Online Courses


Telling Yourself The Story

It’s been attributed to both Somerset Maugham and Terry Pratchett but whoever said it – it’s a great quote: that ‘…writing the first draft of a novel is just you telling yourself the story.’

It’s a maxim I’ve lived with through all six of the novels I’ve written. I’ve never been a planner. I write by the seat of my pants, seeing where my characters lead me.

I might have an idea, a general sense of what I want to say in the novel. I might force myself to sit down and write a synopsis. But it’s only when I’ve completed the first draft, that I really know what my book is about and the best way to make it say what I want it to say.

If that sounds like you, then this could be the course you’ve been looking for!


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Course Outline

The course is run completely online. Participants are limited to 10 pax and is ideally suited to someone who has an idea for their novel; who may have started or written some chapters or ideas down already.

You will receive access to ten downloadable video lectures on the topics set out below:

  1. The Beginning: Where do I start?

  2. Do I need a Plot? Story Form and Structure

  3. Characters, or: Do you really need me?

  4. Look Who’s Talking: Point of View and Unreliable Narrators

  5. Setting, Place and Time

  6. Dialogue: How we speak vs How we read

  7. Going into Battle: How Conflict and the Journey work in Fiction

  8. Do novelists care about Short Stories and Poetry?

  9. Killing your Darlings: Editing and Revising

  10. And Now to Market! Query letters; Agents; and Getting Published

You will also have the chance to share a section of your writing every week for peer critique. I will also schedule a private Zoom call with you to go over a selected piece of writing. At the end of the course, I will provide you with a written report on my thoughts on your MS and my view on your next best steps.

We will have a group weekly zoom call to discuss our work and generally cheer each other on.

By using this course, you will have the tools, resources, and support systems in place at the end of it to finish your novel (if you haven’t done so already!) and start submitting to agents!

Additional information


January 2021, September 2020