Over 6 weeks your tutor will guide you through some of the key skills and writing techniques to help you write a great book. From initial inspiration through keeping your reader hooked right up to that great ending. Weekly homework tasks will help you practise what you are learning. Your tutor will give you feedback and advice throughout.
* Take the seeds of an idea and turn it into the foundations of a novel
* Build on that foundation to create a solid structure
* Develop compelling and complex characters
* Start editing your prose to give it greater clarity
* Begin to find your unique voice
You might start the course with no idea what you are going to write, but by the end of the 6 weeks you should have the beginnings of a story that can become a fully fledged novel and the tools to work on it by yourself."
I found Jessica to be a fantastic tutor who gave very good and sound advice. Some of it didn’t even register until I found myself writing after the course had finished and found myself implementing quite a few techniques that were taught on the course. L. Murphy
I most enjoyed the inspiration it gave me. I found my tutor kind and helpful and I felt that she encouraged everyone. She gave insightful and useful feedback . N. Sandeman
Jessica Ruston was an excellent tutor. I researched quite a few programs, both online and classroom courses here in Australia, and I selected Jess's course because she had multiple books published (and I enjoyed the read) as well as the actual topics. Jess is very good at encouraging students whilst giving constructive feedback. J. de Kretser
All professional writers get asked the question "Where do you get your ideas from?" We'll start off the course by trying to answer it. We'll look at: Recognising and developing ideas; Reading as a writer, and getting into good writing habits; Defining your idea through titles and outlines, and the role of planning.
Creating convincing, realistic characters that readers are compelled to find out more about is at the heart of successful novel writing.
We'll begin to build a character, looking at different ways you can approach this, what makes a successful character, how to develop your characters and begin to think about how character and plot interact - an issue that lies at the very heart of how to construct a compelling novel.
How do you create a compelling plot that keeps readers turning the page? We'll start to think about what makes a story a story as opposed to a series of events, introduce you to the idea of archetypal plots, and look at the roles of pacing, hooks and conflict all play in story-telling.
Once you know what your story is and who\'s in it, you need to start thinking about the best way to tell that story. Writing a novel means making a series of decisions about things like structure, point of view, genre, setting, time and place. We'll look at what the implications of these choices might be for your story.
This is where we get down to the nuts and bolts of writing. Dialogue, prose style, the elusive concept of 'voice', description, and the much-discussed 'show don't tell' will all be covered.
How many drafts should you write? How do you know when something is 'ready'? Many writers say that getting to the end of the first draft is just the start - that's when the real work begins. From structural editing to polishing your prose, we'll go through the stages involved in editing your novel. We'll also aim to give you a brief overview of how publishing works, and what to do with your novel once you've written it.
Jessica Ruston's (view author website) debut novel, Luxury, was published by Headline Review in July 2009, which has been described as a 'decadent blockbuster for the 21st century.'
She has written two non-fiction books, 'Heroines: The Bold, The Bad & The Beautiful', and 'How Small Groups can Raise Big Funds', as well as screenplays, magazine articles and stories for children. Her latest novel is 'To Touch the Stars'.
As well as writing, Jessica works for and is a director of independent publisher Long Barn Books. As the daughter of a novelist and a Professor of Shakespeare, she's been around books and writing her whole life, and has had various jobs in the arts and media.
Here's feedback from our course users.
Our courses are hosted on our own community site, The Word Cloud, which is a very friendly, intuitive and supportive writing community.
The tools and environment are very intuitive and easy to use: you won't have a problem. Each week, courses will include:
• A video introduction
• A written 'lecture'
• Interactive classroom discussion
• A writing exercise on the week's topic
• Feedback on your homework
All the course material can be accessed at any time of day or night. If you miss a few days, it will be easy to catch up. You are also warmly encouraged to interact with fellow-students - offer advice, give feedback and make friends. Find out more about how our courses work here.