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Three-Month Novel-Writing Course

Deep-dive into your novel with expert tuition, a strong peer group and advice from literary agents. All online, and with flexible scheduling.

COURSE DATES

Apr 20 2020 - Jul 27 2020

Online

Take this course from anywhere in the world

Selective Entry

We offer places to the most talented applicants

Course Fee £1,600

Work on your novel with the experts

Overview

We’ve designed this online novel-writing course to be as useful and fulfilling as the courses we run in our offices, with contributions from agents here at Curtis Brown and C&W in London. This is a course for people who are serious about writing a novel. As well as being packed with useful content, it’s flexible so you can write and study at times to suit you.

Author and experienced tutor Suzannah Dunn will give direct feedback to students on their novels-in-progress via weekly online workshops, one-to-one tutorials and writing exercises. Via our online learning platform, you’ll get access to teaching videos, notes and resources from our CBC tutor team (listed below).

The Curtis Brown and C&W literary agents plus the Editorial Director at Borough Press (HarperFiction) Charlotte Cray, will offer writing and pitching advice in special events across the course. At the end of the course, students get to share the opening of their novels informally with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W.

In the eight years since we first launched 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 online course students  Jane Harper (The Dry) and Nicholas Searle (The Good Liar), both now international bestsellers. The film adaptation of The Good Liar starring Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren was released in 2019. A film adaptation of The Dry is currently in production and will star Eric Bana. You can read more about our 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 will be actively looking for clients among our writers.

‘Suzannah is a fantastic mentor; she brings you out as it were, gets you to talk about yourself and your novel – where it’s going, where it’s not going, what you’re happy about, what you don’t feel you’re managing well. Most important of all,  Suzannah encouraged me to see my novel more clearly and to feel positive about the changes that (once again) she led me to make’
Fynvola Le Hunte Ward, CBC alumna

Tutor

Suzannah Dunn, Author

Suzannah Dunn is the author of thirteen books. She was picked alongside Robert Harris, Edward St Aubyn and Helen Simpson, in response to Granta’s first ‘Best Under 40’ list in 1993. She wrote six critically acclaimed contemporary novels and a short story collection before her first historical novel, The Queen of Subtleties, was published in 2004. It has been followed by five more Tudor novels including The Confession of Katherine Howard and The Lady of Misrule. She has sold over a quarter of a million copies of her historical novels in the UK alone. Her latest historical novel The Testimony of Alys Twist is set to be published September 2020 by Little, Brown. Suzannah was Director of the MA in Novel Writing at Manchester University for six years and has taught many courses for the Arvon Foundation. She is a popular speaker at literary festivals and events including the Bristol Festival of Ideas and has given talks at several beautiful Tudor National Trust buildings including Newark Park in Gloucestershire and Ightham Mote in Kent.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

curtis brown creative writing task
Editing on a computer

Teaching Videos & Tasks

Advice on key topics from our tutor team

The course takes a new topic each week. You'll get teaching videos and notes from our tutor team, and Suzannah will add her thoughts on each module and set tasks for the group - writing exercises or discussion. Topics tackled include plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and rewriting. 

Curtis Brown Creative learning portal

Writing Workshops

Led by Suzannah Dunn

You'll get two dedicated workshops centring on material from your novel-in-progress with your tutor and the group (Extracts of 3000 words, each time). These sessions offer in-depth written feedback and are also designed to help develop your editing skills.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

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.

Suzannah Dunn, Author

One-to-One Tutorials

Extracts of your novel will be closely reviewed by your tutor

You'll get two 30 minute, one-to-one tutorials with your tutor Suzannah Dunn, conducted over the phone or via Skype, based on 3,000 word sections of your novel-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your specific concerns about your writing.

Charlotte Cray, editor

Pitch Workshop

Practise your elevator pitch with a Publishing Director Charlotte Cray

We'll give you advice on how to pitch your novel effectively, and then Windmill Books Publishing Director Charlotte Cray will give individual written feedback to all students.

Editing Your Novel

Synopsis Advice

Our tips on how to conquer the dreaded synopsis

We'll draw on our agenting expertise to give you the vital ingredients of a great synopsis - then you'll write one, and Suzannah will give you individual written feedback.

Literary Agent Q&A

Get answers from our team of literary agents

In a special session, you'll put questions to members of the Curtis Brown, and C&W agent teams in the discussion space, and gain their answers on how to navigate the choppy waters of the publishing industry.

Handwriting your novel

Agent Letter Session

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 the agents from Curtis Brown and C&W will give you written feedback, plus their tips on how to bypass the slush pile.

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 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.

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 privately and in our online discussion space). 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 two times across 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.

Editing your novel

Guest Sessions

This course offers direct interaction with literary agents at Curtis Brown and C&W and with Charlotte Cray, Editorial Director at Borough Press. You’ll also get teaching videos from your tutor Suzannah Dunn and from the author-tutors on our team:

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 trusted readers with us – and form strong working friendships with class-mates which go on long after the course is over.

The course fee of £1,600 (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, let us know and we can discuss a payment plan. 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 more questions about the course, please email cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk for assistance.

Course Schedule

WEEK 1

Inspiration and Reading as Writers

Monday 20 April – Sunday 26 April

With videos from Anna Davis and Chris Wakling

see more

WEEK 2

Openings

Monday 27 April – Sunday 3 May

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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WEEK 3

Writing from Life

Monday 4 May – Sunday 10 May

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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WEEK 4

Story, Plotting & Planning

Monday 11 May – Sunday 17 May

With videos from Chris Wakling

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WEEK 5

Voice and Narrative Point of View

Monday 18 May – Sunday 24 May

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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WEEK 6

Characterisation

Monday 1 June – Sunday 7 June

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 7

Description, Tone & Style

Monday 8 June – Sunday 14 June

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 8

Dialogue

Monday 15 June – Sunday 21 June

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 9

Building Suspense

Monday 22 June – Sunday 28 June

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 10

Endings

Monday 29 June – Sunday 5 July

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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WEEK 11

Editing and Rewriting

Monday 6 July – Sunday 12 July

With videos from Jake Arnott

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WEEK 12

The Synopsis

Monday 13 July – Sunday 19 July

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

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WEEK 13

Final Questions

Monday 20 July – Sunday 26 July

A second synopsis workshop with your tutor and a chance to ask questions that have arisen for you across the course and get answers from your tutor in this final teaching week

see more

WEEK 14

End of Course Submission

Monday 27 July 

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 29th March, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 2nd April.

Not quite ready?

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  • Contact Details

    Please provide some essential details so we can get in touch with you about your application. We won't share this data.
  • eg. name@domain.com
  • Please include country code if applicable
  • About You and Your Writing

    We'd like to learn a bit about you and your writing. Don’t worry if you haven’t done much writing before, please fill out in as much detail as possible. We won't share this data.
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • No more than 150 words please.
  • We'd like to hear about any jobs or studies that you feel may be of interest and/or relevant to your application
  • 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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