Novel Writing Essentials is ideal if you want to give your novel idea the best possible start.
Write a compelling opening that will hook your readers in
Discover how workshopping will make your writing stronger
Understand how to deal with specific issues in your work
Receive valuable feedback from your peers and presenter
Finally write the first 20,000 words of your novel!
“It’s a funny thing to say but I found I just loved writing and the course forced me to write and not to be afraid. I have had a story in my head for twenty years and now I’m confident it will be written.”
– Kevin Lynch, Novel Writing Essentials graduate
BONUS: Enjoy connecting with your classmates and tutor in real time. This course includes two live Zoom sessions – one on the first day of your course, and the other in your final week (6.30-7.30pm Sydney/Melbourne time both days).
Okay, so you’ve come up with a great idea for a novel. You may even have a few chapters under your belt. But you’re feeling a little stuck without some guidance on how to develop it further, into a full and compelling book.
This 10-week Novel Writing Essentials course will give you that guidance. Why? Because it’s all about YOUR story – with a mix of theory and workshopping designed specifically to give you a writing framework that will encourage you to write 20,000 quality words so that your novel gets off to a flying start!
At AWC, we offer three stages of creative support and guidance to help you achieve your novel writing goals. This course, Novel Writing Essentials sits at the second stage – where we take your specific book idea and help you to get it onto a page and on its way.
If it’s your first book, this is a crucial phase of development, helping set the tone from the start. But it’s also useful for subsequent story ideas – as it’s here that all ideas are put under the microscope and issues identified that could save you months of time down the track.
Novel Writing Essentials is not a course for absolute beginners who have done no other writing courses or have written nothing before. You should have already completed our Creative Writing Stage 1 course or have experience workshopping with a writing group.
It’s also for you if you’ve written some or all of your novel, but would like feedback and guidance on your work – especially if you haven’t workshopped before. This makes it a great taster course if you’re thinking about enrolling into our Write Your Novel program but aren’t quite ready yet.
“The number one reason your book won’t be published is that you haven’t written it!”
Legendary editor Pat Walsh
This is a highly practical, empowering and motivational 10-week course – focused FULLY on getting the most out of YOUR story. Each week will consist of targeted theory elements, covering important aspects such as:
Along with this, there is a strong focus on workshopping your work and providing feedback on others’ writing (a hugely valuable way to improve your own writing). The course also sets a realistic schedule which, if followed, will give you 20,000 words by the end of the 10 weeks. This is no coincidence – with the 20,000 words being the prerequisite to apply for a place in the Write Your Novel program.
Q: Do I need to have a clear story idea?
A: You must be working on a single specific project (i.e. novel or memoir) and you should have started writing that.
There are two rounds of workshopping. We strongly recommend that, in the first round, you workshop your story structure (we’ll help you with how to do the outline for this). And then in the second round you will be workshopping a section of your story of up to 3000 words. So we recommend that you have at least that much written before you enrol in the course.
If you don’t know enough about your story to do a structural outline (for example, you don’t know yet what the major plot events are), that’s fine – you workshop two lots of 3000 words instead. If you’re going to take this option, we recommend that you have 6000 words written before you enrol, or else that you block out time during the first part of the course to write at least 3000 words.
If you don’t yet have a story idea and just want to build your confidence, we recommend Writing Workout.
Q: How many people are there in the course with me? Are they all experienced writers?
A: This course isn't for absolute beginners – everyone should have foundation skills from our Creative Writing Stage 1 or How to Write for Children and Young Adults courses or similar. There are a maximum of 16 students per course, to allow best value in the workshopping.
Q: What should I expect to get out of this course?
A: If you have the beginnings of a novel, then Novel Writing Essentials will provide the support of workshopping and tutor guidance to strengthen your opening chapters and see your manuscript reach 20,000 words. You’ll get crucial story direction and a solid base to lay future chapters upon.
Q: Is this course suitable for memoir writers?
A: For novel-length memoirs, yes. However, if your story's themes are deeply emotional, it can be best to complete a full first draft first – to allow some emotional distance from your work before casting an analytical eye over it in a workshopping format. To learn the fundamentals to writing true stories, we recommend checking out our Life Writing and Creative Non-fiction courses.
Q: What about children’s books? Is it suitable for these?
A: Yes, if you’re writing middle-grade, tween or YA fiction (not picture books). This course will help you develop your opening chapters and build on the techniques you learnt in a foundation course such as How to Write for Children and Young Adults. (If you do wish to write picture books, we recommend Writing Picture Books and its subsequent Masterclass instead.)
Q: I'm a busy parent and work full-time. Can I fit this in?
A: Most of our students are busy people just like you! This course is flexible so that all you need to set aside is about 4-5 hours each week to complete the lessons, provide feedback on classmates’ submissions and continue writing your own story. Not necessarily all at once!
Q: What’s the next step after Novel Writing Essentials?
A: Providing you come out of the course with a manuscript with at least 20,000 words, you’ll be able to apply for our Write Your Novel program – aimed at helping you complete your first draft through a mix of deadlines, advanced theory and workshopping. We offer this program across both 6- and 12-month formats.
In Novel Writing Essentials you’ll benefit from the guidance and feedback of an experienced tutor. You’ll also be part of a group of people who are at a similar stage in their writing journey – and whose opinion you will value and respect as the course goes on through the workshopping process. The act of reading and reviewing others’ work can seem incredibly confronting at first, but time and again it is the best thing that students get out of our novel-writing courses.
“This was truly a magnificent course that I will be recommending to anyone who wants to kick-start their novel writing. I have actually found the motivation and inspiration to write!”
“I thought I had learned loads on other courses. This one is head and shoulders above anything else I have done.”
“Something that caught my attention was how much I didn't know about the craft of writing. I loved this. It was great to delve into different POVs, story structure, character descriptions, and pace. These are the things we don't often learn, even in university.”
“If you have a great story in your head but are struggling to move beyond the first few chapters, this course can help by providing constructive criticism (and praise) from a peer group and tutor. I found it was not only motivational but it also gave me the confidence to navigate what I expect will be a frustrating and fantastic road ahead!”
Novel Writing Essentials is a vital stepping stone – helping you to find your tribe and become part of the larger writing community. Many of our students continue to workshop with classmates long after the course is over – with one group having regularly continued meeting for more than 5 years!
From a warm fuzzy point of view, you’re going to exit the course with a clearer, fuller idea of how to move your manuscript forward and make it shine. In tangible terms, you will have locked down the characters and a likely opening chapter or three. And most importantly, you’ll have the workshopping awareness and 20,000 words (or close to it) to apply for the next stage of our novel writing pathway – Write Your Novel.