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.
Apr 24 2017 - Jul 31 2017
For a focused online course with an expert tutor, a peer-group of 15 fellow writers (selective applications process), teaching videos from the Curtis Brown Creative tutoring team, special literary agent advice days, writing workshops and one-to-one tuition, all hosted on our secure bespoke learning platform, and with flexible timing for participation from anywhere in the world in whatever time you have, apply to our 3-month novel-writing course
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-prize-winning author and experienced tutor 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 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 six 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, Lisa Williamson 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 two dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress across the course.
• Two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Lisa, delivered on the phone or by Skype (depending on student’s choice), and scheduled in consultation with you.
• 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 an array 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 day-long opportunity to get feedback from the Curtis Brown and C&W agents on the all-important pitch letter.
• Feedback on your essential one-page synopsis.
• 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 first-page workshop with Lisa O'Donnell, offering direct feedback for all students on their opening pages.
• 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.
Weekly workshop timetable:
Workshop extracts are submitted to the tutor and group on the first Monday of each week.
By Monday, one week later, students must have read the three extracts and submitted a fully annotated version of each text plus feedback.
Following this, the tutor opens up the group workshop discussion, which takes take place across 48 hours.
At the end of the 48 hours (Wednesday), the tutor closes the group workshop discussion and delivers all one-to-one written feedback to the relevant three students.
Each student will receive two dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress.
Students will also submit their synopses and first pages for feedback from Lisa.
Weekly teaching sessions
Opening on Mondays, 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, new video material and teaching notes from the CBC tutors listed below will become available to the students, and form a library of resources. Lisa will set homework tasks for each teaching module - writing exercises or topics to prepare for discussions.
Agent advice sessions
In a special day-long session, students are given the opportunity to put questions to the Curtis Brown and C&W agent teams 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, 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.
The sharing of material with the agent teams at the end of the course is informal. The agent teams will get a taste of the students' work and an opportunity to express interest in seeing the completed novel at such time as the student is ready to send it to agents formally. Students are not under any obligation to send their material to the CB and C&W agents.
Each student will receive two 30-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Lisa O'Donnell. 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 Lisa will read ahead of time. Students will also be asked to highlight for Lisa any issues they may wish to discuss and put questions to her.
Monday 24 April – Sunday 30 April
Introduction (Anna Davis)
Teaching topic 1: Inspiration and Reading as Writers (Chris Wakling)
Tuesday 2 May – Sunday 7 May
Teaching topic 2: Openings (Lisa O’Donnell)
Monday 8 May – Sunday 14 May
Teaching topic 3: Writing from Life (Nikita Lalwani)
Monday 15 May– Sunday 21 May
Teaching topic 4: Story, Plotting & Planning (Chris Wakling)
Plus briefing from Anna on Agent Q&As
Monday 22 May– Sunday 28 May
Teaching topic 5: Voice and Narrative Point of View (Nikita Lalwani)
Wednesday 25 May Agents' Q&A Day.
Tuesday 30 May – Sunday 4 June
Teaching topic 6: Characterisation (Suzannah Dunn)
Monday 5 June – Sunday 11 June
Teaching topic 7: Description, Tone & Style (Erin Kelly)
Monday 12 June – Sunday 18 June
Teaching topic 8: Dialogue (Suzannah Dunn)
Monday 19 June– Sunday 25 June
Teaching topic 9: Building Suspense (Erin Kelly)
Plus briefing from Anna on Letters to Agents online session
Monday 26 June – Sunday 2 July
Teaching topic 10: Endings (Lisa O’Donnell)
Wednesday 28 June – Letters to Agents Day
Monday 3 July– Sunday 9 July
Teaching Topic 11: The Synopsis (Anna Davis)
Monday 10 July – Sunday 16 July
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 – Lisa O’Donnell
Monday 17 July – Sunday 23 July
The Synopsis (II) – comments on 7 students’ synopses (Lisa O’Donnell)
Briefing from Anna on First Page Workshop (a chance for students to get feedback from Lisa on their first page – having had chance to rewrite or amend it in light of the course)
Monday 24 July – Sunday 30 July
First page workshop (with Lisa)
Final questions and farewell from tutor
Monday 31 July
Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the CB and C&W agent teams.
*Please note, teaching topics and dates are subject to change
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.
Applications for this course will close at midnight (GMT) at the end of Sunday 19 March. We will read all applications as quickly as possible after the deadline and will offer places to 15 applicants on the basis of the quality of their application material. We'll respond to all applications by Thurs 23 March. Please include both your synopsis and opening extract (which should be the opening of the novel you want to work on with us - up to 3000 words in a single document). If you have any questions, or if you have any problems when applying, you can email cbccourses@Curtisbrown.co.uk for help.