Writing A Novel (Online)

Advanced | Fiction

A new and fully upgraded online version of our flagship Writing a Novel course, which has launched the careers of over a hundred authors. A serious but flexible course for committed writers, with access to leading industry experts and round-the-clock support from our team

The application deadline for this iteration of the course is midnight on Sunday 5 September.

This course is selective, so you`ll need to apply. For more information, click here.

The application deadline is
6th September 2021

This eight-month course is ideal for anyone trying to fit a serious commitment to writing around work, life or all of the above. Study wherever you are in the world, at a time that suits you, with a flexible fortnightly structure, expert tutor guidance and continuous moderator support each step of the way.

Join a small, supportive group of likeminded writers on our newly redesigned online platform as you work through our extensively updated content and enjoy exclusive guest sessions from editors, agents and some of our published alumni. Stay in contact during those writing wobbles, day or night, and benefit from regular feedback on your work from your classmates, as well as honing your editorial brain as you help their novels develop too.

As well as leading the group through regular webinars, your tutor will give invaluable one-to-one feedback with Zoom tutorials and audio notes, and a detailed written report on the first 15,000 words of your novel at the end of the final session.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a tight-knit group of writing colleagues you can continue working with in our thriving alumni area – and the opening of your novel should be in perfect shape to submit to our anthology, sent out to an extensive list of leading literary agents.

‘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. Joanna Cannon, bestselling author and fellow Faber Academy online alumna, tweeted about the Richard & Judy competition and I immediately applied. Being runner-up and getting a two-book deal with Bonnier Zaffre meant the world to me.’
Asia Mackay, author of
Killing It

Applying for Writing A Novel online

All applications are assessed by the online tutor team. Applying is easy: simply click on the 'Apply Now' button above to start. You will need to create an account with us, then upload the following documents:

- An example of your prose (approximately 1,000 words of fiction). This doesn't have to be from your proposed novel, but it’s useful if it represents your voice and genre.
- A brief outline of your idea for a novel (250-750 words) – include details about character, setting and events, and a working title if you have one.
- A book recommendation: which novel would you recommend to another writer, and why? (Up to 200 words)
- A cover note detailing 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.

Two free places per year are available on this course via the Faber Academy Scholarship scheme. The aim of the scholarship is to support writers whose work shows significant promise, but who would for financial reasons be unable to enrol on the course. For more information about the scheme and details on how to apply, click here. Please email your scholarship application as instructed, rather than submitting it via the application portal on this page, so that we can make sure it ends up in the right place.

22nd September 2021 - 4th May 2022

Availability: In stock

28 Places

The course consists of thirteen sessions, which you work through progressively with a small group of peers, your tutor and a moderator. 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.

You’ll need to commit to at least 5–7 hours’ study each week in order to complete the practical tasks and work on your novel, and to read and give feedback on your peers’ writing.

Session 1 (opens Wednesday 22 September): Introductions
Meet your fellow writers, think about how, where and why you write, and begin the process of reading like a writer. Hear from a published alumna of the course.

Session 2 (opens Wednesday 6 October): Beginnings
Creating ideas and planning; honing your idea and your novel's opening pages. We'll look at how to start with character or plot and the relationship between the two, plus you'll have your first one-to-one tutorial with your tutor.

Session 3 (opens Wednesday 20 October): Character
Getting to know your characters better, the difference between liking and caring about characters, and different ways of introducing them into the story. This session includes a group webchat with your tutor.

Session 4 (opens Wednesday 3 November): Voice
What is your writing voice and how will you explore it in this novel? You'll hear from another author in one of our video interviews, and will have further one-to-one feedback from your tutor.

Session 5 (opens Wednesday 17 November): Viewpoint
Are you approaching this story from the best point of view? We'll look at who is telling your story and how to navigate more than one viewpoint. Plus a live Q&A with a guest writer in the chatroom.

Session 6 (opens Wednesday 1 December): Structure
The essentials of structure and plotting out your story; using beat sheets and setting up the skeleton of your synopsis. This session includes the second group webchat with your tutor.

Session 7 (opens Wednesday 15 December – lasts three weeks to include Christmas break): Dialogue
Differentiating your characters through speech; non-verbal detail and body language when writing conversation. Plus a Q&A forum with another of our guest tutors.

Session 8 (opens Wednesday 5 January): Description
How do you capture a world that draws your reader in? You’ll explore elements of description that bring scenes to life, and ways to speed up and slow down your story. We'll have another of our video interviews with a guest author, and your third group webchat with your tutor.

Session 9 (opens Wednesday 19 January): Research
Using research to add realism and authenticity to your novel; methods of research and the best time to do it; the difference in writing from research and from experience. Plus a Q&A forum with a guest tutor.

Session 10 (opens Wednesday 2 February): Using Scenes
The structure of scenes, getting in and out, and using writing tools and techniques for emphasis and pace. You'll have another Zoom tutorial with your tutor for one-to-one feedback.

Session 11 (opens Wednesday 16 February): Foreshadowing
Setting up later scenes and choosing when to give readers information; increasing the pull of your early chapters. Plus a Q&A forum with a Faber director.

Session 12 (opens Wednesday 2 March): Revising and Editing
Different approaches to editing and how to bring more shape and clarity to the telling of your story; why the process can be just as creative as writing. Includes a live Q&A with a guest Faber editor.

Session 13 (opens Wednesday 16 March): The Publishing Process
Genres and your novel in the marketplace, the agenting process, writing a synopsis and cover letter. Includes a live Q&A with a guest agent.

Session 14 (opens Wednesday 30 March – lasts five weeks to include an Easter break) Next steps
Revising your manuscript and synopsis, rounding up in preparation for submitting your work for tutor review at the end of the course; where to take your work next. This is a four-week session focused on private writing time, at the end of which you'll submit the first 15,000 words of your novel for written feedback from your tutor.

Course ends on Wednesday 4 May 2022.

At the end of the course you will have the option to continue working with your peer group in an alumni classroom, and will be invited to submit an extract of your novel for inclusion in an anthology sent to over a hundred literary agents.

Click here for more information +


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Helen Shipman