Story development workshop

Course Dates: 18/04/18 - 27/06/18
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tutor: Neil Arksey

Would you like help developing your big idea? Before you get stuck into the hard slog of a long-term writing project, make sure you have all the right ingredients and gain invaluable feedback in this workshop.

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Story development workshop


What is the course about?

Whatever your audience, whatever genre you’ve chosen, writing a full-length novel or screenplay is a huge task requiring a lot of time and commitment. This workshop-based course aims to give participants the opportunity to articulate their idea for a long-term writing project and, through feedback from fellow writers and the professional experience of the tutor, develop, revise and refine that idea into a coherent outline that contains all the elements required for such a full-length work to succeed. Once that has been achieved, it also provides the opportunity for writers to get support and feedback on their ongoing writing.

The Tutor
Author and screenwriter Neil Arksey has had a number of novels for children and young adults published by Penguin Random House. His writing has been shortlisted for and won a number of prizes. He has also worked for two decades in film and TV drama as a screenwriter, script and story editor, head writer and producer. He teaches at the London Film School.

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, summarising and pitching an idea
- Brainstorming, plotting and outlining
- Planning and structuring
- Organising a writing routine.

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

- Pitch your ideas more confidently
- Write a coherent and well structured outline
- Move to the next stage with a full-length writing project.

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

This course is intended for those individuals who have undertaken some smaller writing projects such as short stories or short film scripts, and have an idea for a bigger full-length project –such as a work of fiction or feature film script - that they would like to develop or are in the process of developing.

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

- Group discussion and feedback on writing
- Tutor input
- Writing and revising exercises in class, and 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?

No other costs. You need access to email – students will be expected to email their work to other class members in advance when it’s their turn to share their work. Bring your idea, a notebook, paper and writing materials, enthusiasm, open-mindedness and determination.

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

You may wish to take a dedicated course on writing novels or fiction of various kinds. When you're ready, you can progress to one of our advanced critical workshops and receive feedback on your first draft.

All students are invited to join us at City Lit Talks Back, our monthly performance night for City Lit writers. Everyone is welcome, admission is free and there's no need to book in advance. Visit for more details or if you're interested in reading your work. Students are also encouraged to submit to Between the Lines, our annual anthology. Learn more at 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


Customer Reviews 3 item(s)

Write a review
My first term on this course and just what I was looking for at this stage in my writing project. I feel I have moved on quite a bit and been pleasantly surprised by positive feedback. I also like written comments from the tutor and fellow students which are useful to refer back to when redrafting work. I will return!
Course Rating
Review by MG / (Posted on 13/07/2017)
The course will help with all stages of writing a novel, film script or play, from the 'log line' and synopsis through to the textual content. Receiving feedback on your work from other writers and the tutor is invaluable in an ongoing project. The group usually comprises a diverse mix of people and projects and has a great atmosphere.
Course Rating
Review by JH / (Posted on 13/07/2017)
An extremely good course. There's no formal teaching nor literary criticism exercises. You work on your own writing, share it, listen to others' work, and give useful feedback.

The tutor is a published author and screenwriter, and provides kind and useful guidance throughout.

I know I wouldn't have stuck at my writing project without this course.
Course Rating
Review by Sally P / (Posted on 31/03/2017)

This course has now started

Course Code: HW301

Started Wed, day, 18 Apr - 27 Jun '18

Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £189.00
Senior fee: £189.00
Concession: £76.00
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Please note: Different fees may apply for international students. Read full guidance.