Writing Your Novel – Six Months
Our flagship online 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 our interactive platform, plus one-to-one tutorials, and advice from publishing industry experts, this course will help you hone your craft and make real progress with your story. It’s ideal for those looking for a practical online alternative to a postgraduate creative writing course.
You will join a group of 15 writers tutored by Anna Freeman, experienced creative writing tutor and author of two historical novels, The Fair Fight and Five Days of Fog. 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.
In addition to the weekly teaching and workshopping – which is flexibly timed so you can take part at a time that suits you each week – you’ll also attend exclusive live industry masterclasses on Zoom featuring insights from authors, agents and publishers. When the course ends, you’ll be given the opportunity to share your work with literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W.
This course will also take a four-week break over the summer, to allow students extra time to work on their novels-in-progress and to reflect on what they've learnt before joining us again in September, feeling refreshed and ready for more workshops, tutorials and teaching from Anna.
Over 200 of our students have gone on to become commercially published authors, including Bonnie Garmus, author of the multi-million copy bestseller, Lessons in Chemistry. Previous students of our six-month online course include Stacey Thomas (The Revels), Anna Bailey (Tall Bones), Elizabeth Lee (Cunning Women) and Alex McCarthy (The Unbroken Beauty of Rosalind Bone). 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.
This course runs from 20 May 2024 to 25 November 2024.
The impact was immense. Learning to read as a writer, acquiring a toolbox of skills to manage and ever-changing plot, characters and narrative, seeing how other students worked and gaining confidence in my ability
Author of The Unbroken Beauty of Rosalind Bone
Anna Freeman is a novelist, radio presenter and creative writing tutor. Her two historical novels, The Fair Fight and Five Days of Fog, are both published by W&N. The Fair Fight has been optioned for TV by Scarlett Johannsen's development company, These Pictures. Anna is also the host of Radio 4's human interest arts programme, Sketches: Stories of Art and People.
Read our interviews with your course tutor to discover more about their writing and approaches to teaching creative writing.
What does this course give you?
- Flexible study: Teaching for this course is entirely online, meaning that you can take part from anywhere in the world, at a time that suits you. The course is delivered via interactive forum discussions with your tutor and fellow students alongside pre-recorded teaching videos on our bespoke learning platform, which we have developed exclusively for our students. The only ‘live’ elements of this course (taking place at set times) are the Zoom industry masterclasses and your one-to-one-tutorials. Timings of these sessions will always be confirmed in advance.
- 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 trusted readers with us and formed strong working friendships that go on long after the course is over.
- Expert teaching: Anna will post weekly teaching notes and lead discussions on a variety of novel-writing topics on our interactive online learning platform, and set homework tasks to further your learning. Through the teaching, workshopping and tutorials, she will work with you to help you write the story you want to tell.
- Teaching videos: In addition to the teaching from Anna, each module will open with exclusive videos and notes covering a range of topics such as plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and editing – all written and delivered by our expert tutor team (see featured video speakers below).
- Writing workshops: Your work will be workshopped by the group three times during the course. Workshops centre on 3,000-word extracts from your novel-in-progress, and discussion takes place on our learning platform with students and the tutor posting written comments across the week. 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 45-minute, one-to-one tutorials (one with Anna and one with an experienced CBC editor or a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent). Tutorials will be based on 3,000-word extracts from your novel-in-progress and will address your specific concerns and questions. 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. Tutorials will take place via phone call or Zoom.
- Three industry masterclasses: These special live Zoom sessions will help to demystify publishing. Leading literary agents, authors and publishers will answer your questions, speaking exclusively to you about writing, editing and the submissions process, and share real-life publication journeys.
- Synopsis & agent letter advice: We’ll give you the vital ingredients needed for a great synopsis and pitch letter. Individual feedback will come from experienced members of the CBC editorial team and/or a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent – delivered via the learning platform.
- End-of-course submission: 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 modules include exclusive pre-recorded teaching videos from these expert author-tutors.
Students will attend three special live Zoom sessions with literary agents, authors and publishers.
COURSE SCHEDULE & DELIVERY
This course is ideal for people seeking flexibility, so they can write and study at times that suit them. Please note that precise dates of masterclass sessions and details of course speakers are subject to change.
MODULE 1 – INSPIRATION AND READING AS WRITERSMon 20 May – Sun 26 May
MODULE 2 – OPENINGSTues 28 May – Sun 9 Jun (Monday UK Bank Holiday)
MODULE 3 – WRITING FROM LIFEMon 10 Jun – Sun 16 Jun
MODULE 4 – STORY, PLOTTING & PLANNINGMon 17 Jun – Sun 30 Jun
MODULE 5 – VOICE AND NARRATIVE POINT OF VIEWMon 1 Jul – Sun 7 Jul
MODULE 6 – SYNOPSISMon 8 Jul – Mon 14 Jul
MODULE 7 – PLACE AND SETTINGMon 15 Jul – Sun 21 Jul
MODULE 8 – CHARACTERISATIONMon 9 Sep – Sun 22 Sep
MODULE 9 – DESCRIPTION, TONE & STYLEMon 23 Sep – Sun 29 Sep
MODULE 10 – DIALOGUEMon 30 Sep – Sun 6 Oct
MODULE 11 – BUILDING SUSPENSEMon 7 Oct – Sun 13 Oct
MODULE 12 – ENDINGSMon 14 Oct – Sun 27 Oct
MODULE 13 – EDITING AND REWRITINGMon 28 Oct – Sun 3 Nov
MODULE 14 – AGENT LETTER/PITCH WORKSHOPMon 4 Nov – Sun 10 Nov
MODULE 15 – FINAL QUESTIONSMon 11 Nov – Sun 17 Nov
MODULE 16 – END OF COURSE SUBMISSIONMon 25 Nov
The course fee of £2,800 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer. 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 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 21 Apr, and we will respond to applicants by Thurs 25 Apr.
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 for six months on our flagship online novel-writing course. Expert tuition and advice from publishing professionals delivered flexibly. Instalment plan available.