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Writing Your Novel – Three Months

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


Nov 15 2021 - Mar 07 2022


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


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 Simon Ings. Simon 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 135 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.

‘Simon set fascinating tasks on the forum which really got us thinking. I learnt so much about the emotional journey of my characters. The tutorials were extremely helpful, Simon was enthusiastic, constructive and really helped me to work out the structure/plot of my novel.
Tilly Rose, CBC alumna


Simon Ings, Author

Simon Ings is an author and critic based in London. His eight critically acclaimed novels include The Weight of Numbers and Dead Water - and the science fiction novels Hot Head and The Smoke; while his non-fiction includes Stalin and the Scientists and The Eye: A Natural History. As editor of New Scientist magazine's Arc project, he published Margaret Atwood, Kim Stanley Robinson and others. He writes an SF column for the Times, and was on the judging panel for the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. Simon has run workshops and classes for literary festivals and for the Arvon Foundation, and has been a tutor and editor on many of  Curtis Brown Creative's courses.


Editing on a computer

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.

Editing Your Novel

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.

Handwriting your novel

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.

Jonny Geller, 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. This is not a formal submission to the agency but a chance to give the agents a taste of your work at this stage.


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.


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 .

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.

Editing your novel

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 for assistance.

Course Schedule


Inspiration and Reading as Writers

Monday 15 Nov – Sunday 21 Nov

With videos from Anna Davis and Simon Ings

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Monday 22 Nov – Sunday 28 Nov

With videos from Laura Barnett

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Writing from Life

Monday 29 Nov – Sunday 5 Dec

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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Story, Plotting & Planning

Monday 6 Dec – Sunday 12 Dec

With videos from Andrew Michael Hurley

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Voice and Narrative Point of View

Monday 13 Dec – Sunday 19 Dec

With videos from Nikita Lalwani

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Winter Break

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Tuesday 4 Jan – Sunday 9 Jan

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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Monday 10 Jan – Sunday 16 Jan

With videos and notes from Anna Davis. You will be required to post your synopsis on the forum by 9am, Mon 17 Jan and feedback from one of our team of editors will follow before Mon 24 Jan


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Description, Tone & Style

Monday 17 Jan – Sunday 23 Jan

With videos from Laura Barnett

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Monday 24 Jan – Sunday 30 Jan

With videos from Suzannah Dunn

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Building Suspense

Monday 31 Jan – Sunday 6 Feb

With videos from Christopher Wakling

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Monday 7 Feb – Sunday 13 Feb

With videos from Christopher Walking

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Editing and Rewriting

Monday 14 Feb – Sunday 20 Feb

With videos from Simon Ings

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Agent Letter & Pitch Workshop

Monday 21 Feb – Sunday 27 Feb

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

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Course Conclusion

Monday 28 Feb – Sunday 6 March

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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End of Course Submission

Monday 7 March

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

Applications now closed

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 17 October, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 21 October.

Not quite ready?

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