Compelling story writing – creating a whole novel with Greg Mosse

Creative writing and publishing

Ref: SWE12462

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Places available

About this course

This is an enjoyable and varied weekend course for beginners and more experienced writers – all who want to understand the scope of the challenge in creating a whole novel, including plot, character, dialogue, locations, suspense, style and genre.

Course Description

The goal of this creative weekend course is to help you with your overall understanding of planning and writing an entire original novel:

• A main plot that lasts from near the beginning to the very last page

• Compelling protagonists who are, themselves, gripped by the action

• Intense relationships (love affairs, business deals, physical combat, family life, etc.) where no one can entirely get their own way

• Vivid locations in time and space, creating more drama that the characters have to respond to

• A switchback of emotions, generated by twists and turns in the plot

• A clear understanding of the sort of book you want to write

With a careful mixture of tutor-led classes, individual study and collaborative writing, the course uses a variety of visual stimuli, including paintings, plenty of question-and-answer opportunities and lots of professional advice. To provide private writing time, one of the Saturday afternoon sessions is replaced by an extra, after-dinner session on Saturday evening. If you are a non-resident student, you may wish to book dinner on Saturday night to accommodate this session.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply all the teaching materials.

What students need to bring

  • A notebook/pen, or laptop computer
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. Please see the timetable below: Friday: 6:45pm-8:00pm – Arrival: Introduction and dinner 8:00pm-9:00pm – Session 1: Beginnings A lively, wide-ranging introduction to the weekend, focusing on your favourite novels and how they are put together, plus some examples that the tutor would like to share. Saturday: 9:15am-10:30am – Session 2: Who? What makes a good protagonist? Do they have to be sympathetic? Why don’t they just walk away if they cannot get what they want? Who opposes them? 11:00am-12:30pm – Session 3: Who else? As well as the hero or heroine, there are secondary characters – allies and enemies, sometimes both at once. Plus, there are minor characters who have important roles to play, but they are not on anyone’s side. 2:00pm-3:30pm – Session 4: How does it feel? Readers want to share in the characters’ emotions. What sorts of events generate depth of feeling – births, weddings, illnesses, deaths, triumphs and disasters? From 4:00pm – Session 5: Private writing You are invited to use the time between tea and the after-dinner session to craft no more than 400 words of original writing. Saturday: 8:15pm-9:15pm – Session 6: Sharing In this short one-hour session, you will have the opportunity to read out your original writing. Sunday: 9:15am-10:30am – Session 7: Suspense Readers are interested in what you tell them, but they are more interested still in what you have not yet told them. That is what keeps them turning the pages – to find out the answers to all kinds of suspenseful mysteries. 11:00am-12:30pm – Session 8: Timeline How long does the action last? A day? Three days? Three years? A lifetime? A century? What difference does it make? How do you keep track and how do you build to a successful climax, whatever the length? 2:00pm-3:00pm – Session 9: Question and answer We will review what we have discovered and think about how you can include what you have practised in your own independent writing. We will also discuss writing opportunities and professional development.



Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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