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The WW Writers' Springboard Course

6 weeks

Aimed at:
Anyone, any level



9th January 2018
10 Places available.
20th March 2018
11 Places available.
29th May 2018
11 Places available.

Course Overview

Dive in and get that Book or Short Story started!

This unique and innovative course gives participants the opportunity to continue their writing journey in a supportive and creative environment. It is aimed at those who (ideally) have already completed one of the ‘entry level’ courses available from Writers’ Workshop, such as ‘Reading for Writers’ or ‘Creative Writing 101’. ‘Writers’ Springboard’ gives students the chance and space to explore in depth the techniques that underpin fictional narrative prose, gaining a deeper understanding of the form and putting that knowledge into practice through guided writing exercises.

The course will culminate with participants producing an extended piece of prose fiction writing in the region of 2,500 words in length

Week One


At the heart of all memorable stories lie memorable characters, whether they are Jane Eyre, Inspector Morse, Jeeves or Harry Potter. In our first week, we will explore the ingredients needed to create believable, compelling characters and, through a series of in-depth exercises, begin to build the ones who will feature in your final piece of writing. 

Week Two

Conflict and Character Arcs

At the heart of all good stories lies conflict: it may be between individuals, nations or even different aspects of the same personality – but it is the engine that powers all good fiction. This week, we will analyse why it such a powerful tool and how you can use it to best effect in your writing. We will also examine the idea of ‘character arcs’ and work with the characters you have already created to ensure they grow and develop over the course of your story.

Week Three

Suspense and Narrative Structure

You have your characters…but what about the plot? This week, we will analyse how plot intersects with your characters’development and examine the essential building blocks for a structurally strong story line. We will also look at suspense: what it is, how it works and how you can use it to optimal effect in your writing. Intrigued? You will be.  

Week Four

Point of View and Voice

Who is telling your story? Is it you? A narrator? One of the characters? More than one of the characters? This week we will start by looking at point of view: how your choice of perspective will affect your reader’s experience and how you can use point of view for both comic and dramatic effect. We will also examine voice: why it matters – and how you can find your own, unique style. 

Week Five through to Week Six

Story Versus Discourse; Time to Dive into Your Writing; – Plus a Unique Q & A Opportunity

Is a strong narrative made up purely by events in the plot – or do we (the reader, viewer or listener) depend on other – much subtler – cues? In Week Five we will examine the differences between ‘story’ and ‘discourse’ and discover how powerful those underlying themes and suggestions can be and how we, as authors, can use them to enhance our writing. You will also begin work on a piece of prose fiction of approximately 2,500 words in length. This can either be a short story or the first chapter of a novel. Your course tutor will of course be on hand throughout to answer any queries and offer encouragement!

An Extra-Special Opportunity

Learn From A Literary Agent

At  The Writers’ Workshop, we take your ambitions to be a published author seriously. It’s our mission to give you access to the best industry advice as well as the best creative advice. As part of this unique course, top literary agent Sarah Manning from The Bent Agency will be available during Week Five to answer your burning questions about how to land that publishing contract in a very special question and answer session.   

 Following the end of the course you will have continued access to the group forum and to the wider Word Cloud community.

Course Syllabus


Week One


At the heart of all memorable stories lie memorable characters, whether they are Jane Eyre,Inspector Morse, Jeeves or Harry Potter. Participants will be introduced to the ingredients necessary for creating believable, compelling characters and,through a series of in-depth exercises, begin to create the characters who will feature in the final written exercise in Weeks 5-6.

Week Two

Conflict, Character Arcs and Point of View

At the heart of all good stories lies conflict. It may be conflict between individuals, between nations or even between different aspects of the same personality. Conflict can encompass an external threat or an internal contradiction – and it is the engine that powers all good fiction. Building on the characters we created in Week 1, we will plan how they will develop and change over the course of the narrative. We will also examine the idea of point of view and how this can be used to produce conflict and change the reader’s understanding of the narrative. Participants will then create internal and external conflicts for their main characters and write two short pieces of prose where an event is seen from two different points of view. 

Week Three

Plot Arcs and Narrative Structure

This week, participants will examine how plot and story intersect with the developing character arcs. They will look at the difference between ‘story’ and ‘narrative’ and then examine in depth the concepts of ‘act structure’, ‘midpoint’, ‘plot points’ and ‘pinchpoints’, using these to plan a full and detailed story synopsis. This synopsis can either be for a short story, or for a longer work, such as a novel or a novella.

Week Four

Voice, Description and Imagery

Once participants have developed an outline for their stories, we will focus on how those stories will be experienced by the reader – including how the elements of plot/conflict/point of view and character are integrated and how the participant can create a world for the reader to believe in. Participants will be expected to produce a sample of narrative prose in the region of 250-300 words.

Weeks Five and Six

Participants will be given two full weeks to produce an extended piece of prose narrative fiction of approximately 2,500 words in length. This can either be a short story or, if desired, the first chapter of a novel. During these two weeks, the tutor will be available to answer questions and the industry professional will be available in the final week for a Q&A session on ‘next steps’ and industry protocols.

 Following the end of the course participants will have continued access to their group forum and to the wider Word Cloud community.

Course Tutors

Allie Spencer

Allie Spencer is a former barrister turned award-winning author and creative writing tutor. She has had five romantic comedy novels published to date (two of which were shortlisted for the prestigious Melissa Nathan Award) and her teaching experience covers everything from leading large workshops to supporting new writers on an individual level through manuscript critiquing. She is passionate about all aspects of writing and literature and, as well as being a professional writer, has a scholarly background in the study of English.

Sarah Manning

Sarah is a literary agent at The Bent Agency. She is looking to actively build her list and represents adult fiction and narrative non-fiction. Sarah's taste is varied and she enjoys crime, thrillers, commercial women's through to accessible literary fiction and grounded speculative fiction.

Her publishing career started at Orion Publishing House where she worked on some big exciting titles including Gone Girl and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?. She then went on to work in script development for TV and film before becoming and agent's assistant at The Agency Group. Then at United Talent Agency and now THE BENT AGENCY she is excited to build her own list of bestselling authors.

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.