"This course helped me to get deeper and deeper into my ideas for my novel while giving me the inspiration, support and framework for writing it."
Ruth Pedley, Pilot Novel Course
We’re ambitious for your work and we will ask that you are ambitious too. We will take you seriously as writers and we will ask that you do the same. We can’t promise you the Booker Prize, but we can promise that if you put in the hours on this course and apply what you learn, you’ll emerge a significantly better writer.
We designed this course specifically to take you from wherever your writing is at right now to a completed, professionally edited draft.
But our aim is not just to get one book out of you - because we focus on the underlying principles of storytelling which can transform inspirations into polished, meaningful forms again and again, our aim is to make you better writers, to teach you how to edit your own work, and to give you a career. What you’ll learn can be applied to all the novels you’ll write in the future.
Give a girl a fish and she’ll eat for a day, teach her how to fish and she’ll eat forever.
This comprehensive online course helps you to take your idea and turn it into a complete draft with tailored one-to-one mentoring and feedback all the way. Novel writing is both an art and a craft with tools, processes and techniques to learn and this course will teach you all the key elements of craft that go into a novel, as well as encouraging the development of your own unique and individual voice for your career as a writer.
Because we keep our overheads very low, you’ll get more mentoring hours and more close attention. And because we limit the number of students we take on you can be sure that you’ll be part of a supportive peer group with as much or as little peer reviewing of your work as you want.
Our course tech is simple, easily navigable and designed to be functional, sociable and helpful. And as well as a completed novel, you’ll get teaching and support to craft an industry-ready submission package to send out your work.
Designed and delivered by Amanda Saint and CM Taylor, it’s for writers of all genres in adult and young adult fiction who want to understand the fundamentals of storytelling and learn how to write tighter, more compelling drafts with memorable characters.
"An excellent course. Each tutorial brought into focus different aspects of creating a successful novel. It made my writing stronger as I was guided through the novel-writing process."
Sallie Anderson, Pilot Novel Course
As a writer
Amanda's debut novel, As If I Were A River, was longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016. Her second novel, Remember Tomorrow, published in March 2019 to critical acclaim. Amanda’s flash fictions have been widely published; longlisted in the Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, Fish Flash Fiction Prize, and Ink Tears Short Story Prize; shortlisted for the Flash 500; and won the Editor’s Choice Prize at 101 Words. Her collection, Flashes of Colour, is publishing in 2020, and she is now working on a novella-in-flash.
As a teacher and publishing professional
Amanda is the founder of, commissioning editor and publisher at the award-winning Retreat West Books (Most Innovative Publisher 2020 Saboteur Awards), which publishes novels, memoirs and short fiction. She has been designing and teaching online courses, and live workshops, for many years and has worked as an editor on hundreds of manuscripts.
As a writer
Craig's novels Premiership Psycho (Corsair, 2011) and Group of Death (Corsair, 2012) form two-thirds of a satirical trilogy described as 'Brilliant' by The Sun, and 'Horribly entertaining' by The Mirror. They've been optioned for TV by Plan B, with Craig writing the pilot. He's been nominated for the British Science Fiction book of the year, while his comedy drama Staying On (Duckworth, 2018) has been described as 'a trademark sweet-and-sour Mike Leigh film in novel form'. He co-wrote the thriller film Writers Retreat which was premiered at the Sitges International Film Festival and he continues to be commissioned to write scripts for TV and film.
As a teacher and publishing professional
Craig works as a freelance editor of fiction for a variety of publishers, and is a Senior Lecturer at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing. He has taught hundreds of creative writers, in one to one development settings, as well as in classes and workshops, including at the Manchester Children’s Book Festival and at the British Library. His particular enthusiasm and passion is for helping writers develop their understanding of the underlying structures of narrative art.
"The exercises within this course are excellent; the tutors supportive and knowledgable; and I recommend it highly. It cemented my own good intentions to finish writing a book to the best of my ability, and gave me the structure and the benefit of experience that I didn’t have working on my own."
Joely Dutton, Pilot Novel Course
We kick the course off with an online video hello so you can meet your tutors and your fellow students; and we end the course with an online video event attended by agents and publishers, where you pitch your work and they give you feedback.
Throughout the year you’ll get 33 tutorials across 8 modules covering the key aspects of the art of storytelling as it pertains to novel writing.
The course modules have been designed to lead you through the writing or revising of a draft, building on each element as you go and showing you how to apply the tools and processes to your writing as you progress.
Each module includes exercises specifically designed to get you writing what you have just learned and they are an integral part of your novel's development. The scenes you write for the exercises are designed to form a part of your draft rather than being separate from the novel.
The course starts in September with breaks for Christmas, Easter and the Summer holidays. There's a dedicated writing week between each module where you can focus on getting words on the page and applying what you’ve just learned.
Designed to fit round all the other commitments you have in your life, you can access the tutorials at any time that suits you best and write when it works for you. You’ll have monthly deadlines for submitting work, which is great if you struggle with accountability or motivation with your writing, but how you work in order to meet them is up to you.
Mentoring and feedback
You’ll be mentored by one of the course tutors and each of the first five modules includes a 1-1 mentoring session via phone or video call, as well as an introductory session to get to know each other.
Mentoring sessions will be at least 30 minutes long and will take as long as is needed to communicate the main developmental points for each module in relation to the work you have submitted for feedback. Plus you get editorial feedback on the complete draft you produce during the course, to help you take it to the next level.
On completing your draft you’ll have agreed with your mentor the most useful and appropriate form for your professional editorial feedback to take. This might include:
- full editorial feedback from your mentor, either verbally, face to face, written, or a combination, whatever feels right for you;
- or editorial feedback from an alternative specialist writer, editor or agent operating in your genre;
- or a line edit with comments made directly on your manuscript (don't worry you'll know what a line edit is by then!).
There’ll be an online forum where you can chat with your course mates and share work for peer-to-peer feedback. This is also where there will be a live Q&A for each module so you can question the tutors about what you’ve been learning.
You’ll learn how to put together a professional submission package and get the chance to pitch your idea to literary agents and indie publishers during an online event at the end of the course.
"If you're writing a novel or considering writing one, this course has all you need with it's structured exercises, Q and A sessions, regular feedback and full support to get your novel written."
Val Griffin, Pilot Novel Course
The Writer's Toolkit - Part One / Tutor: CM TaylorFREE PREVIEW
The Writer's Toolkit - Part Two / Tutor: CM Taylor
The Easy 10-Point Plot / Tutor: Amanda SaintFREE PREVIEW
Discovering Your Characters and World-Building / Tutor: Amanda SaintFREE PREVIEW
If you are making payment in full, the balance is due on booking to reserve your space.
If you are using the instalment plan a 10% non-refundable deposit is due on booking to reserve your space. Payments for the balance of the course fee will commence in August 2020 with the last payment due in April 2021.
If your application is accepted but you do not make payment then, your space on the course is not confirmed and you could potentially lose it as other applicants are approved and the course fills up.
If you are unable to start the course, you can withdraw up to 60 days prior to the start date. If you have paid in full, you will receive a full refund minus the 10% non-refundable deposit. If you have signed up on the instalment plan, your deposit will be retained as our administration fee.
For withdrawals less than 60 days prior to the course start date, you will receive a refund only if we can re-sell the space. If you have paid in full, and we re-sell your space, you will receive a full refund minus the 10% non-refundable deposit. If you have signed up on the instalment plan, your deposit will be retained as our administration fee and any additional instalments paid will be returned if we can re-sell your space.
We cannot accept withdrawals after the course start date, and any instalment payments due remain mandatory.