Covid-19 update In-person courses temporarily on hold. Online course places are still available. Find out more here.

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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

Nov 9 2020 - Mar 1 2021

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.

You will join a group of 15 writers tutored by one of our experienced tutors: Laura Barnett or Charlotte Mendelson. Your tutor 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.

‘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, CBC alumna

‘She [Laura] really raised the bar for what I believe I can achieve with my writing and I left feeling galvanised to finish up my manuscript and get it sent through.’

Daniel Sommerford, CBC alumnus

Tutor

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.

Laura Barnett, Author

Laura's first novel, The Versions of Us (2015) was a number-one bestseller, it has been translated into 24 languages, and was shortlisted for Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her second novel, Greatest Hits was published in 2017, with an accompanying soundtrack album by the musician Kathryn Williams. She has taught creative writing for Guardian Masterclasses, delivered a TedX talk on originality in fiction, and worked as a writing mentor for the charity Arts Emergency. She is also a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University's Writing School.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

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 team, and your tutor 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 your tutor

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.

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 (Charlotte Mendelson or Laura Barnett), 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 a Literary Agent

Join a live video chat with a top UK literary agent

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

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 Charlotte Mendelson/Laura Barnett 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. We’ll be running two student groups – one taught by Laura Barnett and the other by Charlotte Mendelson. If you are selected to take part, we’ll assign you to the tutor group we feel will work best for you and your novel – however if you have a strong preference for one of the tutors, you can indicate this in the form and we will try to take this into consideration.

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 9 November – Sunday 15 November

With videos from Anna Davis and Chris Wakling

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WEEK 2

Openings

Monday 16 November – Sunday 22 November

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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WEEK 3

Writing from Life

Monday 23 November – Sunday 29 November

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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WEEK 4

Story, Plotting & Planning

Monday 30 November – Sunday 6 December

With videos from Chris Wakling

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WEEK 5

Voice and Narrative Point of View

Monday 7 December – Sunday 13 December

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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WEEK 6

Characterisation

Monday 14 December – Sunday 20 December

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 7

Synopsis

Monday 4 January – Sunday 10 January

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

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WEEK 8

Description, Tone & Style

Monday 11 January – Sunday  17 January

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 9

Dialogue

Monday 18 January – Sunday 24 January

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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WEEK 10

Building Suspense

Monday 25 January – Sunday 31 January

With videos from Erin Kelly

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WEEK 11

Endings

Monday 1 February – Sunday 7 February

With videos from Lisa O’Donnell

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WEEK 12

Editing and Rewriting

Monday 8 February – Sunday 14 February

With videos from Jake Arnott

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WEEK 13

Agent Letter/Pitch Workshop

Monday 15 February – Sunday 21 February

With videos and individual feedback from agents at Curtis Brown and/or C&W.

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WEEK 14

Course Conclusions

Monday 22 February – Sunday 28 February

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 1 March

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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Applications now closed

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 11 October, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 15 October.

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