Writing Your Novel – Three Months
This is a course for those with a strong idea for a novel who wish to take their writing seriously (whether you’re in the early stages of writing or even reworking a complete draft). You'll join a group of 15 writers taught by tutor Charlotte Mendelson. Charlotte will lead weekly in-person writing workshops and deliver teaching sessions on key topics such as how to create memorable characters, write authentic dialogue and develop a strong arc for your story.
You will also have the opportunity to engage directly with industry professionals, with the opportunity to share the opening of your novel informally with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W at the end of the course.
Charlotte was insightful, professional, knowledgeable and engaging. I felt very comfortable with her straight away. She was able to show me where I might want to improve as well as highlighting my writing strengths in a way that I found motivating and encouraging. Whenever I have a bad writing day, I remember her positive words and it works every time.
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.
What does this course give you?
- Live teaching sessions in London: Charlotte will teach on a variety of novel-writing topics in dynamic in-person sessions on Tues evenings. She 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 form strong working friendships with classmates which go on long after the course is over.
- Writing workshops: Across the course, you'll get two dedicated workshops centring on 3,000-word extracts from your novel-in-progress. These sessions offer in-depth feedback from your student group and tutor, and are also designed to help develop your self-editing skills.
- 1-to-1 tutorials: You'll get a 30-minute, one-to-one tutorial with Charlotte based on a 3,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress. Use the tutorial to address your specific concerns about your writing. Near 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. They will read a 6,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis.
- 2 industry masterclasses: These special sessions will help demystify publishing. Leading literary agents, authors and publishers will discuss writing, editing and the submissions process – they will draw on their experience of real-life publication journeys. There will also be opportunities to ask questions.
- Synopsis & agent letter advice: We’ll draw on our expertise to give you the vital ingredients needed for a great synopsis and the all-important pitch letter. Individual feedback will come from experienced members of the CBC editorial team and/or a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent.
- End of course submission: All students will be invited to submit the 3,000-word opening from their novel, 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 your work at this stage. When you are ready to formally submit – no matter how long after your course has finished – the CBC team will give you guidance and support with your submission to the Curtis Brown and C&W agents.
- Alumni services: You’ll be given access to 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, editorial reports on your completed novel, and submission reports on your ‘pitch package’. Read more about the opportunities available to our alumni here.
Students will attend two live sessions with insights from a literary agent, published author and an editor from a major publishing house.
All teaching and workshop sessions will take place on Tuesday evenings (unless otherwise stated below). Classes will be held at a central London location (Asia House) from 7pm to 9pm. Timings for guest speaker sessions will be confirmed closer to the time, but usually take from 7pm to 8.30pm, either in London or via Zoom.
Classes may be moved from London to Zoom depending on circumstances, with prior notification to all concerned.
We are passionate about the safety and comfort of our students and continue to closely monitor the ongoing Covid-19 situation – you can read the current version of our Covid protocol here. The protocol is reviewed, ongoing throughout the duration of the course, and our students and staff will be kept fully informed of any amendments made in their interests.
INSPIRATION, READING & IDEASTues 6 Sept, 7–9pm
OPENINGSTues 13 Sept, 7–9pm
WRITING FROM LIFETues 20 Sept, 7–9pm
STORY, PLOTTING & PLANNINGTues 27 Sept, 7–9pm
VOICE & NARRATIVE POINT OF VIEWTues 4 Oct, 7–9pm
CHARACTERISATIONTues 11 Oct, 7–9pm
DESCRIPTION, TONE & STYLETues 18 Oct, 7–9pm
Industry MasterclassThurs 20 Oct, 7–9pm
Autumn BreakNo teaching on Tues 25 Oct
THE SYNOPSIS (ONLINE)Tues 1 Nov – Tues 8 Nov
DIALOGUETues 8 Nov, 7–9pm
BUILDING SUSPENSETues 15 Nov, 7–9pm
ENDINGSTues 22 Nov, 7–9pm
EDITING & REWRITINGTues 29 Nov, 7–9pm
Agent Letter & Pitch WorkshopTues 6 Dec, 7–9pm
COURSE CONCLUSIONTues 13 Dec, 7–9pm
END OF COURSE SUBMISSIONTues 3 Jan
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 Sun 24 Jul, and we will respond to applicants by Thurs 28 Jul.
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.
Our ever-popular original course in London. Get the best out of your novel with expert tuition and exclusive insights from publishing professionals.