Six-Month Novel-Writing Course With Simon Wroe

The hugely popular course, featuring intensive input from our literary agent team with publishers and authors, based in Curtis Brown's Central London offices. Includes fully-funded Jane Fallon Scholarship place.

COURSE DATES

Sep 12 2019 - Mar 04 2020

London

In-person course in central London

Selective Entry

We offer places to the most talented applicants

Course Fee £2,990

Work on your novel with the experts

Overview

Our Six-Month Novel-Writing course is our ‘biggest’ London-based course for anyone with writing talent and a strong novel idea, who has decided they want to take their writing seriously.

Tutor Simon Wroe will lead weekly writing workshops; provide one-to-one tutorials on how to write a novel, and give teaching sessions on key topics such as how to create memorable characters and how to develop your story.

This creative writing course also features five special guest speaker sessions in which literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W, paired with leading writers and fiction editors, will share their experience and insights with students and answer their questions.

A unique feature of this course is the two ‘mini courses’, the first led by author Kerry Hudson, the second by Nikita Lalwani.

The course takes place in our London offices, at the heart of our business, and is scheduled for evenings to suit participants with full-time jobs and other daytime commitments. All teaching sessions, workshops and visiting speaker sessions will take place in our boardroom.

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 London course students turned bestselling authors: Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist), Kate Hamer with (The Girl in the Red Coat) and Laura Marshall ( Friend Request). Read more about the published authors who’ve studied with us in London 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.

There is also a scholarship opportunity for a talented writer of limited financial means. Bestselling author Jane Fallon has generously provided funding for one writer to attend this course in London or our online 6-month novel-writing course. Find out more about the Jane Fallon Scholarship.

 ‘Simon is a fantastic tutor who clearly spent a great deal of time preparing and had a great talent for finding each student’s strengths and weaknesses. For me, his advice was nothing short of revolutionary.’
Carmen von Rohr, former student of Simon Wroe’s on the Six-month course

Tutor

Simon Wroe, author

Simon Wroe's first novel Chop Chop was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for Desmond Elliott Prize and the winner of a Betty Trask Award. His second novel, Here Comes Trouble, was published in April 2017 and was shortlisted for the Everyman Bollinger Wodehouse prize. He writes books and arts reviews for The Economist and features for The Guardian.

Kerry Hudson, Author

Kerry Hudson's first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was in 2012 by Chatto & Windus and won the Scottish First Book Award and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, Thirst, won France’s most prestigious award for foreign fiction the Prix Femina Étranger. Her memoir, Lowborn, was published in 2019.  

Anna Davis, Director

Anna is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five acclaimed novels which have been published in twenty languages. She has been a journalist and Guardian columnist, as well as a Curtis Brown literary agent. She taught creative writing at the University of Manchester and in many other settings before founding Curtis Brown Creative in 2011.

Nikita Lalwani, author

Nikita Lalwani's first novel Gifted was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and was the winner of the Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction. Her second novel The Village was published in June 2012. Nikita was a judge for the Orwell Prize in 2013. Photograph: Bucy Neech.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

London class picture
London Workshop 2

Weekly Teaching Topics

Lively teaching sessions take place on Thursday evenings

During the first hour of the Thursday class, Simon will teach on a variety of novel-writing topics, such as characterisation and narrative point of view, with discussion, reading materials and writing exercises. Each week, Simon will set a homework task.

Hand Writing

Weekly Writing Workshops

Led by Simon Wroe

The group meets weekly, and across the course you'll get three dedicated workshops centring on material from your novel-in-progress with your tutor and fellow students (extracts of 3000 words, each time). These sessions offer in-depth written feedback and are also designed to help develop your self-editing skills.

Simon Wroe, author

Two One-to-One Tutorials

Work closely with Simon on your novel in progress

You'll get two 25 minute, one-to-one tutorials with Simon, before the Thursday class starts, based on 3,000 word sections of your novel-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your specific concerns about your writing.

