Writing Your Novel – Six Months
Our flagship in-person Writing Your Novel course is designed for writers who are serious about developing their novel to its full potential.
With weekly teaching and workshopping on Wednesday evenings in the Curtis Brown offices on Regent Street, plus one-to-one tutorials and special masterclasses with publishing industry experts, this course will help you hone your craft and make real progress with your novel. It’s ideal for those looking for a practical in-person alternative to a postgraduate creative writing course.
You’ll join a group of 15 talented writers for dynamic and inspiring classes from experienced tutor Lizzie Enfield. Lizzie is the author of five novels as well as a monthly column for Writing Magazine. Teaching will cover how to create a strong narrative arc and convincing characters, as well as key techniques that will help you bring your story to life, from dialogue to description, tone and style.
You will also get invaluable insights from publishers and literary agents during exclusive masterclasses throughout your time on this course. At the end of the course, you’ll be given the opportunity to share the opening of your novel with Curtis Brown and C&W literary agents.
Over 200 of our students have gone on to become commercially published authors, including Bonnie Garmus, author of the million-copy bestseller, Lessons in Chemistry. Previous students of our six-month London-based course include Lucy Barker (The Other Side of Mrs Wood), James Bailey (The Flip Side) and Amita Parikh (The Circus Train). Whether you’re in the early stages of writing, halfway through a first draft or embarking on a major rewrite, this course will give you the push you need to get the most out of your novel.
Course runs from 26 Feb 2024 to 5 Aug 2024.
Attending the CBC course was a major catalyst in my writing career - not only did I finish and publish the novel I started, but I ended up with friends for life.
Author of The Circus Train
Lizzie Enfield is a journalist and regular contributor to national newspapers, magazines and radio. She has written five novels, the latest two published as Elizabeth Enfield, and has had short stories broadcast on Radio Four and published in various magazines. She has taught for the Arvon Foundation, at the Writers Room in Brighton, and at various universities and colleges in addition to her work at CBC. She also writes a monthly writing column for Writing Magazine and is the author of Finish Your Book: How to Complete Your Half-Written Novel. Lizzie is a regular chair/interviewer at literary events, when not appearing to talk about her own books.
Read our interview with course tutor Lizzie to discover more about her writing and approaches to teaching creative writing.
What does this course give you?
- Live teaching in London: On Wednesday evenings tutor Lizzie Enfield will deliver two-hour teaching sessions in the Curtis Brown offices on Regent Street. Each session will include an hour of workshopping (three students will have work discussed each week) and an hour of teaching – on topics including how to hook readers from the outset, master point of view, build suspense and develop strong scenes. Lizzie will also set homework tasks to further your learning.
- A community of writers: 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 formed strong working friendships that go on long after the course is over.
- Writing workshops: Workshops centre on 3,000-word extracts from your novel-in-progress, and your work will be workshopped by the group three times during the course. These sessions offer in-depth feedback from your student group and tutor and are also designed to help develop your self-editing skills.
- One-to-one tutorials: You’ll get two 25-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Lizzie during the course. Tutorials are based on 3,000-word extracts from your novel-in-progress and are an excellent opportunity to address specific concerns about your writing. Towards the end of the course, all students will also get a 45-minute one-to-one with an experienced CBC editor or a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent who will read up to 6,000 words from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis.
- Four industry masterclasses: We invite leading literary agents, authors and publishers to attend special sessions during which you will have the opportunity to ask questions about writing, editing, submitting to agents and the publishing process. Our special guests will draw on their experience of real-life publication journeys and share their insights with you.
- Guest tutor sessions: A renowned published author will be invited to lead two guest teaching sessions midway through the course (as listed on the schedule), sharing their unique approach to writing through thoughtful and inspiring lessons. They will share wisdom from their writing career and set relevant tasks for the group.
- Synopsis & agent letter feedback: We’ll give you the vital ingredients needed for a great synopsis and pitch letter. You will receive notes on your synopsis from an experienced member of the CBC editorial team and attend a live pitching session with two Curtis Brown/C&W literary agents.
