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How to Write a Novel

Learn how to structure and develop the first draft of your novel – whether it’s crime, fantasy, young adult, children’s fiction or any other genre.

Over 14 weeks of teaching and one-to-one feedback you’ll work towards completing a draft, and see an extract of your work published and distributed to Penguin Random House editors.

£799 £719 until 26th February

Delivery Online
Tutors Barbara Henderson
Duration 14 weeks
Time Commitment 5–10 hours per week
Payment Options In full, or in three monthly instalments
Next Course Date 12th March
Future Course Dates 2018 7th May



How to Write a Book: Constructing a Novel course benefits

Find Your Voice

Develop your own style and voice, produce a firm outline and structure for your novel and make significant progress with your first draft.

One-to-One Feedback

Gain a practical approach to the process of writing a book, combining the teaching of essential techniques with one-to-one feedback and case studies.

See Your Work in Print

Have a 3,000 word extract from your prospective novel included in a limited edition anthology and distributed to Penguin Random House Editors.

Course Contributors

Throughout the online book-writing course you’ll have access to videos, podcasts, articles and interviews from best-selling and award-winning author contributors such as Ian McEwan, Joanne Harris and Sophie Kinsella.

Weekly Overview

  • Week 1: So, What Kind of Novel?
    So, how to start writing a book? Discover the different forms a novel can take, and decide which of these you'll choose for your story.
  • Week 2: The Story World
    Develop an entire world. Use your imagination and learn how to write a story world for your novel.
  • Week 3: Research
    Discover the different types of research that writers undertake, and how proper research can ensure that your novel-writing is accurate, multi-layered and original.
  • Week 4: The Writing Process
    Avoid writer's block by establishing a routine that will assist you when writing a novel.
  • Week 5: Narrative Voice
    Narrative voice encapsulates both perspective and tone of voice. Find a voice for your novel that engages readers.
  • Week 6: Structure and Organising Your Ideas
    Having an effective structure allows you to finish a first draft and leaves you with nothing to worry about but the words. Look at a number of possible structures that you can apply to your novel and adapt to your needs.
  • Week 7: Choosing Your Words
    Investigate effective writing styles and consider how the language you use can have a distinct effect on your reader.
  • Week 8: Pacing and Momentum
    It is crucial that your plot captivates your reader. Learn how to sustain your reader’s attention for the duration of your novel.
  • Week 9: The Soft Middle
    Look in detail at the mid point of a novel; a common setback for many writers.
  • Week 10: The Last Chapter
    Start exploring how your novel will end.
  • Week 11: Beginnings
    Investigate the opening chapters of various different novels to help you perfect the beginning of your own story.
  • Week 12: Making Your Novel Cohere
    Bring together the completed elements of your novel to create a unified whole from disparate parts.
  • Weeks 13 and 14: Writing
    Use the remaining two weeks to work on longer extracts and to reflect on your writing before submitting it to be bound in a limited edition anthology containing an extract of each course participant’s work.

Tips from Our Expert Novelists

Many critically-acclaimed, bestselling and award-winning novelists have contributed to our Constructing a Novel course.

We interviewed some of them about writing books, their own first book and asked what advice they would give to new writers regarding how to write a book.

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