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Three-Month Novel-Writing Course

Our flagship writing course, featuring direct input from our literary agent team, based in Curtis Brown's Central London offices.

COURSE DATES

Sept 07 2020 - Nov 30 2020

London

In-person course in central London

Selective Entry

We offer places to the most talented applicants

Course Fee £1,900

Work on your novel with the experts

Overview

Our Three-Month Novel-Writing course is aimed at talented writers who want to work intensively on their novel with the support of an expert tutor and a  strong peer group – and who also want to learn how to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of the publishing industry.

Acclaimed author Charlotte Mendelson 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 four 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.

The course takes place in our central London offices 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 80 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.

‘Charlotte is pure gold: utterly intuitive, responsive to every nuance in the room, overflowing with writing tips, exercises, advice and recommended readings.’
Mary Anne Butler, former student of Charlotte Mendelson’s on the three-month course

Tutors

Charlotte Mendelson, Author

Charlotte has written four novels: Love in IdlenessDaughters of JerusalemWhen We Were Bad, and Almost English, all published by Picador. She has 20 years' experience as a fiction editor and publisher, and is a Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, on the Creative Writing MA course. Her first work of non-fiction, Rhapsody in Green, was published by Kyle Books in September 2016.

Jennifer Kerslake, CBC Senior Manager

Jennifer is Senior Manager for Courses and Operations at Curtis Brown Creative. She was previously an editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the literary imprint of the Orion Publishing Group. In her time there, she worked with authors including Costa-shortlisted Elisa Lodato, Stella Prize-winning Heather Rose, Leila Aboulela, Francesca Jakobi, Chloë Mayer, Shannon Leone Fowler and Haleh Agar. She is passionate about nurturing new voices and excited to be part of CBC’s creative and dynamic team.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

Weekly Teaching Topics

Lively teaching sessions take place on Wednesday evenings

During the first hour of the weekly Wednesday class Charlotte Mendelson 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, Charlotte will set a homework task.

Weekly Writing Workshops

Led by Charlotte Mendelson

The writing workshops take place in the second hour of Charlotte's weekly class. During the 12 weeks of the course, you'll get two 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 editing skills.

A One-to-One Tutorial

Work closely with Charlotte on your novel-in-progress

You will receive one 25-minute tutorial with Charlotte Mendelson, before the Wednesday class starts, based on a 3,000 word section of your novel-in-progress. Use this tutorial to address your specific concerns about your writing.

A 45-minute One-to-One

Get a publishing perspective on your novel-in-progress

Near the end of the course all students will get a 45-minute one-to-one tutorial with CBC Senior Manager and former editor Jennifer Kerslake or 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.

Four Visiting Speaker Evenings

Insights and inspiration from published authors, agents and editors

In four visiting speaker sessions on Tuesday evenings, 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 ...

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 on a computer

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 Charlotte.

Share Your Work with Literary Agents

A chance to informally show your work to our team

Ahead of the end of the course celebration, 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.

Drinks and Networking with the Agents

Attend an end of course celebration 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 practise pitching, and to chat about books and publishing in an informal setting.

Online Student Forum

Interact with your peers, keep track of your schedule and access novel-writing resources

This new feature of our London courses gives all students access to a private online learning environment where they can share weekly homework tasks and view course schedules. You'll also be able to download 'how-to' guides, expansive writing resources and teaching notes.

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 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 twice during the course.

NEW ALUMNI SERVICES

At the end of the course, we’ll continue to offer our support as you work on your novel and prepare to submit to agents. You’ll have the opportunity to sign up for exclusive alumni-only services, including our annual summer school and full manuscript and submission package reports. You’ll also be invited to join our mentoring programme – for a fee of  £1,500, we’ll match you up with a mentor from our team of expert tutors and editors and organise three hour-long meetings with them across a nine-month period. Your mentor will read and discuss up to 10,000 words of your novel-in-progress before each session, as well as giving you 500 words of editorial notes each time. The CBC team also help all of our selective-course alumni to submit their novels to agents at Curtis Brown and C&W when the time comes – no matter how long it takes you – including advice on which agent to query and direct submission of your full manuscript.

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 £1,900 (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.

Novel-writing student

Guest 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)

Course Schedule

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

The visiting speaker sessions will take place on Wednesdays and run from 7pm-8.30pm

WEEK 1

INTRODUCTION AND BEGINNINGS

Monday 7 September

Teaching Session with Anna Davis and Charlotte Mendelson. Anna and Charlotte 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

PLANNING AND OPENINGS

Monday 14 September

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. Charlotte will talk about what makes a good novel opening and give tips on how to plot and plan you story arc.

Wednesday 16 September

Visiting speaker session with an agent from Curtis Brown or C&W and an author/publisher (tbc)

see more

WEEK 3

INSPIRATION AND POINT OF VIEW

Monday 21 September

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. This week Charlotte will discuss where writers get their inspiration from and give guidance on choosing the right pov for your novel.

Wednesday 23 September

Visiting speaker session with an agent from Curtis Brown or C&W and an author/publisher (tbc)

see more

WEEK 4

DEVELOPING YOUR PROTAGONIST

Monday 28 September

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. 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 5

PLOTTING AND STORY

Monday 5 October

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. This week Charlotte will get into the nitty-gritty of plotting out your novel and making sure your story flows.

Wednesday 7 October

Visiting speaker session with an agent from Curtis Brown or C&W and an author/publisher (tbc)

see more

WEEK 6

DIALOGUE

Monday 12 October

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. Dialogue can make or break a novel and good dialogue is all about authenticity.

Wednesday 16 October

Visiting speaker session with an agent from Curtis Brown or C&W and an author/publisher (tbc)

see more

WEEK 7

DEVELOPING MINOR CHARACTERS

Monday 19 October

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. It is important not to forget about the minor characters which help flesh out the reality of your story.

see more

WEEK 8

DESCRIPTION AND TONE

Monday 26 October

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. Charlotte will share examples of descriptions which really work and discuss the different stylistic approaches to novel-writing that an author can take.

Wednesday 28 October

Letters to agents session with two agents from Curtis Brown or C&W

see more

WEEK 9

THE SYNOPSIS I

Monday 2 November 

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

see more

WEEK 10

THE SYNOPSIS II

Monday 9 November

Teaching Session and Workshop with Charlotte Mendelson. Week two of the synopsis workshops.

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WEEK 11

ENDINGS

Monday 16 November

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

see more

WEEK 12

Drinks Reception with Literary Agents

Monday 23 November

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

see more

WEEK 13

CONCLUSIONS

Monday 30 November

Teaching Session and Goodbyes with Charlotte Mendelson 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 19 July, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 23 July.

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  • Contact Details

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  • About You and Your Writing

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