Norah Perkins

A 45-minute Agent one-to-one

Get a literary agent's perspective on your novel-in-progress

Near the end of the course all students will get a 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with a Curtis Brown or C&W literary agent. The agent will read a 6,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis. They will provide detailed feedback and publishing industry advice.

London Workshop

Five Visiting Speaker Evenings

Insights and inspiration from published authors, agents and editors

In five visiting speaker sessions, literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W partner with major authors and top publishing to talk to the student group. These special sessions allow time for Q&As and some visitors like to hear the students' elevator pitches ...

Kerry H

'Mini Courses' from two Guest Authors

Get different teaching perspectives from our two guest tutors

We like to give our students the chance to hear from different author-tutors across the course: Two guest authors will each lead 3 evening teaching sessions (as listed). The first is acclaimed author Kerry Hudson; the second will be with prize winning author Nikita Lalwani.

Pitch pic

Agent letter workshop

Expert feedback on the all-important pitch letter

We'll give you the vital do's and don'ts of agent pitch letters - you'll then write your own and CB agent Norah Perkins, plus another CB or C&W literary agent will give you verbal feedback in a group workshop

Editing image

Synopsis Advice

We'll show you how to nail that tricky synopsis

We'll give you the ingredients of a great synopsis - then you'll write one to share with the group and receive individual feedback from Simon

Glasses image

Share Your Work with Literary Agents

A chance to informally show your work to our team

Ahead of the end of the course drinks session, all students will be invited to submit the 3,000 word opening of their novel, plus a synopsis, to 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 the agents a taste of your work at this stage.

Jonny Geller, agent

Drinks and networking with the agents

Attend an end of course drinks evening with Curtis Brown and C&W Literary Agents

At the end of the course you will be invited to a celebratory drinks reception with the literary agents. You'll get the chance to talk about your novel, to practice pitching, and to chat about books and publishing in an informal setting.

WORKING WITH OTHER WRITERS

We pride ourselves on the tightly-knit writing communities that are established on our courses. As well as getting feedback on extracts from your own novel during the course, we’ll be asking you to read the work of your 14 fellow students week by week, and provide constructive written comments (both in writing and at the group workshop sessions). We find this process helps students develop their own inner editor and has a hugely positive impact on their own writing. Each week three students will submit 3,000-word extracts from their novels-in-progress to be workshopped by the rest of the group and the tutor. It’ll be your turn to get the group’s dedicated workshop attention three times across the course.

New mentoring opportunity

At course end, you’ll be offered the opportunity to sign up for a brand new exclusive mentoring scheme, available only to the alumni of our selective courses. For a fee of £1,500 (including VAT), we’ll match you up with a mentor, who will be one of our team of expert tutors and editors. On three occasions across a period of 6-8 months, your mentor will read up to 10,000 words of your novel-in-progress and discuss the work with you in-depth one-to-one, for 1 hour each time – either in person (if you’re able to meet at a location designated by the mentor) or by skype – as well as giving you 500 words of editorial notes.

 

Ally Wilkes

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 £2,990 (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, we’re happy to discuss payment in instalments. We regret that we are unable to refund fees, and would suggest students make their own insurance arrangements if required. Students opting to join the mentoring scheme will be asked to pay a further £1,500 (inc VAT) before their mentoring begins (you don’t need to make a decision about that at this stage).

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 questions about the course, please email cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk for assistance.

