Learn the fundamental principles of novel writing as we explore the most important aspects of storytelling, plotting, structure, pace and style. You will discover how to approach the all-important opening chapter, how to choose tenses and viewpoints for different types of novel, and how to find your own unique voice as a writer. We will also discuss some of the most common pitfalls in novel-writing and how to avoid them.
Through intensive teaching and discussion, you will discover essential techniques for turning your inspiration into well-crafted novels. You will learn what it is that agents and publishers are looking for and how to develop your skills further, as well as gaining an insight into the novelist's life. For each section of the course your tutor will provide written course notes electronically.
There will also be an opportunity to have some personal tutorial time with your tutor, which could involve, for example, feedback on a sample of your writing or a discussion about your planned writing project.
By the end of the course, you will know the vital ingredients that make a novel compelling for readers. You will understand the techniques that writers employ to achieve this and how to go about using these skills in your own fiction writing. Also you will have gained the confidence to start developing your own writing, towards becoming a professional published novelist.
09.00 – 09.15 All students to join via Zoom
09.15 – 10.45 Introductions, course information, teaching and group discussion
10.45 – 11.00 Break
11.00 – 12.45 Teaching, discussion and Q+A
12.45 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.45 Teaching, discussion and Q+A
15.45 – 16.00 Break
16.00 – 17.00 Teaching, discussion and Q+A
Please read and familiarise yourself with the the Zoom joining instructions emailed to you with your course confirmation before the course starts. Be ready to start at 9am on the day with your computer set up and ready as detailed in the guidance notes emailed to you with your booking confirmation.
Optional: If you would like some feedback on a sample of your work in a one-to-one tutorial with the tutor during the course, please email this to her by the 3 March 2021 via the Bookingsoffice@westdean.ac.uk, so that she has time to read this in advance of the course.
You will also need a notebook or paper and pen, or a secondary computer or tablet to use for written exercises during the course.
What skill level do I need to take a course?
Our online courses are each given a level of study to ensure you pick the right course for you;
Beginners - Suitable for those with little or no experience of the subject
Intermediate – If you have taken a related course or have existing skills
Suitable for all - With content that can be engaged with on different levels.
What format does the course take?
Our online live-streamed courses run each day from 9am-5pm.
After admitting all students to Zoom between 9am-9.15am, the tutor will introduce the course at 9.15am promptly and give a demonstration or warm-up exercise with a chance to ask questions before independent study with tutor support. This pattern is followed throughout the day as additional tasks are introduced, concluding in the final session with a round up and discussion on next steps.
Is the course taught live?
Yes, the course is taught live via Zoom.
Will the course be recorded?
No, the course will not be recorded.
How many people will be on the course?
There are a maximum of 10-12 places for most courses, depending on the subject. Some lecture courses may take more students.
How do I sign up for a course?
Follow the online booking process to sign up for a course.
Can I use a College gift voucher for online courses?
Yes, simply enter the gift voucher code at the online checkout.
How do I access my course?
You will receive a link and password to access the course email, typically within two working days.
What do I need to set up or prepare before the course starts:
Find yourself a quiet place to work, away from background noise and distractions during the core teaching times. Prepare a workstation, ideally with a good sized work-surface or table, adjacent to your computer, and with enough space to layout your assembled materials and tools ready for the start of the day. Also assemble any materials listed on the course details which will not be supplied in any materials kit sent to you, if included in the course. (If your course includes materials, this will be clearly stated in the course materials section above).
Ensure you read and familiarise yourself with the Zoom joining instructions emailed to you with your course confirmation before the course starts. We recommend doing this several days in advance to avoid technical issues on the day.
What computer set-up will I need to take a course?
You can join a zoom meeting on a computer or laptop – Mac, PC – with Internet connection, a webcam, microphone and speakers (usually in-built). You need high speed Wi-Fi with full bars signal that doesn’t drop out Internet connection and a modern internet browser (see "What Web Browser do you recommend" below).
You will need an email account to sign up for a course and an up-to-date web browser.
To join the course simply click on the link in your confirmation email and follow the instructions on the screen. You can access Zoom via the web browser or app. For help joining a meeting see Zoom support here
It is also useful to have the following close to hand - a secondary device to join via the Zoom link is recommended if possible to assist sharing your work in progress during the day (eg a smartphone with in-built camera or ipad/tablet), if possible.
Some of the course resources may be presented as PDF files, which will require a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader.
What web browser do you recommend?
PC users – Chrome 30+, Firefox 27+, Edge 12+, Internet Explorer 11+ are supported.
Mac users – Chrome 30+, Firefox 27+, Safari 7+ are supported.
Please be sure to keep your browser updated. If you need to upgrade your browser, go to your browser manufacturer's website and download the most recent version.
Phones and tablets – download the Zoom mobile app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android).
We recommend setting up and testing Zoom a few days in advance of your course to ensure you do not have problems on the day. If you have checked the technical requirements above and are using a suitable browser but the problem persists, email firstname.lastname@example.org (Monday-Friday, and for courses held on Saturday or Sunday, 8.45-9.15am only) with the details of your problem (including a screenshot if useful) for advice.
I’ve lost my login details, what do I do?
If you have deleted your login information please contact email@example.com (Monday-Friday, and for courses held on Saturday or Sunday, 8.45-9.15am only).
I’ve changed my mind and no longer want to do this course, what can I do?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately if you have changed your mind, within 14 days of booking. Please also refer to our Terms and Conditions when booking. If your course includes multiple units, by booking you are committing to attend all unit dates listed in the course description, no alternative dates or refund can be offered for any that you are unable to attend. For any other queries about online courses please contact email@example.com.
For courses that included a posted materials pack: (this will be stated clearly in the course materials list above). Please only book this course online if you live on the UK mainland. The costs included in the course fee do not cover areas outside of the UK mainland. See note below.
Can I do this course if I live overseas?
If you live overseas (including Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands and Islands, Channel Islands, Isle of Wight and Isle of Man), please email the Bookings Office firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and contact details, do not book the course online. Our team will then ascertain whether we are able to post the materials to you and, if so, the additional cost. We will then let you know and you can decide whether or not to go ahead with the booking. Please note that delivery of the materials box to an overseas address may also take longer.
What is included in the materials pack?
Included materials are listed in the ‘Course materials’ section above.
When should I expect to receive my materials pack?
Your pack will be posted to arrive 1-2 days before your course starts. It will be delivered by courier. Boxes are usually larger than letterbox size and the courier may contact you via email with delivery information. Currently, these can only be posted to mainland UK addresses - please see note above if you live overseas.
Who do I contact if I haven’t received my materials pack or it is missing an item?
Please contact email@example.com (Monday-Friday) within two days of the course start date. If the original delivery is failed or refused and returned to the College, you will be responsible for paying any additional charges for re-delivery.
Rebecca is a best-selling novelist who has also worked for many years as a script writer and editor in the West End theatre. She has been teaching fiction writing for the past decade and has worked as an editor and coach with more than a hundred different novelists.