Kickstart Your Novel Kickstart Your Novel Kickstart Your Novel

Kickstart Your Novel

Take your writing to the next level, and develop both the technical skill and the narrative momentum to really get stuck into your novel.


Starting out

What do these levels mean?




8 weeks
  • Start Date
  • Time
  • Flexible (see Course Schedule)

Spaces left


24 in stock


Always wanted to write a novel? Start here

Whether you have a new novel idea you’d like to flesh out or are looking to hone your craft as a writer, this practical course will help you explore your potential as a novelist. Spend eight weeks with a small group of fellow writers stress-testing your ideas, broadening your palette of techniques and finding a narrative to sustain your vision. You’ll emerge with the first chapter of a novel and an hard-working synopsis to help you take your ideas forward.

Is this the right course for me?

If you want to write a novel but feel daunted by the task ahead, this course is the perfect foundation. You'll perfect your plot and make sure you have all the technical knowledge you need to get started.

This course makes a good next step from our Beginners’ Fiction course, or as preparation for Writing a Novel.

Each week you’ll receive valuable feedback from your close-knit group, while finetuning your self-editing skills by responding to other writers’ work. There are weekly group webinars or Q&A sessions with your tutor, plus a live chat with a guest novelist. At the end of the course you’ll have a one-to-one tutorial with your tutor to discuss your synopsis, story idea and how to take your novel to the next stage.

Every session features downloadable tutor notes and podcast lectures, guided reading and analysis, practical exercises and prompts to keep you writing, as well as exclusive interviews with leading novelists. You’ll have dedicated private forums and chatrooms to discuss your work in confidence 24/7, along with around-the-clock moderator support.

    This course is a flexible one, meaning that each session – with the exception of the last, longer one – is open for one week. During that week you're free to work through the materials, join in the discussion and upload your work at any time that suits you. Any live element (webinars with your tutor and your guest Q&A) within a session will have timings confirmed once the course begins, though these usually take place 7–8 p.m. UK time.

Course Programme

Session 1

17 January – 22 January

Ideas and Inspiration...

Session 2

23 January – 29 January

Character is Plot...

Session 3

30 January – 5 February

Point of View and Tense...

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Kickstart Your Novel

Session 1

17 January – 22 January

Ideas and Inspiration

In this opening session, we’ll look at where writers get their ideas and which types of ideas work best in the long form of a novel. There are practical ways to test whether your idea will sustain a full work of fiction, plus exercises to get your fiction motor running and help you assess which of your ideas are worth developing.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 2

23 January – 29 January

Character is Plot

Some novel writers start with story. Others begin with a character. In a good novel both are interlinked. In this session we’ll focus on characterisation and those first steps in developing a protagonist your reader will care about, with practical exercises to help you uncover plot from character.

Q&A session with the tutor.

Session 3

30 January – 5 February

Point of View and Tense

Which viewpoint should I choose and which tense should I use for my story? In this session we’ll look at two of the most common questions new novel writers ask, and try out first person and third, present tense and past. We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each, and work out which are right for this particular story.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 4

6 February – 12 February

Story and Structure

How do you develop a sustained narrative from the starting points you’ve established? In this session we’ll look at some of the basic rules of plotting and try out practical techniques novelists use to stitch together their narratives. We’ll also explore how much – and how little – other novel writers plan before getting stuck in.

Q&A session with the tutor.

Session 5

13 February – 19 February

Write Your Synopsis

What is a synopsis and why do you need one at this early stage of writing? In this session we’ll look at the role of the synopsis as a touchstone at different stages in the novel-writing process, and try out formulas that work.

Live group webinar with the tutor.

Session 6

20 February – 26 February

Your Opening Pages

Why are the first line, paragraph and page are so important for the novel writer? We’ll look at how different writers use their opening pages to set out what their novels are about and why the reader should care enough to read on, before you work on your own opening pages.

Final one-to-one tutorial with the tutor to discuss your story idea, synopsis and next steps.

Session 7

27 February – 12 March (two weeks)

Writing Time

Two weeks of quiet writing time as you focus on your final assignment: applying the ideas and techniques you have explored through the course to write the opening chapter (or sample) of your novel idea.

This session also features tips on establishing a writing practice, and on honing your craft and overcoming common writerly pitfalls: active vs passive verbs, adverbs, speech markers, formatting, etc.

Live Q&A webinar with guest novelist.


Photo of Susmita Bhattacharya

Susmita Bhattacharya

Susmita has been a professional writer and teacher since 2005. She won the Winchester Writers’ Festival Memoir Prize in 2016 and her novel...

More About This Tutor
Susmita Bhattacharya

Frequently Asked Questions

What level do I need to be at to take this course?

This course is described as ‘improving’ and its focus is on honing your existing fiction skills and adding to your knowledge of the craft. This means you don’t need to have any experience writing a novel – and you don’t need to have started yours yet – but you will need to have an idea (or several ideas) for one you’d like to write. If you have already started writing your novel, that’s okay too – although if you feel you’re at a more advanced stage in the process, you could consider Writing a Novel instead.

How much time do I need to commit to this course?

We’d usually recommend setting aside five to seven hours per week for this course. If you have more time to spare for your own writing, that’s a bonus!

Browse the Reading Room

From author interviews and writing tips to creative writing exercises and reading lists, we've got everything you need to get started – and to keep going.

Announcing Faber Academy Newcastle Read More
Announcing Faber Academy Newcastle
Writing Prickly Female Protagonists

Writing a Novel alumna Ania Bas on writing the main character of her debut novel, published earlier

Read More
My Road to Publication… And What I Learned Along the Way

The author of Honey and Me (published by Scholastic Press) on how her book came to be

Read More

For more information, message us or call 0207 927 3827