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Writing Your Novel – Three Months

Get the most our of your novel with expert tuition, a strong peer group and advice from literary agents. All online, and with flexible scheduling.

COURSE DATES

Mar 07 2022 - Jun 20 2022

Online

Take this course from anywhere in the world

Selective Entry

We offer places to the most talented applicants

Course Fee £1,800

Work on your novel with the experts

Overview

We’ve designed this online course to provide an experience that’s as close to our successful London-based courses as we can make it. You’ll receive direct engagement with industry professionals, including a one-to-one tutorial at course end with either an agent from Curtis Brown or C&W, or a CBC editor with substantial publishing experience, based on 6,000 words from your work-in-progress. This is a course for people who are serious about writing a novel. As well as being packed with useful content, it’s flexible so you can write and study at times to suit you.

You will join a group of 15 writers tutored by acclaimed novelist and experienced tutor Chris Wakling. Chris will give direct feedback to students on their novels-in-progress via weekly workshops on our bespoke online forum, targeted writing exercises, and one-to-one tutorials via Zoom. You’ll also get access to brand-new, exclusively produced teaching videos, notes and resources from our expert CBC tutor team (listed below) on our online learning platform.

You’ll take part in a live Zoom webinar and Q&A with a top literary agent. Then at the end of the course, students get to share the opening of their novels informally with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W.

We’ve been helping writers tell their stories for the past ten years. Since launching in 2011 over 140 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 online course students Rachel Marks (Saturdays at Noon), Jane Harper (The Dry) and Nicholas Searle (The Good Liar) and soon to be published Polly Crosby (The Illustrated Child). You can read more about our online 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.

‘Chris was very generous with his time, and provided me with some extremely constructive feedback. He also made the forum discussions fun and guided them so that the feedback was useful. I thought he was an excellent tutor and will refer back to his advice as I write in the future.
Melissa Echalier, CBC alumna

Tutor

Christopher Wakling, Author

Christopher's six acclaimed novels include What I Did, The Devil's Mask, and On Cape Three Points. Born in 1970, he read English at Oxford, then worked as a farm hand, teacher and lawyer, before turning to writing full-time in 2001. As well as writing fiction, Christopher is a travel writer for The Independent. He has tutored numerous creative-writing courses for Curtis Brown Creative and The Arvon Foundation.

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?

Teaching Videos & Tasks

Advice on key topics from our tutor team

The course takes a new topic each week. You'll get teaching videos and notes from our team, and your tutor will add their thoughts on each module and set tasks for the group - writing exercises or discussion. Topics tackled include plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and rewriting. 

Curtis Brown Creative learning portal

Writing Workshops

Led by your tutor

You'll get two dedicated workshops centring on material from your novel-in-progress with your tutor and the group (extracts of 3,000 words each time). These sessions offer in-depth written feedback and are also designed to help develop your editing skills.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses - find your writing community

We have developed a bespoke learning platform exclusively for our students. Here you can give and receive workshop feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and tutor.

One-to-One Tutorials

Extracts of your novel will be closely reviewed by your tutor

You'll get two 45-minute, one-to-one tutorials with your tutor, conducted via Zoom or phone, based on 3,000-word sections of your novel-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your 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 Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent. They will read a 6,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis. They will 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.

Pitch Workshop

Agent feedback on your letter & elevator pitch

We'll give you the vital dos and don'ts of agent pitch letters and elevator pitches - you'll then write your own and get in-depth written feedback on both the letter and the short pitch from a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent.

Webinar with a Literary Agent

Join a live video chat with a top UK literary agent

Students will take part in a special 60-minute Zoom webinar with a top Curtis Brown literary agent. They will discuss what literary agents do and answer your questions about publishing.

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 of their novel, plus a synopsis, to be shared with the agent teams at CB and C&W as well as a select group of agents from other UK-based agencies. 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 written comments in our online discussion space. We find this process helps students develop their own inner editor and has a hugely positive impact on their own 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. Every week you’ll also get access to a new module of teaching with exclusive pre-recorded teaching videos from your tutor and the other expert 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 £1,800 (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

WEEK 1

Inspiration and Reading as Writers

Mon 7 March – Sun 13 March

With videos from Anna Davis and Simon Ings

see more

WEEK 2

Openings

Mon 14 March – Sun 20 March

With videos from Laura Barnett

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 3

Writing from Life

Mon 21 March – Sun 27 March

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 4

Story, Plotting & Planning

Mon 28 March – Sun 3 April

With videos from Andrew Michael Hurley

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 5

Voice and Narrative Point of View

Mon 4 April – Sun 10 April

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 6

Characterisation

Mon 11 April – Sun 17 April

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

 

see more

WEEK 7

Break Week

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WEEK 8

Synopsis

Mon 25 April – Sun 1 May

With videos and notes from Anna Davis. You will be required to post your synopsis on the forum by 9am, Mon 2 May and feedback from one of our team of editors will follow before Mon 9 May.

 

see more

WEEK 9

Description, Tone & Style

Tues 3 May – Sun 8 May

With videos from Laura Barnett

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 10

Dialogue

Mon 9 May – Sun 15 May

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 11

Building Suspense

Mon 16 May – Sun 22 May

With videos from Christopher Wakling

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

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WEEK 12

Endings

Mon 23 May – Sun 29 May

With videos from Christopher Walking

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 13

Editing and Rewriting

Mon 30 May – Sun 5 June

With videos from Simon Ings

Workshops led by Chris Wakling x 3

see more

WEEK 14

Agent Letter & Pitch Workshop

Mon 6 June – Sun 12 June

With videos and individual feedback from the agents at Curtis Brown and C&W

see more

WEEK 15

Course Conclusion

Mon 13 June – Sun 19 June

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

see more

WEEK 16

End of Course Submission

Mon 20 June

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

see more

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 6 February, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 10 February.

Not quite ready?

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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