Starting to Write Your Novel
Our new online course for all-comers to help you get going on writing your novel
Jan 11 2017 - Feb 21 2017
If you’d like some expert help to get your novel off the starting block, this is the course for you. We’ll help you plan your novel and start writing. The course is open to all – simply click ‘Pay and Enrol’ by midnight on Sunday 8 January, 2017, to join. If you would like to purchase a place on one of our Starting to Write Your Novel courses in 2017 as a gift, please click on the link at the bottom of the page.
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: The Dinner, Melting, Cheet, The 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.
This is our new online course for people who want to write a novel and are looking for help with the basics. Curtis Brown Creative’s Director Anna Davis will lead you on a six-week journey into your own story – using teaching videos, notes, writing tasks and resources to help you plan all essential components of your novel, work out your plot and get started with the writing.
The course takes place on a secure online learning platform which has been specially designed and custom-built for Curtis Brown Creative. At course end the students will share the 3,000-word openings of their novels and one-page plans with each other and Anna. The most promising student will be offered a free one-to-one tutorial with a member of the Curtis Brown Creative team.
We think this is a great choice for people who consider themselves ‘beginners’ at novel-writing. It’s the only one of our courses to be open to all-comers, allowing you to get expert advice as you to try your hand at a novel without first having to put your fledgling material through the rigorous selective application process we use for our other courses. You can simply pay and enrol by midnight on Sunday 8 January, 2017, to join us. The £200 price-tag makes it an affordable way of getting support and guidance as you get going. And this online course is designed for flexible study – you can take part at times to suit you and from wherever in the world you are.
‘Starting to Write Your Novel’ is a course intended to be relevant and useful for new writers whether they’re writing just for fun or taking the first steps in a more serious journey. It offers a taste of what we do at Curtis Brown Creative for those who are considering the bigger financial and time commitment needed for our longer courses. By the end of the six weeks, you’ll have built up sufficient material to use in your application if you decide to go ahead.
Curtis Brown Creative has been running novel-writing courses since 2011, in its London offices and online. So far, 27 of its former students have landed book deals with major publishers – including Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist and The Muse), Kate Hamer (The Girl in the Red Coat), Nicholas Searle (The Good Liar) and Lisa Williamson (The Art of Being Normal). The Curtis Brown and C&W agents are always on the look-out for talented new novelists from among its student cohort.
What does this course give you?
We’re confident that we’ve assembled a great package. By the end of the course you should have planned out your novel and got properly stuck into the writing.
- You’ll get six Teaching Modules across the six weeks (see schedule below for details), all delivered online through our secure purpose-built specially designed Curtis Brown Creative Learn platform.
- You’ll watch specially filmed Teaching Videos from Curtis Brown Creative Director Anna Davis (at least two videos per module).
- You’ll read extensive and practical Teaching Notes from Anna, often using case studies
- You’ll have access to additional Resources – uploaded PDFs which are collected in a dedicated area of the learning platform to support the teaching topics and provide useful reference material for the students. These include lists of ‘writing ground rules’ and lists of recommended reading.
- You’ll undertake Writing Tasks set by Anna (at least two tasks per week) – plus ‘thinking’ tasks – designed to help students explore and understand the teaching topics and progress their novels. Students will share material with each other and the Curtis Brown Creative team in the forum, and can comment on each other’s work. Often the writing tasks will relate directly to students’ novels-in-progress.
- You’ll have continued access to all of the teaching materials after the course ends so you can refer back to them at any time to help you with your writing process.
- Students can share work and communicate with each other and us in the Forum. Our learning platform features separate forum spaces for each teaching unit, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. This enables students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to. (In our experience most learning platforms used by writing courses offer only one forum space, into which all discussion, tasks, uploaded teaching materials, etc, are poured, never to be found again – a kind of online bucket.)
- We encourage students to offer positive, constructive feedback to each other in the forum as the course progresses. We’ll be taking a look at students’ homework pieces and each week we’ll send a book to a student who’s delivered a great piece of writing in response to a task. Across the course we may publish exceptional pieces of work from students in the Curtis Brown Creative blog (with students’ prior consent only).
- At course end we invite students to share – with us and fellow students – their opening (up to 3,000 words) plus a page to tell us how the story will continue. The most promising student will be offered a free 30-minute, one-to-one tutorial with one of our agenting or teaching team (by Skype or phone). Five promising students will be offered a £200 discount off any of our longer courses (redeemable in the event that they apply for and are selected for one of our main courses). NB, if you're looking for one-to-one tutorials and tutor-led writing workshops as part of a writing course, do take a look at our longer courses – these aren't included in Starting To Write Your Novel.
To get the best out of this course, allow plenty of time to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing tasks and thinking tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum. It’s also important to be working on planning and starting your novel throughout the six weeks. You can watch/read the teaching materials and complete all tasks in a couple of hours per week, but ideally you should consider spending considerably longer on the materials we offer and on working on your novel. After all, that’s why you’re taking the course… At the end of the course we ask you to post up in the forum the opening of your novel (up to 3,000 words) and a page to tell us where your plot is headed.
Wednesday 11 January – Tuesday 17 January
Introduction and Reading as a Writer
Wednesday 18 January – Tuesday 24 January
Inspiration and Ideas
Wednesday 25 January – Tuesday 31 January
Plotting, Planning and Story
Wednesday 1 February – Tuesday 7 February
Voice, Narration and Point of View
Wednesday 8 February – Tuesday 14 February
Questions of Character
Wednesday 15 February – Tuesday 21 February
Writing Your Opening
Pay and enrol
If you are purchasing this course for yourself, please click on the 'Pay & Enrol' button below.
If you would like to purchase a place on this course – or any other Starting to Write Your Novel course in 2017 – for someone other than yourself, please click here to buy a gift voucher.