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Writing Your Novel – Three Months

Our ever-popular original course is back in London. Get the best out of your novel with expert tuition and exclusive insights from publishing professionals.

COURSE DATES

6 Sept 2022 - 20 Dec 2022

In London

Weekly sessions in person (with some teaching online)

Selective Entry

We offer places to the most talented applicants

Course Fee £1,990

Work on your novel with the experts

Overview

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). Charlotte Mendelson will lead weekly 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.

In addition to joining a group of 15 writers for weekly workshops and teaching sessions, you will receive a one-to-one tutorial with Charlotte during the course. You’ll also take part in two special publishing industry masterclasses – one featuring a Curtis Brown or C&W agent and author, and one with an agent and a fiction editor (from a major publishing house) – during which our guests will share their experience and insights with you and answer your questions. You will also attend a pitch letter workshop with two literary agents, and receive a one-to-one tutorial with either a member of the Curtis Brown or C&W agenting team, or a CBC editor with substantial publishing experience, based on 6,000 words from your work-in-progress. Then, at the very end of the course, students get to share the opening of their novels informally with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W.

In the ten years since we first launched Curtis Brown Creative, over 160 of our former students have gone on to get major publishing deals for their novels. We’ve had some fantastic success stories across all genres, including Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist), Kate Hamer with (The Girl in the Red Coat), Rachel Marks (Saturdays at Noon) and Jane Harper (The Dry). You can read more about our course success stories here.

While we can’t guarantee publication or representation, we lavish our expertise on our students. The agents of Curtis Brown and C&W are hungry for new authors and will be actively looking for clients among our writers.

‘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.’

Karen Vivers, CBC alumna

Tutor

Charlotte Mendelson, Author

Charlotte has written four novels: Love in IdlenessDaughters of JerusalemWhen We Were Bad, and Almost English, all published by Picador. She has 20 years' experience as a fiction editor and publisher, and is a Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, on the Creative Writing MA course. Her first work of non-fiction, Rhapsody in Green, was published by Kyle Books in September 2016.

Teaching in London

We love the energy of our in-person courses, and so do our students. Weekly teaching sessions will be held at comfortable, spacious venues in central London (currently at Asia House) on Tuesday evenings. One-to-one tutorials will be conducted via Zoom. Masterclasses will take place in London where possible – though it may be necessary to hold some sessions on Zoom (subject also to the needs of guest speakers). Please read to the end of this course description and schedule for full details.

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.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

Weekly Teaching Topics

Lively teaching sessions take place on Tuesday evenings

Each week Charlotte will teach on a variety of novel-writing topics, such as characterisation and narrative point of view, with discussion, reading materials and writing exercises. Charlotte will also set a homework task to further your learning.

Writing Workshops

Led by your tutor

Across the course, you'll get two dedicated workshops centring on 3,000-word extracts from your novel-in-progress (one in London and one via Zoom). These sessions offer in-depth written feedback and are also designed to help develop your self-editing skills.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

Find your writing community

We have developed a bespoke learning platform exclusively for our students. Here you can discuss the week’s teaching topic with your fellow students, post homework exercises, and share additional thoughts on workshop extracts.

One-to-One Tutorial

Work closely with Charlotte on your novel

You'll get a 30-minute one-to-one tutorial with your tutor, conducted via Zoom or phone, based on a 3,000-word section from your novel-in-progress. Use this time to address specific concerns about your writing.

Tutorial with an Industry Professional

Intensive one-to-one discussion of your novel-in-progress

Near the end of the course all students will get a 45-minute one-to-one on Zoom/phone with an experienced CBC editor or a member of the Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent team. They will read a 6,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis, and provide detailed feedback and publishing industry advice.

Synopsis Advice

Expert critique of the dreaded synopsis

We'll draw on our agenting expertise to give you the vital ingredients of a great synopsis - then you'll write one, and get individual feedback from an experienced member of the CBC editor team.

Agent Letter Workshop

Expert feedback on the all-important pitch letter

We'll give you the vital dos and don'ts of agent pitch letters - you'll then write your own and two members of the CB or C&W literary agent team will give you verbal feedback in a group workshop.

Two Industry Masterclasses

Insights and inspiration from published authors, agents and editors

You’ll receive two special guest speaker masterclasses – one with a literary agent and major author, and one with a leading publisher. These sessions provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and hear more about the publishing industry and how to develop a career as a writer.

End of Course Submission

Share your opening with the Curtis Brown and C&W agents

At the end of the course 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 CB and C&W. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance to give the agents a taste of your work at this stage.

WORKING WITH OTHER WRITERS

We pride ourselves on the tightly-knit writing communities that are established on our courses. As well as getting feedback on extracts from your own novel during the course, we’ll be asking you to read the work of your 14 fellow students week by week, and provide constructive  comments  (both at the group workshop sessions and in writing). We find this process helps students develop their own inner editor and has a hugely positive impact on their writing. Each week three students will submit 3,000-word extracts from their novels-in-progress to be workshopped by the rest of the group and the tutor. It’ll be your turn to get the group’s dedicated workshop attention two times across the course.

