How to write a novel

Course Dates: 07/11/24 - 21/11/24
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: Online
This course deals with all aspects of novel writing technique and prose style. Ideal for fiction writers about to begin a novel or those with a novel at early draft stage.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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How to write a novel
  • Course Code: HW667
  • Dates: 07/11/24 - 21/11/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 20:00
  • Taught: Thu, Evening
  • Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Thomas McMullan

Course Code: HW667

Choose a start date  

Thu, eve, 07 Nov - 21 Nov '24

Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)

Any questions?
or call 020 4582 0415

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course aims to demystify the art of novel-writing, equipping students with working methods for getting started on their own long-form fiction projects.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Point of view
Narrative drive
The writing life.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- draft a strong beginning for your novel
- understand the essentials of plot and structure
- appreciate the significance of archetypes in storytelling
- give and receive critical feedback on your work with sensitivity.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is aimed at people new to the craft of novel-writing, but interested in making a start. You will need a good grasp of spoken and written English to participate in the course.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The sessions will comprise a mixture of themed instruction, exercises and workshopping. There will be homework and additional challenges.

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.

City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Pen and paper (or digital equivalent).

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Students will be encouraged to take what they have learned and produced in the course of the term and start work on that novel they’ve always wanted to write! If you feel confident, you can also progress to Developing your novel. Check out our prospectus for further details.

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.

Thomas McMullan

Thomas McMullan is a writer and artist. His debut novel, The Last Good Man (Bloomsbury) won the 2021 Betty Trask Prize. His short fiction and poetry have been published in Granta, 3:AM Magazine and Best British Short Stories, and his journalistic work has appeared in publications including the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, Frieze and BBC News. He has also worked with theatre companies and games studios in London, Amsterdam and Los Angeles, including Punchdrunk, The Chinese Room and Roll7 (Bafta: Best British Game, 2023).

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.