Writing Your Novel – Three 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 Tuesday 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. Our compact three-month schedule makes this course ideal for those seeking a burst of motivation and regular, practical in-person support.
You’ll join a group of 15 talented writers for dynamic and inspiring classes from Charlotte Mendelson, award-winning novelist and correspondent of the New Yorker. 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 attend two exclusive masterclasses during the course where you will gain invaluable insights from literary agents and publishing professionals. 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. Previous students of our three-month London-based course include Bonnie Garmus (author of the million-copy bestseller, Lessons in Chemistry), Kate Hamer (The Girl in the Red Coat), Sean Lusk (The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley) and Laura Marshall (Friend Request). 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 9 April to 16 July 2024.
It was the smartest thing I could have done… I got to meet other writers.
Global bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry
Charlotte Mendelson is the author of five highly acclaimed novels, most recently The Exhibitionist. Her books have been longlisted and shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Booker Prize. She also won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award, among others. She worked in publishing for twenty years and now teaches creative writing widely, and is Gardening Correspondent for the New Yorker.
Read this advice blog from Charlotte to discover more about her writing and approach to teaching creative writing.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
- Live teaching in London: On Tuesday evenings tutor Charlotte Mendelson 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. Charlotte 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 twice 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 a 30-minute one-to-one tutorial with Charlotte during the course, based on a 3,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress. This is 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.
- Two 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.
- 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 Tuesday 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 – INSPRATION & READING AS WRITERSTuesday 9 April, 7–9pm
WEEK 2 – OPENINGSTuesday 16 April, 7–9pm
WEEK 3 – WRITING FROM LIFETuesday 23 April, 7–9pm
WEEK 4 – STORY, PLOTTING & PLANNINGTuesday 30 April, 7–9pm
WEEK 5 – VOICE & NARRATIVE POINT OF VIEWTuesday 7 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 6 – CHARACTERISATIONTuesday 14 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 7 – DESCRIPTION, TONE & STYLETuesday 21 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 8 – DIALOGUETuesday 28 May, 7–9pm
WEEK 9 – BUILDING SUSPENSETuesday 4 June, 7–9pm
WEEK 10 – ENDINGSTuesday 11 June, 7–9pm
WEEK 11 – EDITING & REWRITINGTuesday 18 June, 7–9pm
WEEK 12 – INDUSTRY MASTERCLASSTuesday 25 June, 7pm-8.30pm
WEEK 13 – SYNOPSIS ONLINETuesday 2 July – 9 July
WEEK 14 – AGENT LETTER/PITCH WORKSHOPTuesday 9 July, 7–9pm
COURSE CONCLUSIONTuesday 16 July, 7-9pm
The course fee of £1,990 (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 Sunday 10 March, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 14 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.
Join us in London for expert novel-writing tuition and insights from literary agents delivered in lively evening sessions. Instalment plan available.