Get your novel written

Start from scratch and write a first draft, or use the tutorials to revise an early draft. Then use what you learn to write all your future novels more quickly and easily. 

  • When?

    Start anytime and work at your own pace to get your novel written, or edited, in a year.

  • Where?

    Online - access the tutorials anytime, anywhere from laptop, tablet and smartphone.

"I feel lucky to have taken this course. The tutorials and exercises were excellent. If you are serious about the craft of writing novels, I can't recommend it highly enough." 

John Lutz

What does the course include?

There are 33 tutorials across 8 modules that focus on the underlying principles of storytelling which can transform inspirations into polished, meaningful forms again and again. You'll learn how to create compelling characters and plots, believable worlds, and write stories that keep readers gripped. 

These modules lead you through either writing or revising a draft, building on each element as you go with exercises designed to form a part of your draft, rather than being separate from your novel.

What you’ll learn can be applied to all the novels you’ll write in the future. Plus you'll learn crucial editing skills and get an insight into the publishing world and how to pitch your work to agents and publishers.

Choose the option that suits your learning style, and budget, best.

You can choose from: 

  • work alone with no feedback; 
  • work alone and get an editorial report at the end; 


Feedback Option

If you choose the feedback option, at the end of the course you will send in the draft manuscript you have written or revised to receive a full editorial report from a professional editor. This will highlight your strengths as well as show you the ways in which you can improve your draft and take it to the next level. 

The editor will give detailed insights into plot, pacing, characterisation, structure, theme development and prose style to help you make your manuscript shine.

Course booking options

You can pay in 10 easy instalments or pay in full to get a discount

  • £950.00

    £950.00The Novel Creator Course

    No feedback (pay in full)
    Get started
  • 10 x £105.00

    10 x £105.00The Novel Creator Course

    No feedback (instalment plan)
    Get started
  • £1,300.00

    £1,300.00The Novel Creator Course

    With editorial report (pay in full)
    Get started
  • 10 x £150.00

    10 x £150.00The Novel Creator Course

    With editorial report (instalment plan)
    Get started

"My approach to writing an entire book is more time efficient. The prose itself is more contemporary and the voice more direct. When Amanda told me what was working in my novel and what I needed to change, she was right every time. Her editing transformed my work into the best writing I have ever done. Can you ask for anything more?"

Mary Kathleen Mehuron

Tutors

A person smiling for the camera

Description automatically generatedAmanda Saint

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 2021, 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 (Winner: 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. 


 

A person posing for the camera

Description automatically generated

CM Taylor

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.

 

"For years writing a novel was a pipe-dream for me. Then I joined Craig and Amanda's course and 9 months later I had a manuscript and am talking to agents. If you've had a book idea in your head and not known how to progress it - do the course - you will only look forwards.

Naomi Lockwood

What will you learn?

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 development. The scenes you write for the exercises are designed to form a part of your draft rather than being separate from the novel.

 

Module 1: Getting Started: Planning, plotting and defining your novel

The first module will cover the basic elements you need in place before you start writing your novel, all of which will then be built on during the rest of the course.

Tutorial 1: The Writer's Toolkit - Part 1 / Tutor: CM Taylor

Tutorial 2: The Writer's Toolkit - Part 2 / Tutor: CM Taylor

These first two tutorials will give you the core vocabulary, skills and tools you need to understand novel writing and tune up your story.

 Tutorial 3: The Easy 10-Point Plot / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

An easy way to outline your novel so that your key plot points are aligned to story structure and can guide you through the writing of the draft.

Tutorial 4: Discovering Your Characters and World-Building / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

Getting to grips with the cast of your novel and identifying why they’re there and how they are connected. Where it all happens, why it has to be more than just a backdrop and how the world you create develops the story.

 

Module 2: Pulling Together Plot, Character, Theme & Structure

This module will show you a simple, repeatable method for uniting the theme, character and plot in your writing. It will show you how you embed your theme from the start so that you deliver a story that has real emotional resonance, no matter what genre you’re writing.

Tutorial 1: Linking Plot with Character and Theme / Tutor: CM Taylor 

Discover how you use your characters and what they believe about your themes to drive your plot development and internal and external conflict.

Tutorial 2: Characters Embodying Themes / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

How to make your characters live the themes you’re exploring so the whole novel is centred on them.

Tutorial 3: Oppositions of Theme / Tutor: Amanda Saint

The ways in which you can use your characters’ beliefs about the themes to drive the story and character arc.

Tutorial 4: Character & Plot Building / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

How to align your narrator's character arc with your plot to provide emotional resonance and a believable character transformation.

 

Module 3: Keeping Your Reader Hooked

This module will reveal the tools and tricks that novelists use to make sure that readers can't put their books down.

Tutorial 1: Reversals of Fortune / Tutor: CM Taylor

Research into the New York Times best-selling novels of the last thirty years shows they all have something in common - their protagonists experience regular reversals of fortune. What does this mean? How do you do it?

Tutorial 2: Narrative Drive / Tutor: Amanda Saint

How to compel your reader on from the start and keep them moving forwards through the story.

