Six-Month Novel-Writing Course With Lisa O’Donnell

With teaching sessions designed for online spaces and flexible scheduling, you can join this course wherever you live, in whatever time you have free.

COURSE DATES

Sep 09 2019 - Mar 02 2020

Online

Take this course from anywhere in the world

Selective Entry

Apply to this competitive writing course

Course Fee £2,600

Work on your novel with the experts

Overview

This novel-writing course is our ‘biggest’ online writing course – for people who are serious about writing a novel. This online course is all about flexibility, and ideal for those with busy lives or who are unable to travel to London to attend our courses.

Tutor Lisa O’Donnell – a Commonwealth Book Prize-winning author – will lead weekly online writing workshops, set weekly writing exercises and provide one-to-one tutorials where she will give direct feedback to all students on their novels-in-progress.

Via our online learning platform, you will get access to specially filmed videos tutorials and teaching notes from our CBC tutor team (listed below) on how to write a novel. Course modules will cover all aspects of the novel-writing process including key topics such as how to create memorable characters and how to develop your story.

In the eight years since we’ve started Curtis Brown Creative, over 60 of our former students have gone on to get major publishing deals for their novels. We’ve had some fantastic success stories across all genres, including online course students turned bestselling authors Jane Harper (The Dry) and Nicholas Searle (The Good Liar). You can read more about some of our other online course success stories here.

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.

Tutor

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.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

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Online Teaching Videos

Get expert advice from our guest speakers

Every other Monday new video material and teaching notes will become available, covering a range of topics such as plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and rewriting. Suzannah will set weekly homework tasks - writing exercises or topics to prepare for discussion.

Editing Your Novel

Weekly Writing Workshops

Led by Lisa O'Donnell

During the course you'll get three dedicated workshops centred on your novel-in-progress with your tutor and your group. These sessions offer in-depth feedback and are designed to help you develop your capacity to self-edit, and read as a writer.

Forum capture

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses, find your writing community

We have developed a bespoke learning platform exclusively for our students. Here you can give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and tutor.

Lisa O-Donnell

One-to-One Tutorials

Extracts of your novel will be closely reviewed by your tutor

You will receive two 45 minute, one-to-one tutorials with your tutor Lisa O'Donnell conducted over the phone or via Skype. You can share up to 3,000 words of your novel-in-progress ahead of each tutorial. Use these tutorials to address particular concerns and questions about key topics such as plotting, writing good dialogue, etc.

Writing task

Pitch Workshop

A pitch workshop with an editor

An online workshop where you will get individual feedback on your elevator pitch from an editor at a publishing house (tbc).

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First Page Workshop

Get feedback from another published author

An online workshop where you will get individual feedback on your opening page from a special guest tutor who will be a published author (tbc).

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Synopsis Advice

Get tips on how to conquer the dreaded synopsis

Get tips on how to conquer the dreaded synopsis

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Literary Agent Q&A

Online session with the literary agents

In a special session, you will be 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.

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Agent Letter Session

Get feedback on the all-important pitch letter

Post your agent-pitch letter online and get feedback from the agents at Curtis Brown and C&W, as well as tips on how to bypass the slush pile.

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End of Course Submission

Share your opening with the Curtis Brown and C&W Agents

At the end of the course all students will be invited to submit 3,000 words of their novel, plus a synopsis, which will be shared with the agent teams at CB and C&W. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance to give agents a taste of your work at this stage.

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

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. 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. Each student will receive three dedicated workshops on their novel-in-progress.

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.

Ally Wilkes

Guest Speakers

The Curtis Brown Creative tutor team offer their in-depth insights on the process of writing a novel, in specially recorded video material. A publisher will offer individual feedback on your elevator pitches and an author will offer individual feedback on your first page.

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Anna Davis


Author and Agent
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Christopher Wakling


Author
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Nikita Lalwani


Author
Jake Arnott, Author

Jake Arnott


Author
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Erin Kelly


Author

Application Process

Our selective applications process means that you will be writing your novel in a peer group of 15 students working at a high level. Many of our former students have found their tribe with us – and continue to meet up with former class-mates who have become trusted readers long after the course is over.

The course fee of £2,600 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. If you are unable to pay the full fee upfront don’t be deterred from applying, in the event that you are offered a course place we can discuss a payment plan if circumstances require. We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required.

Please upload your application via the form at the end of this page. If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk for assistance.

Course Schedule

WEEK 1

Inspiration and Reading as Writers

Monday 9 September – Sunday 15 September

With videos from Anna Davis and Chris Wakling

see more

WEEK 2

Openings

Monday 16 September – Sunday 29 September

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

see more

WEEK 3

Writing from Life

Monday 30 September – Sunday 13 October

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

see more

WEEK 4

Story, Plotting & Planning

Monday 14 October – Sunday 3 November

With videos from Chris Wakling

see more

WEEK 5

Voice and Narrative Point of View

Monday 4 November – Sunday 17 November

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

see more

WEEK 6

Planning and Research

Monday 18 November – Sunday 24 November

With videos from Jake Arnott

see more

WEEK 7

Characterisation

Monday 25 November – Sunday 8 December

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 8

Description, Tone & Style

Monday 9 December – Sunday 15 December

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 9

Dialogue

Monday 6 January – Sunday 19 January

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 10

Building Suspense

Monday 20 January – Sunday 26 January

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 11

Endings

Monday 27 January – Sunday 2 February

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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WEEK 12

Editing and Rewriting

Monday 3 February – Sunday 8 February

With videos from Jake Arnott

see more

WEEK 13

The Synopsis

Monday 10 February – Sunday 23 February

With videos from Anna Davis and a synopsis workshop with your tutor

see more

WEEK 14

Final Questions

Monday 24 February – Monday 2 March

Farewell from tutor

see more

WEEK 15

End of Course Submission

Monday 9 March

Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the Curtis Brown and C&W literary agents

see more

Ready to Apply?

Please apply with the first 3,000 words of the novel you’d like to work on during the course, and a synopsis of no more than a page (both need to be in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file in the application form). The application deadline is midnight, end of day Sunday 14th July, and we will respond to applicants by Wednesday 17th July.

Not quite ready?

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  • Personal Details

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  • Application Details

  • No more than 150 words please....
  • State here the details of any previously published work, awards, prizes and other writing achievements
  • Accepted file types: pdf, txt, doc, rtf, docx.
    Please upload your synopsis and opening 3,000 words in one document. Only PDF, TXT and DOC files accepted, file size must be less than 8mb
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