Writing a Novel (Online)
Our flagship course is for serious aspiring novelists ready to master the art of long-form narrative fiction, from wherever in the world you call home.
What do these levels mean?
- Start Date
- Application Deadline
- Sunday 12 Mar 2023
£500 / month for 4 months and a £750.00 deposit
View payment options
It's time to write that novel
Our refreshed and revised Writing a Novel online course is structured around four key learning modules: Story and Character, Structure, Plotting and the Publishing Process. Each module will focus on a series of fortnightly sessions covering core technical skills with progressive exercises designed to grow your confidence and knowledge as a writer, while supporting you working on your own novel.
Is this the right course for me?
Everybody has a novel inside them, right? Right. You’re already a natural born storyteller, which is why experience is neither necessary or particularly important. Whether this is your first venture into the world of the novel, or the novel is something you’ve already started to experiment with, our course has been designed to support you in both gaining new and exploring fresh perspectives on this biggest of writing adventures.
All we ask is that you feel ready to commit to the intensive but flexible seven-month course, and that you have a story you’re burning to tell.
Your technical learning journey will take place within small groups of no more than four peers. The focus here is on building an intimate, nurturing environment of peer support where you can safely be your most creative self. An environment where you can learn to constructively critique both your own novel in progress and the novels in progress of peers without feeling overwhelmed. Expect detailed ongoing feedback from both peers and your tutor. You will also enjoy monthly video-call contact time with your tutor, either as part of a group or in a one-to-one setting.
Your wider learning journey will be supported by group webinars giving you unprecedented access to industry experts: world-renowned authors (including Faber Academy alumni), and agents and editors at the top of their game. By the end of the course, you’ll not only have writing friends for life and access to our thriving alumni area – but the opening of your novel in perfect shape to submit to our Writing a Novel anthology, a publication hotly anticipated by all leading literary agents.
The seven-month course consists of fourteen two-week sessions, which you work through progressively with a small group of peers and your tutor. During each session you will also be expected to write 1000 words of your novel. There’s no need to log on at a certain time each week – as long as you complete the set assignments and peer feedback by the end of each fortnightly session, you can work at any time of the day or night.
Opens Monday 20 March
Opens Monday 3 April
Opens Monday 24 April
Creating & Developing Character...
Sarah May is the highly acclaimed author of seven novels, including The Nudist Colony, which was shortlisted for the Guardian...More About This Tutor
How to Apply
All applications are assessed by the online tutor team. Applying is easy: simply click on the 'Apply' button above to start. You will need to create an account with us (or log into an existing one), then upload the following documents:
Covering letter and book recommendation
Your covering letter should detail your writing experience, whether you have done any sort of writing course before, what you hope to gain from the course and why you want to do it now. Please also include a book recommendation (up to 200 words): which novel would you recommend to another writer, and why?
Synopsis (250–750 words)
A brief outline of your idea for a novel – include details about character, setting and events, and a working title if you have one.
An example of your prose (approx. 1,000 words)
This doesn't have to be from your proposed novel, but it’s useful if it represents your voice and genre.
The Faber Academy Scholarship Programme
There is a scholarship place available on this course for a writer who otherwise could not afford to attend. We particularly welcome applications from writers of colour, disabled writers and LGBTQ+ writers.
To apply, please email a covering letter and 1,000 words of prose (as Word docs or PDFs) to email@example.com, with the subject line ‘Scholarship Application: Writing a Novel (Online)’. The full terms and conditions and more information about our scholarship programme can be found below.
When I started the course, I was considering giving up on my dream of ever having a career as a writer [...] In my case, it's been life changing.
I took a rough plot outline to the Faber Academy Writing a Novel online course with the brilliant Tom Bromley. By the end of the course I had learnt so much and managed to complete a rough first draft.
I've been wanting to do this course for several years, and it more than lived up to expectations. It was genuinely one of the best things I've ever done, I absolutely loved it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course. It has given me confidence to pursue my writing. It was great being part of a supportive group [...] The added bonus is that the support continues as part of the alumni family. Thank you.
The atmosphere was incredibly friendly and inclusive. I have no complaints, and I've already started recommending the course to every writer I know!
Really glad I did it. It gave me the push and confidence boost I needed to get this novel well underway.
I didn't expect I'd get so attached to the other writers in my group, and I didn't expect I'd get so much feedback in each session! I also underestimated the impact of peer feedback, and how much it would help me grow as a writer.
Just this morning my husband commented on how I had changed in terms of the way I seem to approach writing now and the kinds of demand I make of myself. I think that that was/ is the real value of the course – encouraging individual writers to grow as writers, to forge ahead with confidence.
I was considering giving up on my dream of ever having a career as a writer [...] In my case, it's been life changing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have prior writing experience for this course?
This is an advanced course and so not suitable for writers who’d consider themselves beginners. That said, you don’t necessarily need to have taken any writing courses before – it’s absolutely fine if you’ve been writing on your own.
As well as making sure you’ve got a good grasp of the writing basics, our online team will also want to be sure your novel idea is reasonably developed – that doesn’t mean final or perfect or entirely plotted out (and it’s fine if it starts to change as you get further into the course!), but there should be enough potential story material there that you’ll be able to hit the ground running once the course starts. If they feel you might not be quite at that point, they may suggest you try our Kickstart Your Novel course first.
I'm going to be away for two weeks during the course. Will this be okay?
Generally speaking, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re not going to have reliable internet access where you’re going, or your plans mean you’ll have less time available, just let the online team know in advance and they’ll be able to set up early access to the relevant session so that you can work ahead or download course materials to take away with you. If you’re going to be unable to access the course for longer or more regular periods over the eight months, get in touch so we can advise how this might impact your experience.
How many hours per week do I need to dedicate to this course?
You’ll need to commit to at least five to seven hours each week in order to complete the practical tasks and work on your novel, and to read and give feedback on your peers’ writing.
How much contact will I have with my tutor?
You’ll have a lot of contact with your tutor in various forms during the course. These include three group Zoom webinars, recorded audio notes giving you one-to-one feedback on your first 2,000 words, two one-to-one Zoom tutorials, a written report on your first 15,000 words at the end of the course and three live Zoom Q&As with guest speakers and your tutor. They’ll also be in contact with the group during each fortnightly session via the forums.
How do you assign students to tutors?
We try our best to match you with a tutor with expertise in the genre you are writing in. While we take requests to work with a specific tutor into consideration, we can’t always guarantee that you will be in a group with your preferred tutor. No matter which class you’re placed in, all students will be working through the same course material.
How many classes are there?
It varies! Depending on the intake, we may recruit more tutors and add additional classes. Those teaching on the course may be different from what you see on the course page, but we make sure all our tutors are equally experienced in teaching.
How is the teaching delivered?
There’s a mix of formats used – recorded lectures, live webinars, written handouts, forum discussions, live tutorials and written exercises.
How much of my work will I get feedback on?
You’ll submit 1,000 words per fortnight to get peer feedback on. And you’ll have feedback from your tutor on your first 2,000 words near the beginning of the course and then the first 15,000 after the course has finished.
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