Starting to Write Your Novel

Our online creative writing course for all-comers to help you start writing your novel.

CBC photo


Feb 20 2019 - Apr 03 2019




Anna Davis




This online course for all-comers helps you kick-start your novel with teaching videos, resources, tasks and a student forum, all hosted on our secure bespoke learning platform. For a great learning package and a taste of what we have to offer at Curtis Brown Creative at an affordable price, enrol on Starting to Write Your Novel by clicking on 'Pay and Enrol' by Monday 18 February 2019.


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: MeltingThe Dinner, CheetThe 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.


This is our online creative writing course for people who want to write a novel and are looking for help with the basics. Curtis Brown Creative’s Director Anna Davis will lead you on a six-week journey into your own story – using teaching videos, notes, writing tasks and resources to help you plan all essential components of your novel, work out your plot and get started with the writing.

Starting to Write Your Novel – along with Write to the End of Your Novel and Edit & Pitch Your Novel – are our three courses designed to take you all the way through your novel, from the germ of an idea to a polished draft and pitch. They're open to all-comers, so you don't have to put your material through a rigorous selection process. And our online courses are designed for flexible study – you can take part at times to suit you and from wherever in the world you are.

This course is intended to be relevant and useful for new writers whether you're writing just for fun or taking the first steps in a more serious journey. It offers a taste of what we do at Curtis Brown Creative for those who are considering the bigger financial and time commitment needed for our longer courses. By the end of the six weeks, you’ll have built up sufficient material to use in your application if you decide to go ahead.

What does this course give you?

By the end of the Starting to Write Your Novel course you should have planned out your novel and got properly stuck into the writing.

  • You’ll get six Teaching Modules across the six weeks (see schedule below for details), all delivered online through our secure learning platform.
  • You’ll watch specially filmed Teaching Videos from Curtis Brown Creative Director Anna Davis (at least two videos per module).
  • You’ll read extensive and practical Teaching Notes from Anna, often using case studies.
  • You’ll have access to additional Resources – uploaded PDFs which are collected in a dedicated area of the learning platform to support the teaching topics and provide useful reference material for the students. These include lists of ‘writing ground rules’ and lists of recommended reading.
  • You’ll undertake Writing Tasks set by Anna plus ‘thinking’ tasks – at least two tasks per module - designed to help students explore and understand the teaching topics and progress their novels. Students will share material with each other and the Curtis Brown Creative team in the forum, and can comment on each other’s work. Often the writing tasks will relate directly to students’ novels-in-progress.
  • You’ll have continued access to all of the teaching materials after the course ends so you can refer back to them at any time to help you with your writing process.
  • Students can share work, and communicate with each other and us in the Forum. Our learning platform features separate forum spaces for each teaching unit, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. This enables students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to. (In our experience most learning platforms used by writing courses offer only one forum space, into which all discussion, tasks, uploaded teaching materials, etc, are poured, never to be found again – a kind of online bucket.)
  • We encourage students to offer positive, constructive feedback to each other in the forum as the course progresses. We’ll be taking a look at students’ homework pieces and each week an expert CBC editor will give brief written feedback on several students' work - all students will get feedback on a writing task at some stage during the course. Weekly posts to the group from Anna Davis will reinforce the lessons taught and will offer comment on students' progress in such a way as to be useful to the group in general. 
  • At course end we invite students to share – with us and fellow students – their opening (up to 3,000 words), plus a page to tell us how the story will continue. Students can obtain a detailed report (500 words) on this end-of-course material from our expert CBC editor for a fee of £100 (so you can take this course for a fee of £200 - or pay £300 to include a report on your writing when the course finishes). NB: if you're looking for one-to-one tutorials and tutor-led writing workshops as part of a writing course, do take a look at our longer, selective courses – these aren't included in Starting To Write Your Novel.

Student workload

To get the best out of this course, allow plenty of time to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing tasks and thinking tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum. It’s also important to be working on planning and starting your novel throughout the six weeks. You can watch/read the teaching materials and complete all tasks in a couple of hours per week, but ideally you should consider spending considerably longer on the materials we offer and on working on your novel. After all, that’s why you’re taking the course… At the end of the course, we ask you to post up in the forum the opening of your novel (up to 3,000 words) and a page to tell us where your plot is headed.


Wednesday 20 February – Tuesday 26 February
Introduction and Reading as a Writer

Wednesday 27 February – Tuesday 05 March
Inspiration and Ideas

Wednesday 06 March – Tuesday 12 March
Plotting, Planning and Story

Wednesday 13 March – Tuesday 19 March
Voice, Narration and Point of View

Wednesday 20 March – Tuesday 26 March
Questions of Character

Wednesday 27 March – Wednesday 03 April
Writing Your Opening

Pay and enrol

If you are purchasing this course for yourself, please click on the 'Pay & Enrol' button below. Enrolment closes at midnight on Monday 18 February 2019. 

If you would like to purchase a place on this course – or any other of our other writing courses for someone other than yourself, gift vouchers are available to buy online. Read terms & conditions here. 

Join the Course

Full participation in this online course.
PRICE £200.00

Course + Report

Full course + 500 word report on your end-of-course submission.
PRICE £300.00