Relationships in Fiction – The Deep Dive
Discover how to bring relationships to life in whatever kind of story you are telling.
Crafting profound fictional relationships is a skill that transcends genre. Whether they are falling in love in a historical romance, exploring their identity in a literary novel, or working with a partner in a police procedural – no character is an island. In this four-week deep dive course, bestselling author of relationship-centred fiction Laura Barnett will help you write convincingly about love, loss and connection – and create relationships that provide a key source of conflict, tension and drama.
Moving through the circles of family, friendship and romantic love, Laura will help you identify the connections that are the most important for your protagonist, how much to show of them, and how to thread relationships through your plot. She’ll guide you through how pivotal relationships are to narrative structure – from integrating backstory and memory to navigating the highs and lows of intimacy and isolation.
By the end of the course, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the role relationships play in fiction and the tools to express their unique dynamics on the page – helping you to weave a rich tapestry of emotional connection in your own work.
Laura’s first novel, The Versions of Us (2015) was a number-one bestseller, it has been translated into 24 languages, and was shortlisted for Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards. She’s had three further books out since then: Greatest Hits (2017), which features an accompanying musical soundtrack by Kathryn Williams; Gifts (2021), a novel in short stories; and This Beating Heart (2022). Her fifth novel, Births, Deaths and Marriages, will be published in 2025. She delivered a TedX talk on originality in fiction, and worked as a writing mentor for the charity Arts Emergency. She is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Writing School. Laura has taught many novel-writing courses for CBC in London and online, and she currently mentors members of our alumni community.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
- Video modules: Work through four modules comprising teaching videos and substantial notes from Laura. Topics range from how to weave backstory into your narrative, to handling family events such as weddings and funerals, to navigating conflict between lovers, and how to write well about sex and intimacy.
- Writing tasks: Weekly writing tasks to help you explore and understand the teaching topics and progress your novel or story.
- Resources & notes: You’ll get access to extensive teaching materials, including writing prompts and a list of recommended reading.
- Professional feedback: An expert CBC editor will give brief written feedback on several of the students' practical assignments every week, with all students receiving feedback on one of their writing tasks. Students are also given the option to purchase additional end-of-course feedback from our expert editors.
- Student forum: Find your writing community on our private student forums. Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive peer-to-peer feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.
COURSE SCHEDULE & DELIVERY
Follow the course at your own pace. Our online courses are designed for flexible study – you can take part at times that suit you, wherever you are in the world. To get the best out of the course, we recommend spending four to six hours working through the notes and writing tasks each week.
Week 1Your character's circle
Week 3The 'friendship' novel
Week 4Romance, love & loss
All students will be given the option to purchase feedback on their final task from a CBC editor.
- CBC report: For an additional fee of £145, you can obtain a detailed 500-word report on your work (of up to 3,000 words) from one of our editors.
- CBC report + tutorial: For an additional fee of £240, you can obtain a 500-word report from one of our editors and have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with them to discuss your work.
GIFT THIS COURSE
Encourage your writerly friend or loved one to get creative! We have £125 digital gift vouchers available, enabling you to buy any four-week online course as a present.
Create a compelling emotional landscape for your characters – learn how to write relationships that readers can believe and invest in.