Writing a Novel (Online) Writing a Novel (Online) Writing a Novel (Online)

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.

Level

i
Advanced

What do these levels mean?

Location

i
Online

Length

i
6 month +
  • Start Date
  • Time
  • Flexible
  • Application Deadline
  • Sunday 12 Mar 2023

30
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£2750

£2750

£500 / month for 4 months and a £750.00 deposit

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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.

Course Programme

Session 1

Opens Monday 20 March

Novel Beginnings...

Session 2

Opens Monday 3 April

Understanding Story...

Session 3

Opens Monday 24 April

Creating & Developing Character...

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Writing a Novel (Online)

Session 1

Opens Monday 20 March

Novel Beginnings

Meet your writing community as we kick off the course with a live group zoom led by your tutor! You will also be allocated your Module 1 smaller study group or pod, comprising a maximum of four students. On the technical front, this initial session will help you to understand and grow your own writing practice while focussing on the all-important question, ‘where should I begin?’.

Session 2

Opens Monday 3 April

Understanding Story

We’ll look at ways in which you can stress test your story idea while exploring the elementals of good story telling.

Session 3

Opens Monday 24 April

Creating and Developing Character

Get up close and personal with your characters. Learn how to grow intimacy with them while creating complex, fully formed characters that will evolve as your story develops. We also have our first live Q&A webinar with an author during this session.

Session 4

Opens Monday 8 May

Active Characters

Looking at the relationship between character and plotting, as well as ways in which to make your characters truly compelling. During this session you will also receive feedback on the opening 2000 words of your novel from both your tutor and the three fellow writers in your pod.

Session 5

Opens Monday 22 May

Structuring Narrative

Why structure matters: we’ll explore the key structural options writers must choose from while learning how to build the narrative framework that best serves our story. This session includes the second live group zoom with your tutor. You will also be allocated your Module 2 smaller study group or pod, comprising a maximum of four students.

Session 6

Opens Monday 5 June

Passage of Time

A deep dive into one of structure’s key elements: managing time in your novel, and the impact this can have on pace.

Session 7

Opens Monday 19 June

Point of View and Voice

Whose story is it, anyway? Decisions around point of view are among the most important a writer makes. Who is telling your story, and why? We’ll also look at the connection between point of view and voice, your writer’s DNA. Plus, we have our second live Q&A webinar with a debut author/Faber Academy alumna.

Session 8

Opens Monday 3 July

Dialogue

Whether you love it or hate it, this session will help you master the art of dialogue in all its guises both verbal and non-verbal. You will also receive further feedback on the next 3000 words of your novel from both your tutor and the three fellow writers in your pod.

Session 9

Opens Monday 17 July

Plotting

Unlock your novel’s potential with the essentials of plotting; using beat sheets, a plot template and a variety of approaches that reflect the many different schools of thought on plotting. This session includes a live group zoom with your tutor. You will also be allocated your Module 3 smaller study group or pod, once again comprising a maximum of four students.

Session 10

Opens Monday 31 July

Conflict

Learn how to deploy and manipulate narrative conflict to maximum effect: raising the stakes and revealing character to increase tension and urge your story forwards.

Session 11

Opens Monday 14 August

Working With Scenes

Being able to structure the perfect scene lies at the heart of novel writing. Equip yourself with the necessary toolkit needed to understand how and why a scene works. When to get in and when to get out, and the impact good scene writing has on pace. We also have a live Q&A webinar with an editor during this session.

Session 12

Opens Monday 11 September

Pace

How do you keep a reader invested and immersed in your story? How do you ensure that they keep turning the page? This session will uncover the mysteries of pace: when to speed things up as well as understanding why slowing things down at just the right moment can have a positive impact on pace. You will also receive further feedback on the next 3000 words of your novel from both your tutor and the three fellow writers in your pod.

Session 13

Opens Monday 25 September

Editing

Get to grips with the all-important process of editing while equipping yourself with the necessary toolkit to challenge your story, interrogate your novel’s structure, and tighten your prose. Learn why editing can be just as creative as writing. This session includes a live Q&A webinar with an agent. You will also be allocated your Module 4 smaller study group or pod, once again comprising a maximum of four students.

Session 14

Opens Monday 9 October

Pitches and Synopses

This is the final session on the course: an in-depth exploration of the publishing process from the world of agents to the novel in the marketplace. Explore genres, learn to write a killer pitch and query letter, hone your synopsis, and review your submission for the course anthology. During this session you will also benefit from a one-to-one with your tutor.

Tutors

sarah-may-tutor

Sarah May

Sarah May is the highly acclaimed author of seven novels, including The Nudist Colony, which was shortlisted for the Guardian...

More About This Tutor
Sarah May

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 academy@faber.co.uk, 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.

Find out more

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.

Julie Owen Moylan, author of That Green-Eyed Girl

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.

Asia Mackay, author of Killing It

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.

Nicola Greene

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.

Student

The atmosphere was incredibly friendly and inclusive. I have no complaints, and I've already started recommending the course to every writer I know!

Student

Really glad I did it. It gave me the push and confidence boost I needed to get this novel well underway.

Student

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.

Student

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.

Student

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.

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.

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

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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

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For more information, message us or call 0207 927 3827