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How To Write A Novel Beginners

(3 Customer Reviews)

6 weeks

Aimed at:
All levels



9th January 2017
12 Places available.
20th March 2017
12 Places available.
19th June 2017
12 Places available.

Course Overview

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.

On this course you will learn how to:

* 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."

Fabulous feedback on this course:

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

Course Syllabus

Week One - Ideas

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.

Week Two - Character

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.

Week Three - Story, Plot and Narrative

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.

Week Four - Structure

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.

Week Five - Style

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.

Week Six - Editing and the Business of Publishing

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.

Course Tutors

Jessica Ruston

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.

Course Feedback

Here's feedback from our course users.

Average Course Rating:
(3 Customer Reviews)
5 Star
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1 Star

Customer Reviews
Motivating but not as challenging as it could have been 4th October 2016
By Nicola Madge
First of all, the course was very useful in encouraging me to get writing! I enjoyed the course but I would have liked it to have been more challenging, particularly in the early weeks. I would have liked to have been stretched more and think we could have been asked to do more homework than we were, and write more. The feedback from Jess on what we did do was, however, helpful. There was almost no interaction between participants and I would have welcomed more group discussions on The Wall. I did try raising an issue myself, but this did not lead to anything. This suggests that discussion topics should be tutor-led. I think these would be very helpful and give more of a sense of belonging to a tutorial group. The overview of the course suggested there would be some guidance on publication. I appreciate that we were not really ready for this. Perhaps the syllabus should be amended to reflect the actual course content? Overall I think that the course was poor value for money given the limited amount of input per student by the tutor.
Better than I could have wished for.6th September 2016
By Geoffrey Riddell
I was a bit apprehensive when I signed up for the course, but there was absolutely no need to be. Jess Fulton is a tutor you would want (need?) to guide you through the initial processes of writing a novel. Her six steps are well laid out and clearly defined. I certainly did appreciate the observations and comments Jess made about my writing and it got me thinking more deeply about what I need to do. The video presentations were especially welcome as Jess is articulate and someone you can listen to without being distracted. Thank you to Writers' Workshop and to Jess Fulton.
Course feedback28th November 2016
By Annemarie Fletcher
I enjoyed the course but it wasnt what I expected. In the first two weeks I sent you an email with my concerns, I didn't receive a direct response from you which surprised me and was abit disappointed you just forwarded my email to Jess. I expected alot more interaction from the course as stated in my email. It was very much a case of being given a course brief each week and submitting homework for review which was fairly short. As stated I did enjoy the course and learnt however I m not sure it was worth the money and could have got the same material from a few books. Im not sure whether the course was suitable hence my original query or perhaps my expectations were unrealistic.

How our online courses work

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.