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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

Sept 07 2020 - Dec 14 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 course to provide an experience that’s as close to our successful London-based courses as we can make it. Brand new features this season include a one-to-one tutorial at course end with an industry professional (either an agent or a CBC editor with substantial publishing experience), based on 6,000 words from your work in progress. 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).

You’ll take part in a Zoom Webinar with a top literary agent from Curtis Brown/C&W – and two literary agents will offer in-depth written advice on your agent letter and elevator pitch. Then 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 nine years since we first launched Curtis Brown Creative, over over 100 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 Rachel Marks (Saturdays at Noon), Jane Harper (The Dry) and Nicholas Searle (The Good Liar) and soon to be published Polly Crosby (The Illustrated Child). 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 45 minute, one-to-one tutorials with your tutor Suzannah Dunn, conducted via Zoom or phone, based on 3,000 word sections of your novel-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your specific concerns about your writing.

Tutorial with industry professional

Intensive one-to-one discussion of your novel-in-progress

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

Editing Your Novel

Synopsis Advice

Expert critique of 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 get individual feedback from an experienced member of the CBC editor team

Handwriting your novel

Pitch Letter Session

Agent feedback on your letter & elevator pitch

We'll give you the vital do's and don'ts of agent pitch letters and elevator pitches - you'll then write your own and get in-depth written feedback on both the letter and the short pitch from Curtis Brown/C&W literary agents.

Webinar with Cathryn Summerhayes

Join a live video chat with a top UK literary agent

Students will take part in a special 60 minute Zoom webinar with top Curtis Brown literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes. Cathryn will discuss what literary agents do and answer your questions about publishing.

Tutorial with a Literary Agent

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 (via phone or Zoom) 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.

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 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.

EXCLUSIVE ALUMNI SERVICES

By popular request we have now launched a range of exclusive writing services, available only to the alumni of our selective courses, which you’ll be able to access after your course finishes. These services include individual mentoring from some of our most experienced tutors (you get to choose your supervisor from the available tutors), a five-day intensive zoom/online alumni summer school, editorial reports on your completed novel, submission reports on your ‘pitch package’ and coaching from experienced practitioners. If you’d like further details about these services, and current prices, before applying to this course, you can email us on cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk .

Additionally, any students from our selective course who want to formally submit their novels to agents from Curtis Brown or C&W will be given advice and support from the Curtis Brown Creative team with their submission. Full information about this free service is provided during the course.

Editing your novel

Guest Sessions

This course offers in-depth engagement with literary agents at Curtis Brown and C&W. 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.

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 7 September – Sunday 13 September

With videos from Anna Davis and Chris Wakling

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WEEK 2

Openings

Monday 14 September – Sunday 20 September

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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WEEK 3

Writing from Life

Monday 21 September – Sunday 27 September

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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WEEK 4

Story, Plotting & Planning

Monday 28 September – Sunday 4 October

With videos from Chris Wakling

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WEEK 5

Voice and Narrative Point of View

Monday 5 October – Sunday 11 October

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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WEEK 6

Characterisation

Monday 12 October – Sunday 18 October

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 7

Description, Tone & Style

Monday 19 October – Sunday 25 October

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 8

Half Term Break

Monday 26 October – Sunday 1 November

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WEEK 9

Dialogue

Monday 2 November – Sunday 8 November

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 10

Building Suspense

Monday 9 November – Sunday 15 November

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 11

Endings

Monday 16 November – Sunday 22 November

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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WEEK 12

Editing and Rewriting

Monday 23 November – Sunday 29 November

With videos from Jake Arnott

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WEEK 13

The Synopsis

Monday 30 November – Sunday 6 December

With videos from Anna Davis and a synopsis workshop with a CBC editor

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WEEK 14

Course Conclusions

Monday 7 December – Sunday 13 December

A chance for the group and tutor to share the discoveries you’ve made on this course and to ask final questions

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WEEK 15

End of Course Submission

Monday 14 December

Students to submit 3,000 word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the Curtis Brown and C&W literary agents

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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 below). The CBC team will select applicants based on the quality of the writing sample provided. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 16th August, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 20th August.

Not quite ready?

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