Starting your novel
Time: 19:40 - 21:40
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW257
Available start dates
Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course will cover the basic aspects of novel writing, and is ideal for intermediate students who have an idea for a novel or a novel in progress. The syllabus will cover a wide variety of techniques including character, point of view, dialogue, structure and style. There is also an element of workshop in 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.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- Issues of craft and content, including character, point of view, structure and style
- Examination of technical elements including dialogue, scene-building, and effective writing on a sentence-by-sentence level
- Keeping the reader's interest
- Workshopping of students' work.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Respond to and assess pieces of writing with sensitivity
- Apply your critical and editorial skills more effectively
- Demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of techniques for effective prose writing
- Complete at least one chapter of your novel.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for those with some experience of writing fiction who wish to learn more about the craft of novel writing and begin or continue with a long-form project of their own. You should be an ethusiastic reader of novels.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You'll be taught through a systematic discussion of issues, problem-solving, writing exercises, and peer evaluation. 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 assigments 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?
Please bring pen and paper, and a page of your novel to the first session. You will be expected to submit work prior to class by a set deadline.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You can progress to Developing your novel, which will encourage you to share more of your work and explore craft concepts in greater depth.
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.