Developing your novel
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: HW207
Choose a start date
Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
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.
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.".
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 on a draft of a novel (at least 30,000 words). You should be an avid reader of novels.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Your tutor will set exercises to support your work-in-progress, and you will be expected to analyse excerpts of published material, however, 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.
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?
Pens and writing paper.
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.
Sarah Leipciger’s debut novel, The Mountain Can Wait, was published in 2015 with Tinder Press in the UK and Little, Brown in the US. She has had short stories shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Fish Prize and the Asham Award, and is a past winner of THIS Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. She has also written non-fiction for The Guardian and The Toronto Star. She has facilitated workshops at several literature events, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and has been teaching fiction and life writing to young people and adults in prisons since 2003; she is currently the Creative Writing tutor at HMP Brixton in London. Her second novel, Coming Up for Air, will be published in February 2020 with Doubleday UK and House of Anansi Press in Canada. Doubleday UK has also procured her third novel, with a release date TBA. She is a PhD student in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University.
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.