Starting to Write Your Novel
The online writing course that helps you get your novel off the ground. With our support, you'll develop your idea, plot and plan your story, and write a confident opening.
June 5 2019 - July 17 2019
Start your writing journey
Hosted on our bespoke learning platform
Course Fee £200
+ £100 for a 500-word report
If you are starting to write a novel and are looking for help with the basics, this is the online creative writing course for you. Curtis Brown Creative’s Managing Director Anna Davis will take you on a six-week journey into your own story and show you how to plan all essential components of your first novel.
Starting to Write Your Novel is suitable for new writers, whether you’re writing fiction for fun or taking the first steps in a more serious journey. The course will give you lots of great advice on how to get going with your novel, 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 creative writing 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.
This course is the first in our novel-writing series – along with Write to the End of Your Novel and Edit & Pitch Your Novel – designed to take you all the way from the germ of an idea to a polished draft and pitch. All of 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.
Former student Mark D says of Starting to Write Your Novel: “‘I’d been toying with the idea of writing a novel for years, and tried a couple of times, but I knew I needed some guidance. The course provided the perfect ‘ground rules’ for writing a book, and in the process I also met lots of like-minded people who were in the same position as me.”
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.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
A clear path from blank page to your opening 3000 words
Work through six weekly modules containing teaching videos and substantial notes on topics from inspiration and planning to characterisation and point of view. These lessons are specially written and produced by novelist, agent and course leader Anna Davis.
Dedicated Teaching Videos
Founder, agent and novelist Anna Davis guides you through the course
Watch specially filmed teaching videos, presented by Anna Davis, featuring great tips and advice on the novel-writing process. The videos will focus on the weekly module topics, each module includes at least two videos.
Resources & Notes
Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials which are yours to keep
You’ll get access to multiple case studies, additional resources and teaching notes, including good ‘writing ground rules’ and lists of recommended reading.
The hub of our online courses, find your writing community
Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.
Custom writing exercises will help you learn practically
Weekly writing and thinking tasks will help you explore and understand the teaching topics and progress your novel. Forum posts to the group from Anna Davis will reinforce these lessons.
Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor
Students will learn to read critically as a writer by giving and receiving feedback on other students' work. An expert CBC editor will also give brief written feedback on several of the students' practical assignments every week, with all students receiving feedback on one of their writing tasks.
You can follow the course at your own pace, but to get the best out of this course, allow plenty of writing time to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum. We encourage all students to offer positive, constructive feedback to each other in the forum as the course progresses.
It’s also important to be planning and working on your novel throughout the six weeks. Ideally, we recommend spending around 8-10 hours a week working on your novel to get the most out of the course. At the end of the six weeks, we will ask you to post up the opening of your novel (up to 3,000 words) and a page to tell us where your plot is headed. 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.
For an additional fee of £100 you can obtain a detailed 500-word report on your final task (your 3,000 word opening and one page explaining where your story is going) from an expert CBC editor.
Each week students will gain access to a new module based on a practical novel-writing topic. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all six teaching topics, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.
Introduction and Reading as a Writer
Learn why writers should read as much as possible – and how to read like a writer.
Inspiration and Ideas
Where to find inspiration and ideas for your novel – and how to use them.
Plotting, Planning and Story
What level of planning and plotting is right for you and your novel?
Voice, Narration and Point of View
Deciding on how your novel is told is essential to its progress.
Questions of Character
How to create memorable characters for your novel.
Writing Your Opening
How to create that all-important opening to your novel.