What is the course about?
This one-term course for experienced creative writers explores the essential techniques of novel writing. If you've started writing your novel, this course will help you to shape your material into a coherent whole, and teach you to develop believable characters, structure scenes, and edit your own work.
Students say: "I loved the stimulating atmosphere and the motivating comments from the workshop"; "There was critical feedback encouraging excellence"; "Very inspiring"; "It was encouraging, challenging and affirming."
The Tutor: Jonathan Barnes is the author of three novels. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review and has contributed to the Arts pages of The Lancet. He is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. He is also the author of several full-cast audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, featuring characters from Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein and Doctor Who.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
- Developing techniques for novel writing
- The art of constructive criticism and editing your own work
- Creating and honing a character
- Beginnings, endings, and everything in between
- Methods to thwart writers’ block.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Improve your plotting and editing skills
- Produce a significant portion of your novel.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is not a beginners' class. It is best suited for students who have already attended creative writing courses and
have made significant progress writing a draft of a novel. You should be an enthusiastic reader of novels.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Some exercises will be set and hand-outs analysed, but the main focus will be on students' own work. You will be expected to develop your own writing outside of class and prepare work for submission to workshop. The tutor may set reading and writing exercises designed to support your project as homework.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Pens and writing paper. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to use during in-class writing exercises if you feel it will help you.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You can progress to Ending your novel or, if you feel ready to submit your work for rigorous constructive feedback, you can move on to Advanced fiction writing workshop.
Our Craft Focus series is also available to writers who wish to focus on an isolated element of fiction writing craft. We offer short intensive courses in developing character, plot, setting, point of view, and more. See our website or contact the department for advice on how you can develop a programme of fiction writing study.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details