- End-of-course celebration: To mark the course coming to a close, you will attend a special two-hour reception with tea, cake and fizz. This celebration will give you a chance to mingle informally with your fellow students, the CBC team and literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W.
- Submitting to agents: Ahead of the end of course celebration, all students will be invited to submit their 3,000-word novel opening, plus a synopsis, to be shared with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W as well as a select group of agents from other UK-based agencies. This is not a formal submission but a chance to give the agents a taste of what you’re working on. When you are ready to submit formally – no matter how long after your course has finished – the CBC team will provide guidance and support with your submission to the Curtis Brown and C&W agents.
- Alumni services: At the end of your course, you’ll be given access to a range of exclusive writing services, available only to the alumni of our selective courses. These services include one-to-one mentoring, full manuscript reports and submission reports on your ‘pitch package’. Read more about the opportunities available to our alumni here.
COURSE SCHEDULE & DELIVERY
All teaching and workshop sessions will take place on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 9pm (unless otherwise stated below). Classes will be held in the Writers’ Room of the new Curtis Brown offices (Cunard House, 15 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4LR).
In extenuating circumstances, classes may be moved from London to Zoom, with prior notification to all concerned.
Please note that precise dates of sessions and details of course speakers are subject to change.
WEEK 1: INSPIRATION AND READING AS WRITERSMon 26 Feb, 7–9pm
OPENINGS IWed 28 Feb, 7–9pm
WEEK 2: INDUSTRY MASTERCLASSWed 6 Mar, 7–9pm
WEEK 3: CHARACTERISATION IWed 13 Mar, 7–9pm
WEEK 4: CHARACTERISATION IIWed 20 Mar, 7–9pm
WEEK 5: STORY, PLOTTING & PLANNING IWed 27 Mar, 7–9pm
WEEK 6: VOICE & NARRATIVE POINT OF VIEWWed 10 April, 7–9pm
WEEK 7: DIALOGUEWed 17 Apr, 7–9pm
WEEK 8: PLACE & SETTINGWed 24 Apr, 7–9pm
WEEK 9: GUEST TUTOR SESSION 1Wed 1 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 10: GUEST TUTOR SESSION 2Wed 8 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 11: THE SYNOPSIS – ONLINEMon 13 May – Sun 19 May
WEEK 12: WRITING FROM LIFEWed 22 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 13: DESCRIPTION, TONE & STYLEWed 29 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 14: STORY, PLOTTING & PLANNING II: SCENESWed 5 Jun, 7–9pm
WEEK 15: BUILDING SUSPENSEWed 12 Jun, 7–9pm
WEEK 16: ENDINGS IWed 19 Jun, 7–9pm
WEEK 17: INDUSTRY MASTERCLASSWed 26 Jun, 7–9pm
WEEK 18: OPENINGS IIWed 3 Jul, 7–9pm
WEEK 19: ENDINGS IIWed 10 Jul, 7–9pm
WEEK 20: EDITING & REWRITINGWed 17 Jul, 7–9pm
WEEK 21: AGENT LETTER & PITCH WORKSHOPWed 24 Jul, 7–9pm
WEEK 22: CONCLUSIONWed 31 Jul, 7–9pm
END OF COURSE SUBMISSIONMon 5 Aug
The course fee of £3,190 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque before the start of the course. However, if you are unable to pay the full fee upfront, let us know and we can arrange an instalment plan.
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 Sun 28 Jan, and we will respond to applicants by Thurs 1 Feb.
We read all application material promptly after the closing date and make our selection of students swiftly at that time. However if you require an earlier response from us in order to be able to take part in this course, please email us with full details and we will consider and respond on a case by case basis.
If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Study with us in London for six months on our flagship novel-writing course. Expert tuition and advice from publishing professionals delivered in lively evening sessions. Instalment plan available.