Spring is a great time to blow away the cobwebs, bring out that novel-in-progress that's been languishing in the darker corners of your mind – and get it finished, polished and out into the world. With these objectives very firmly in view, we've come up with some new courses to help you get properly done and dusted. Here's a bit more about them, along with my thoughts on how to choose which one to apply for.
Finish Your Novel
If you have at least 15,000 words of your first draft written, but are struggling to keep going, then take a look at Finish Your Novel. This eight-month online and Zoom course is divided into three sections, each headed up by a different tutor from our experienced team. The idea is to bring you three distinct teaching perspectives on your work, and a burst of new energy with each tutor change-over, plus some built-in stretches of writing time between tuition. You'll start out working with Laura Barnett, who then passes the teaching baton on to Lizzie Enfield – who then hands over to Jacob Ross. You'll get a writing workshop, a one-to-one tutorial and some intensive teaching on Zoom from each of the tutors, plus the support of a 15-strong peer group.
This course is a particularly good choice if you've already taken one of our six- or three-month Writing Your Novel courses - whether online or in London (or an elite course with a university or other creative writing school) – and are finding it difficult to sustain the writing momentum now your course is over. It's not essential to have taken another course first – but if you haven't already taken our flagship six- or three-month Writing Your Novel course, I'd suggest you check that out too.
It's often said that writing a novel is a marathon rather than a sprint – the great teaching, deadlines, feedback and clear structure of this course will help you get that first draft over the line.
The Rewrite Doctor
Great novels are made in the rewrite. Once you have a complete draft of your novel in hand, your next task is to examine it from every angle to figure out how to get the very best out of it. This can be a very dispiriting moment, but it doesn't have to be. Some years ago, I devised a complete system of editing and rewriting – called The Rewrite Doctor. I've shared this with a great many students over the years on our bestselling Edit & Pitch Your Novel six-week online course – and I'm continually told by lots of our published alumni that they still use it and find it invaluable as they move on to subsequent novels. This February I'm running a one-day Zoom course, where I'll walk a group of students through the Rewrite Doctor, get them to do some work with it, and then discuss their editing issues with them.
Apply for this course with a complete draft in hand (whether it's your first or twenty-first) to discover an editing method that will empower you to tackle this all-important stage of the process with confidence.
Edit & Pitch Your Novel – Advanced
For some years now, Edit & Pitch Your Novel has been the most popular of our online courses. At its heart are six weeks of teaching videos in which I tell you everything I know about editing your novel (including my Rewrite Doctor method featured above), plus everything I know about how to construct a compelling pitch package, as well as video tips from our team of agents at Curtis Brown. But lots of students have told us they'd like a BIGGER Edit & Pitch Your Novel course – one with live teaching sessions from editors, agents and publishers; with much more in-depth feedback on the pitch package, with a smaller and more close-knit peer group to work with, and with more time to implement the various techniques while the course is running. That course is now here! Featuring tutorials and feedback from editor-tutor Lauren Pearson and Zoom masterclasses from industry figures – including a session where I'll talk through my Rewrite Doctor.
Apply for this course with a complete draft in hand if you're looking for intensive guidance as you polish it a shine – plus how to shape up the perfect pitch package and the inside track on agents and publishers.
(Our original six-week Edit & Pitch Your Novel online course is of course still available for those who want a more concentrated experience, with instant enrolment and a much lower price point.)
I hope this summary is useful as you browse the many courses out there and make decisions about what would work best for you. And whatever decision you reach about the right way to progress your novel, I wish you confidence, stamina, the keenest editing eye, and the best of success. Happy writing and editing.