Three-Month Novel-Writing Course With Charlotte Mendelson
The hugely popular course, featuring direct input from our literary agent team, based in Curtis Brown's Central London offices. Includes one scholarship place.
Our intensive Three-Month Novel-Writing Course, running from 14 November 2018 to 28 February 2019, is designed to give aspiring novelists everything they need to make their novels fly. Author and experienced tutor Charlotte Mendelson will lead weekly evening workshops, teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials. And this course offers The HW Fisher Scholarship - a fully funded place for one talented writer in need of financial assistance
Charlotte has written four novels: Love in Idleness, Daughters of Jerusalem, When We Were Bad, and Almost English, all published by Picador. She has 20 years' experience as a fiction editor and publisher, and is a Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, on the Creative Writing MA course. Her first work of non-fiction, Rhapsody in Green, was published by Kyle Books in September 2016.
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: Melting, The Dinner, 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.
The Three-Month Novel-Writing Course takes place at our London offices – in the heart of one of the UK’s biggest literary agencies. Acclaimed author and experienced tutor Charlotte Mendelson will lead weekly evening workshops, teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials. The course also features four special visiting speaker sessions in which literary agents from Curtis Brown and C+W, paired with leading writers and top publishers, will talk to the students. At the end of the course, the Curtis Brown and C+W literary-agent teams will read the openings and synopses of the students' novels, and students get to meet the agents and discuss their works-in-progress at a drinks evening.
This course includes a scholarship place for one talented writer with low income - fully-funded by tax accountants HW Fisher. Click here to find out more about the scholarship and apply for it.
Fifty-one of the students who've attended our creative writing courses 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, Laura Marshall with Friend Request, and Lisa Williamson with The Art of Being Normal all having 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. All workshops and visiting speaker sessions will take place in our boardroom.
The course is scheduled for evenings to suit participants with full-time jobs and other daytime commitments. We welcome applications from anyone with writing talent and a strong idea for a novel.
What does this course give you?
This course is ideal for aspiring novelists who are serious about writing, and it includes dedicated time and attention from literary agents. We have a selective applications process in order that students will be a part of a valuable peer group operating at a high level. Students will get:
- Weekly writing workshops led by Charlotte Mendelson, focusing on 3,000-word extracts from students' work. Students participate in all workshops. Each student receives two workshops centred on their novels-in-progress during the course.
- One 25-minute, one-to-one tutorial based on their novel-in-progress with Charlotte Mendelson, who will read and comment on a 3,000-word extract from a student’s novel. Students can focus this tutorial on their particular concerns and questions on key issues such as how to develop their storyline, how to write good dialogue, etc.
- One 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with Curtis Brown literary agent Norah Perkins or Anna Davis. This will be based around a 6,000-word extract of the student’s novel-in-progress, plus their synopsis, and will include both detailed feedback and an industry perspective - this takes place in the later stages of the course.
- Weekly teaching sessions on key topics with Charlotte Mendelson, to include discussion and writing exercises (some of which may be set for homework).
- Four visiting speaker sessions (two hours each) – evening talks from Curtis Brown and C+W agents partnered with major authors and top publishing professionals. The sessions will be hosted by literary agent Norah Perkins or another member of the CB or C+W Literary-Agents teams.
- A two-hour workshop on how to write pitch letters to agents with Curtis Brown's Norah Perkins.
- Advice on how to write synopses with individual feedback from Charlotte Mendelson.
- Drinks with the Curtis Brown and C+W agent teams at the end of the course. Students will submit 3,000 words of their novel, plus a synopsis, which will be read by the agents prior to this meet-up.
WEEKLY TAUGHT WORKSHOPS AND TEACHING SESSIONS
The weekly teaching sessions will take place on Wednesday evenings, from 7pm–9pm. In the first hour, Charlotte Mendelson will cover a range of topics important to novelists, such as characterisation and narrative point of view. The second hour is the writing workshop, with the discussion focusing on three students' work per week. Students will be asked to submit synopses and extracts from their novels-in-progress one week ahead of their workshop, and also will receive written comments from the tutor and fellow students (so, students will each week be reading and giving feedback on three students' work). 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.
The four visiting speaker sessions and the pitch-letter workshop will take place on Tuesday evenings from 7pm-9pm, to include time for Q&As. At some of these visiting speaker sessions, students will be given the opportunity to practise pitching their novels to industry professionals.
The 25-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Charlotte Mendelson will take place on Wednesday evenings between 6pm and 7pm.
The one-to-one, 45-minute tutorial with literary agent Norah Perkins or Anna Davis will take place towards the end of the course – appointment times will be agreed with the students.
EXTRACTS TO BE READ BY AGENTS
Towards the end of the course, students will be given a date by which to submit their 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis to be shared with the full agenting teams at Curtis Brown and C+W. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance for students to share work-in-progress with our literary agents ahead of the drinks evening.
All sessions take place from 7pm–9pm at Curtis Brown's offices.
Wednesday 14 November
Introduction and Beginnings, with Anna Davis and Charlotte Mendelson
Tuesday 20 November
Visiting Speaker Session – Emma Finn (C&W) and Katie Greenstreet (C&W) with a publisher, hosted by Norah Perkins (CB)
Wednesday 21 November
Planning and Openings, with Charlotte
Tuesday 27 November
Visiting Speaker Session – with a CB or C+W and a publisher or author
Wednesday 28 November
Inspiration, Voice and Point of View, with Charlotte
Tuesday 4 December
Visiting Speaker Session – with Stephanie Thwaites (CB) and Celia Rees (author)
Wednesday 5 December
Developing Your Protagonist, with Charlotte
Wednesday 12 December
Plotting and Story, with Charlotte
Wednesday 9 January
Dialogue, with Charlotte
Tuesday 16 January
Developing Minor Characters, with Charlotte
Wednesday 23 January
Description and Tone, with Charlotte
Tuesday 29 January
Visiting Speaker Session – with Jessica Barry (author), hosted by Norah Perkins (CB)
Wednesday 30 January
The Synopsis I, with Charlotte
Wednesday 6 February
The Synopsis II, with Charlotte
Wednesday 13 February
Endings, with Charlotte
Half term break
Wednesday 27 February
Conclusions, with Anna Davis and Charlotte
Thursday 28 February
Drinks with the Curtis Brown & C+W literary agents
* Please note, teaching topics, speakers and dates are subject to change.
The course fee of £1,800 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. 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 Sunday 21st October at midnight. We will respond to applicants by Thursday 25th October. Make sure you include your synopsis and opening 3,000 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 email@example.com for assistance.
If you are applying for the HW Fisher Scholarship place on this course, please click here for full information and eligibility criteria, and use the form on the scholarship page for your application (rather than the form following here). The deadline for the scholarship is Sunday 21st October.