Visiting Speakers

Read about the guests who’ll be visiting this course in five special sessions, along with a literary agent host (further visiting speakers tbc)

Norah Perkins, agent

Norah Perkins


Agent
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Jonny Geller


Agent
Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley


Author
Literary Agent, Cathryn Summerhayes

Cathryn Summerhayes


Agent
sophie

Sophie Lambert


Agent
Emma-Finn-400x400

Emma Finn


Agent
Sheila Crowley, Curtis Brown Agent

Sheila Crowley


Agent

Course Schedule

All sessions take place at Curtis Brown’s offices in London. The Thursday teaching and workshop sessions run from 7pm-9pm (with tutorials immediately prior to class – 6pm-7pm)

The visiting speaker sessions are on Tuesdays – 7pm-8.30pm

WEEK 1

Introduction

Thursday 12 September

Teaching Session with Anna Davis and Simon Wroe. Anna and Simon will welcome the group to the course, explain how the course works and share what students should do to get the most out of the three-months.

see more

WEEK 2

Inspiration and Ideas

Tuesday 17 September

Visiting Speaker Session with Cathryn Summerhayes (CB) and Lucy Foley

Thursday 19 September

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week Simon will discuss where writers get their inspiration.

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WEEK 3

Plotting and Story

Tuesday 24 September

Visiting Speaker Session with a CB or C&W agent and an author or publisher TBC

Thursday 26 September

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will give tips on how to plot and plan your story arc.

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WEEK 4

Openings

Tuesday 1 October

Visiting Speaker Session with a CB or C&W agent and an author or publisher TBC

Thursday 3 October

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will talk about what makes a good novel opening.

see more

WEEK 5

Developing Your Protagonist

Thursday 10 October

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week is all about getting inside the head of your main character: what drives them, how do you make them convincing, etc.

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WEEK 6

Narrative Point of View

Thursday 17 October

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week Simon will give guidance on narrative point of view.

see more

WEEK 7

Guest Tutor ‘Mini Course’

Tuesday 29 October

Guest Tutor Session with Kerry Hudson

Thursday 31 October

Guest Tutor Session with Kerry Hudson

see more

WEEK 8

Voice and Tone

Tuesday 5 November

Final night of the first ‘mini course’. Guest Tutor Session with Kerry Hudson

Thursday 7 November

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will discuss the different stylistic approaches to novel-writing that an author can take.

see more

WEEK 9

Developing Your Supporting Cast

Tuesday 12 November

Visiting Speaker Session with a CB or C&W agent and an author or publisher TBC

Thursday 14 November
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. It is important not to forget about the minor characters which help flesh out the reality of your story.

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WEEK 10

Dialogue

Thursday 21 November
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Dialogue can make or break a novel and good dialogue is all about authenticity.

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WEEK 11

Writing Scenes

Thursday 28 November

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will talk you through what makes a compelling and convincing scene.

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WEEK 12

Description and Setting

Thursday 5 December
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will share examples of descriptions which really work.

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WEEK 13

Writing from Life

Thursday 12 December
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. This week Simon will discuss how best to draw inspiration from real life experiences and knowledge.

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WEEK 14

The Synopsis I

Thursday 9 January
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. During week one of the synopsis workshops Simon will explain why the synopsis is so important to get right and give tips on how to do this.

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WEEK 15

The Synopsis II

Tuesday 14 January

Visiting Speaker Session with Jonny Geller (CB) with an author or publisher TBC

Thursday 16 January

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Week two of the synopsis workshops.

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WEEK 16

Guest Tutor ‘Mini Course’

Tuesday 21 January

Guest Tutor Session with Nikita Lalwani

Thursday 23 January

Guest Tutor Session with Nikita Lalwani

Thursday 30 January

Guest Tutor Session with Nikita Lalwani

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WEEK 17

Editing and Rewriting

Tuesday 4 February

Letters to Agents session – get feedback on your agent letter from two agents from C&W or CB.

Thursday 6 February
Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Simon will talk you through techniques and tips for redrafting and editing your manuscript.

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WEEK 18

Endings

Thursday 13 February

Teaching Session and Workshop with Simon Wroe. Your novel needs an ending and finding the right one to do the story justice can be tricky, Simon will help lead the way.

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WEEK 19

Drinks Reception with Literary Agents

Thursday 27 February

Celebratory evening with a chance to meet the agents from Curtis Brown and C&W.

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WEEK 20

Conclusions

Thursday 5 March

Teaching Session and Goodbyes with Simon Wroe and Anna Davis.

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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.

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