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Novel Writing

Course dates: 16/01/17 – 07/04/17
Time: 17:00 – 19:00
Dates: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Location: Online
Tutor: Amy Jackson

With this in-depth Creative Writing course, you’ll learn how to convert your novel from an initial idea to paper, all from the comfort of your own computer.

Course overview

In this multi-week online course you’ll gain the skills necessary to begin your novel or continue developing a novel-in-progress. With the help of skilled writer Amy Jackson you’ll study fiction in a supportive workshop environment. You’ll learn the basic approaches in novel writing, including:
• Translating your personal experience into your writing
• Crafting addicting first chapters
• Characterisation
• Dialogue
• Pacing
• Framing an attractive plot
• The art of the closing chapter


Over the course of 12 weeks, you’ll be expected to read from selected texts and submit selections of your work for peer critiques. Each week, we’ll spend the first half of class discussing passages from the readings and identify aspects which help enhance or take away from the story and overall reading experience. The second half of class will be devoted to analysing your work or that of a peer. You will be asked to help create a supportive and constructive environment, as well as provide detailed feedback and a close reading of your peers’ work.

This course is conducted online, which means you’ll be expected to have internet access as well as a basic understanding of internet tools. One of the benefits of online education is that you can participate from anywhere, though this particular method of study will require a high level of self-discipline and motivation. This course similarly requires a high level of class participation, as the structure is built specifically on your reactions and understanding as a reader.

The class will also benefit from frequent visits from writers specialising in a range of genres. They’ll be available to answer questions you might have about their process or novel writing in general.

You’ll be expected to:

• Complete regular writing exercises
• Discuss weekly readings
• Provide in-depth feedback for the work of your peers
• Submit your own writing for critique

Core Focus

The core aims of this course are to both help provide you with a solid foundation for beginning a new project and the skills necessary to complete it. Though we can’t guarantee you’ll be a best-selling novelist upon the course’s completion, the course aims to strengthen your own work as well as help you become a better reader.

Amy Jackson

Amy Jackson is a retired professor of Creative Writing and British Literature from the University of Maryland. She is the author of four crime novels as well as an array of short stories. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies such as the Best American Short Stories 1998, Tin House and Zoetrope, among many others.