speakers section and schedule below for details) will offer their in-depth insights on a range of subjects crucial to writing novels through specially filmed teaching videos and notes. Lisa O'Donnell will set homework tasks on the teaching topics and lead discussions in our dedicated forums.
• A day-long session to get answers to your questions about writing and publishing from the Curtis Brown and C+W literary-agent teams.
• A first-page workshop with Lisa O'Donnell, offering direct feedback for all students on their opening pages.
• A day-long opportunity to get feedback from the Curtis Brown and C+W agents on the all-important pitch letter.
• The opportunity to get your 3,000-word opening and synopsis read by the Curtis Brown and C+W book agent teams at the conclusion of the course.
• A secure discussion space to share material and thoughts with your student peer group informally
• Teaching videos, notes and feedback from the course will remain available to participants after course-end
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.
Monday 19 Feb – Sunday 25 Feb
Teaching topic 1: Inspiration and Reading as a Writer (with Chris Wakling)
Mon 26 Feb – Sunday 4 March
Teaching topic 2: Writing from Life (with Nikita Lalwani)
Mon 5 March – Sun 11 March
Mon 12 March – Sun 18 March
Teaching topic 3: Openings (with Lisa O’Donnell)
Mon 19 March – Sun 25 March
Mon 26 March – Sun 1 April
Teaching topic 4: Story, Plotting and Planning (with Chris Wakling)
Mon 9 April – Sun 15 April
Mon 16 April – Mon 22 April
Teaching topic 5: Voice and Narrative Point of view (with Nikita Lalwani)
Mon 23 April – Sun 29 April
Teaching topic 6: Planning and Research (with Jake Arnott)
Mon 30 April – Sun 6 May
Teaching topic 7: Characterisation (with Suzannah Dunn)
Tue 8 May – Sun 13 May
Mon 14 May – Sun 20 May
Teaching topic 8: Building Suspense (with Erin Kelly)
Mon 21 May – Sun 27 May
Teaching Topic 9: Dialogue (with Suzannah Dunn)
Briefing re First Page Workshop
Tue 4 June – Sun 10 June
First Page Workshop (with Lisa)
Briefing from Anna re Letters to Agents Day
Mon 11 June – Sun 17 June
Teaching Topic 10: Description, Tone & Style (Guest Video: Erin Kelly)
Briefing from Anna re Letters to Agents Day
Mon 18 June – Sun 24 June
Briefing from Anna on The Synopsis (for synopsis workshop in 2 weeks)
Mon 25 June – Sun 1 July
Teaching topic 11: Endings (Guest Video: Lisa O’Donnell)
Mon 2 July – Sun 8 July
Synopsis Workshop for 8 students
Briefing from Anna re preparation of material to be read by the CB and C&W agent teams
Mon 9 July – Sun 15 July
Teaching topic 12: Editing and rewriting (Guest Video: Jake Arnott)
Synopsis Workshop for 7 Students
Mon 16 July – Sun 22 July
Farewell and next steps from Anna
Summary and Final Conversations with Lisa
Mon 30 July
Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the CB and C&W agent teams
The course fee of £2,600 (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.
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 Sun 21 January, and we will respond to applicants by Wednesday 24 January. Make sure you include your synopsis and opening 3,000 words in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file as part of the application below. Please apply with a 3,000-word opening 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.