Writing fiction

Course Dates: 19/04/21 - 05/07/21
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: Online

Lovers of fiction can develop their creative writing skills on this practical intermediate course. You'll explore the fundamentals of fiction writing craft such as character and structure, and unlock your imagination to produce compelling prose. Suitable for those with some creative writing experience.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

This course invites you to consider various aspects of fiction, including character, structure, and point of view. Published work will be read and discussed so you can discover how and why it succeeds in telling an involving story. This is a very hands-on, practical course, and exercises in class will stimulate your imagination and get you producing fiction of your own. Your writing will be critically appraised and you'll gain confidence, skill, and insight into the creative process.

Students say: "I appreciated the interaction with other writers, the feedback received and the experience of the tutor"; "everyone was friendly, open-minded and supportive"; "it gave me the chance to experiment with new writing styles"; "I have taken a lot away from this course.".

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?

- Techniques for telling a great story, including structure, dialogue, characterisation and point-of-view
- How to read critically and to apply the lessons learnt to your own writing
- How to transform personal experience into fiction
- How to give and use constructive criticism.

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

- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Finish at least one piece of fiction writing, and know its strengths and weaknesses
- Continue to produce work on a regular basis.

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

This is an intermediate course suitable for students who have taken Ways into creative writing at City Lit or a similar course elsewhere. You will need to be an enthusiastic reader of prose fiction and feel comfortable sharing your work with others. Suitable only for students with reading and writing fluency in English.

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

A combination of writing exercises, presentations by your tutor, analysis of published writing, and group discussions. There is a strong emphasis on producing your own work and your tutor will set short reading and writing assignments to be completed at home.

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?

Paper and pens or pencils. You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet for use during in-class writing exercises if it will help you.

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

You may wish to consider another intermediate creative writing course at City Lit such as Starting your novel or Short story writing. Alternatively, if you feel ready to submit your work for rigorous constructive feedback you are welcome to enrol in one of our Advanced fiction writing workshops.

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.


Customer Reviews 13 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

It's great if you want to write a short story, but I don't feel I know how to plan out my chapters or know how actually to plot out my novel. The workshops only really work on feedback for making a great short story.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 12/03/2020)
Highly recommend . Tutor very encouraging and helping you do better
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 26/11/2019)
Worth doing
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 22/11/2019)
It's very helpful, you will learn a lot and get really helpful feedback.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 04/07/2019)
Excellent tutor who facilitates a supportive environment for constructive feedback. My writing has improved enormously!
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Review by Paul / (Posted on 26/06/2019)
If you want to write and don't know how do this course
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Review by Jack / (Posted on 24/06/2019)
This class is a great overview of all the core concepts of writing stories. It was also a great environment to build my confidence in my writing and really a wonderful jumping off point.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 14/03/2019)
Unless they were an absolute beginner then this is not the course. Not enough feedback
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 12/12/2018)
I thoroughly enjoyed this course and learnt a lot both from the teaching and workshopping. Be prepared to work hard, but it's worth it!
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 06/12/2018)
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Review by Cors / (Posted on 04/12/2018)
This course is designed to cover all bases when writing fiction. I found all the students, on the one I attended, to be of a very high standard in terms of writing skill. Each week covers a different issue, plot, character, scene, using a mixture of exercises and class discussion. You are encouraged to continue work on your own masterpiece and the weekly themes give an excellent opportunity to review all the issues you should be considering whilst writing. I have already been writing for a while but still found that I learnt a great deal. I also found that the inclusive generosity of both of my tutors meant that the students formed a supportive, inclusive group who were very open to each other's suggestions and feedback. There was the opportunity to have larger sections of work reviewed and also a few weekly opportunities for extra feedback. Overall I couldn't fault this course and felt it was of enormous value for a very good price. The tutors have an acute understanding of what does, and doesn't work in fiction. I found both to give feedback, to myself and other students, that was both insightful and from which I learnt a great deal.
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Review by Loopygoose / (Posted on 01/07/2018)
I loved the supportive, inclusive atmosphere and sense of community on this course. The tutor was very engaging and the feedback was helpful and inspiring. Lots of fun!
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Review by DL / (Posted on 09/02/2018)
This course is a good option as a starter course for those looking to start working on any kind of fiction, but less good if you are seeking feedback on more 'developed' pieces of work, simply because the size of the class (18 people) simply does not allow for regular feedback sessions.
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Review by Priya / (Posted on 22/01/2018)
Tutor Biographies
Jonathan Barnes

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.

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.

Book your place

Course Code: HW035

Please choose a course date 

Mon, day, 19 Apr - 05 Jul '21

Duration: 10 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £199.00
Concession: £80.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions? writing@citylit.ac.uk
or call 020 7492 2717

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