Tutorial 3: A Sticky Protagonist / Tutor: CM Taylor

Whether your protagonist is a monster an angel or somewhere in between, how do you write them to keep the reader glued to their every move? Here are some concrete, easy skills.

Tutorial 4: Hiding and Revealing  / Tutor: Amanda Saint

What to let your reader know when, and how, to make sure your story has pace, tension, suspense and delivers what you want, when you want.


Module 4: Bringing Your Characters Alive

This module gives you quick and easy ways to develop characters with depth that seem like real people. These tools and techniques can be used to get up close and personal with all the characters you’ll write in the future.

Tutorial 1: The 3 Cs of Character  / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

How to write complex, contradictory and consistent characters that make your novel stand out.

Tutorial 2: Character Personalities / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

Discovering  your character’s personality and diving deep into their minds to understand how they’ll behave in different situations.

Tutorial 3: Character Complexity / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

Why believable and memorable characters need many different dimensions and how to easily create them.

Tutorial 4: Challenging Consistency  / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

How to deliver emotional resonance through change and the transformational journey your characters go on during the novel.


Module 5: Building Relationships

This module focuses on the key relationships your main character has and how you use them to drive your plot forwards and tie into your themes. 

Tutorial 1: Why Relationships Matter / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

Why the relationships your characters have with each other matter and how they are integral to plot and character development.

Tutorial 2: Dialogue and Internal Monologues / Tutor: Amanda Saint

Discover how characters' words and thoughts can be used to reveal more as well as to hide things and misdirect the reader. 

Tutorial 3: History: Shared and Personal / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

How the past influences the present of your story and why what came before is a vital part of character development and transformation.

Tutorial 4: Motivations and Interactions / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

Why what your characters want influences how they behave with each other and how they treat themselves.

 

Module 6: World Building

This module will show you how to use the world your characters live in to maximum effect to develop atmosphere, theme, character and plot while bringing the world alive for the reader.

Tutorial 1: Creating a World / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

How to bring your landscape and setting alive and why you need to make sure that it’s more than just a backdrop to the action.

Tutorial 2: How Location Builds Plot / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

Why your setting is integral to how the plot unfolds and how to write descriptions that do more than just show where your characters are.

Tutorial 3: How Location Builds Character / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

How your locations are a vital tool in developing and revealing more about your characters, as well as being a part of their transformation.

Tutorial 4: How Location Builds Theme / Tutor: Amanda Saint 

The ways in which you can use your setting, and how you write about it, to embed your themes.

 

Module 7: Editing Your Novel

Discover how to edit your work to take it to the next level.

Tutorial 1: When the First Draft is Done  / Tutor: CM Taylor

As a published novelist who often crosses the aisle to work as an editor for publishers, Craig reveals how you self-edit. How editors think and how to work with editors.

Tutorial 2: Making an Editing Plan / Tutor: Amanda Saint

Working with your in-depth editorial feedback and planning next steps.

Tutorial 3: Character and Structural Edits / Tutor: Amanda Saint

How to approach the big things and make it shine.

Tutorial 4: Plot, Pacing and Prose Edits / Tutor: Amanda Saint

Adding, taking away, and perfecting your prose


Module 8: Preparing for submission and publication

Learn how to pitch and present yourself and your work and discover the options you have for getting published. 

Tutorial 1: Creating Your Pitch  / Tutor: CM Taylor

Get the info you need to create compelling pitches that generate interest in your work.

Tutorial 2: Creating Your Submission Letter  / Tutor: CM Taylor

Discover what to put in your submissions letters when sending your novel to agents and publishers.

Tutorial 3: Creating Your Synopsis  / Tutor: CM Taylor

Make the writing of the dreaded synopsis quick, easy and pain-free.

Tutorial 4: Trad vs Indie Publishing / Tutor: Amanda Saint

Get the inside info on the pros and cons of both sides of the publishing world to figure out which is the best way for you.

Tutorial 5: Being an Author: Beyond the Novel  / Tutor: Amanda Saint

Tips for getting you and your work noticed and ideas on staying connected to your love of writing when you get to the business side if 

"This course helped me to understand the pillars of theme, characterisation and setting, reminding me to use these in pushing the story forwards and getting that all important first draft completed."

Julie Day

Course booking options

Course booking options

  • £950.00

    £950.00The Novel Creator Course

    No feedback (pay in full)
    Get started
  • 10 x £105.00

    10 x £105.00The Novel Creator Course

    No feedback (instalment plan)
    Get started
  • £1,300.00

    £1,300.00The Novel Creator Course

    With editorial report (pay in full)
    Get started
  • 10 x £150.00

    10 x £150.00The Novel Creator Course

    With editorial report (instalment plan)
    Get started

Booking T&Cs

Payment terms

On signing up for the course, if you are using the instalment plan then one payment is taken at sign up, then 9 more will be taken on a monthly basis. If paying in full, the full amount is due on signup.


Cancellation policy

You can cancel the course within 24 hours of signup and receive a full refund minus a £100 administration fee. 

Cancellations and refunds after 24 hours are not possible as the full year's course materials are available instantly.

Course access

You have access to the course materials through the course website for one year from sign up. 


Feedback option

The manuscript you submit for feedback must be sent in within 4 months of the course ending.