Writing Your Novel – Three 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 renowned authors and literary agents, this course will help you hone your craft and make real progress with your story. Our compact three-month schedule and online learning environment makes this the ideal course for writers with busy calendars in need of flexibility as well as comprehensive advice and an energetic burst of motivation.
You will join a group of 15 writers tutored by Suzannah Dunn, critically acclaimed author of 13 novels and much-loved creative writing tutor. 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.
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 three-month online course include Heather Darwent (The Things We Do to Our Friends), Emilia Hart (Weyward), Julie Ma (Happy Families) and Rachel Marks (Saturdays at Noon). 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 22 April to 5 August 2024.
Every aspect of the course – the brilliant materials, my wonderful tutor Suzannah Dunn and my fellow course mates – had a huge impact on my writing
Author of Weyward
Suzannah Dunn has published two collections of short fiction and twelve novels, seven of them historical, one of which The Confession of Katherine Howard was a Richard and Judy Pick. She was picked alongside Robert Harris, Edward St Aubyn and Helen Simpson, by Julie Burchill in response to Granta’s first ‘Best Under 40’ list in 1993. She has sold over a quarter of a million copies of her historical novels in the UK alone. Her thirteenth novel Levitation for Beginners will be published by Little, Brown in 2024.
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.
Read our interview with Suzannah to discover more about her writing and approach 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: Suzannah 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, they will work with you to help you write the story you want to tell.
- Teaching videos: In addition to the teaching from Suzannah, 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 twice 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 with Suzannah. 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.
- Industry masterclass: Join a special live Zoom session with a leading literary agent and an author, they will answer your questions, speaking exclusively to you about writing, editing and the submissions process, and share their experience of 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.
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.
WEEK 1 – INSPIRATION AND READING AS WRITERSMonday 22 April – Sunday 28 April
WEEK 2 – OPENINGSMonday 29 April – Sunday 5 May
WEEK 3 – WRITING FROM LIFETuesday 7 May – Sunday 12 May
WEEK 4 – STORY, PLOTTING & PLANNINGMonday 13 May – Sunday 19 May
WEEK 5 – VOICE AND NARRATIVE POINT OF VIEWMonday 20 May – Sunday 26 May
WEEK 6 – CHARACTERISATIONTuesday 28 May – Sunday 2 June
WEEK 7 – SYNOPSISMonday 3 June – Sunday 9 June
WEEK 8 – DESCRIPTION, TONE & STYLEMonday 10 June – Sunday 16 June
WEEK 9 DIALOGUEMonday 17 June – Sunday 23 June
WEEK 10 – BUILDING SUSPENSEMonday 24 June – Sunday 30 June
WEEK 11 – ENDINGSMonday 1 July – Sunday 7 July
WEEK 12 – EDITING AND REWRITINGMonday 8 July – Sunday 14 July
WEEK 13 – AGENT LETTER/PITCH WORKSHOPMonday 15 July – Sunday 21 July
WEEK 14 – COURSE CONCLUSIONMonday 22 July – Sunday 28 July
WEEK 15 – END OF COURSE SUBMISSIONMonday 5 August
The course fee of £1,800 (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 Sunday 24 March, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 28 March.
We read all application material promptly after the closing date and make our selection of students within a week. 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.
Three months of expert novel-writing tuition and insights from literary agents delivered flexibly. Instalment plan available.