EXCLUSIVE ALUMNI SERVICES

By popular request we have now launched 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 from some of our most experienced tutors (you get to choose your supervisor from the available tutors), a five-day intensive Zoom/online alumni summer school, editorial reports on your completed novel, submission reports on your ‘pitch package’ and coaching from experienced practitioners. If you’d like further details about these services, and current prices, before applying to this course, you can email us on cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk .

Additionally, any students from our selective course who want to formally submit their novels to agents from Curtis Brown or C&W will be given advice and support from the Curtis Brown Creative team with their submission. Full information about this free service is provided during the course.

Guest Sessions

This course offers in-depth engagement with literary agents at Curtis Brown and C&W, an author and a publisher. You’ll also get teaching videos from the author-tutors on our team:

Application process

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 class-mates which go on long after the course is over.

The course fee of £1,990 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer or cheque. 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 discuss a payment plan.

Please upload your application via the form at the end of this page. If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email cbccourses@curtisbrown.co.uk for assistance.

Course Schedule

All teaching and workshop sessions take place on Tuesday evenings, either in a location in central London or via Zoom. Sessions in London run from 7pm to 9pm (or 7pm-8.30pm for guest speaker sessions).

The exact dates and locations (in London or on Zoom) of guest speaker sessions are to be confirmed. Classes may be moved from London to Zoom depending on circumstances, with prior notification to all concerned.

WEEK 1

Inspiration, Reading and Ideas

Tuesday 6 Sept, 7–9pm

Anna and Charlotte will welcome the group during the first half of the session, explain how the course works and share what students should do to get the most out of the three months. Charlotte will lead a teaching session on inspiration and ideas, and set an introductory exercise.

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WEEK 2

Openings

Tuesday 13 Sept, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. We will talk about what makes a good novel opening.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 3

Writing from Life

Tuesday 20 Sept, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. This week we will discuss how best to draw inspiration from real life experiences and knowledge.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 4

Story, Plotting & Planning

Tuesday 27 Sept, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. We will give tips on how to plot and plan your story arc.

Workshops x3

 

 

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WEEK 5

Voice and Narrative Point of View

Tuesday 4 Oct, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. This week we will give guidance on voice, tone, and different narrative points of view.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 6

Characterisation

Tuesday 11 Oct, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. Learn how to create vivid, convincing characters that live and breathe off the page.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 7

Description, Tone & Style

Tuesday 18 Oct, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. Explore elements of style and  take a look at descriptions that really work to draw readers into the story.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 8

Synopsis (Online)

Tuesday 25 Oct – Tuesday 1 Nov

On the Learn platform (no Zoom or London session) with videos and notes from Anna Davis. Students will be required to post their synopses on the forum by 9am, Tues 4 July and feedback from one of our team of editors will follow before Tues 12 July.

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WEEK 9

Dialogue

Tuesday 1 Nov, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. Develop an ear for good dialogue and learn how to write effective, authentic speech in fiction.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 10

Building Suspense

Tuesday 8 Nov, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. Keep your readers on the edge of their seats by mastering the art of suspense.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 11

Endings

Tues 16 Nov, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. Finding the right ending to do justice to your story can be tricky – we will help lead the way.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 12

Editing and Rewriting

Tuesday 22 Nov, 7–9pm

Teaching session and workshop with Charlotte. Charlotte will talk you through techniques and tips for redrafting and editing your manuscript.

Workshops x3

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WEEK 13

Letters to Agents Session

Tuesday 29 Nov, 7–9pm

Get feedback on your agent letter and pitch from two agents from Curtis Brown or C&W.

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WEEK 14

Course Conclusion

Tuesday 6 Dec, 7–9pm

A chance for the group and tutor to share the discoveries you’ve made on this course and to ask final questions.

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WEEK 15

End of Course Submission

Tuesday 20 Dec

Students to submit their 3,000-word opening and one-page synopsis to be read by the Curtis Brown and C&W literary agents.

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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 23 Jul, and we will respond to applicants by Thurs  27 Jul.

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  • Contact Details

    Please provide some essential details so we can get in touch with you about your application. We won't share this data.
  • eg. name@domain.com
  • Please include country code if applicable
  • About You and Your Writing

    We'd like to learn a bit about you and your writing. Don’t worry if you haven’t done much writing before, please fill out in as much detail as possible. We won't share this data.
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • No more than 150 words please.
  • We'd like to hear about any jobs or studies that you feel may be of interest and/or relevant to your application
  • Accepted file types: pdf, txt, doc, rtf, docx.
    Please upload your synopsis and opening 3,000 words in one document. Only PDF, TXT and DOC files accepted, file size must be less than 8mb