Novel Writing Essentials

Point your story in the right direction

This course is ideal if: You want to give your novel idea the best possible start

You will:
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!

novel writing essentials feature image
Where Starts Duration Presenter Price
Online with tutor Learn from anywhere at your convenience. Monday 5 October 2020
Any time during the week
8 weeks (Allow 4-5 hours per week) Bernadette Foley $695
  • Do you have an idea for a novel or memoir but don’t know how to get started?
  • Does the thought of writing an entire book seem daunting?
  • Perhaps you’ve written the opening, but want to ensure you’re on the right track
  • Looking for practical feedback directly related to your story idea?

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 8-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!

Your Path to Novel Writing

Your creative path

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.

This course will suit:
  • people who know what they want to write but who need guidance and feedback on the beginning sections of their story
  • people who need a helping hand to get started, or those who have stalled just past their opening
  • those who need a deadline to get them writing!
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

Snapshot – what to expect from this course

This is a highly practical, empowering and motivational 8-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:

  • your ‘elevator pitch’ – how to best describe your book idea
  • the backstory and motivations of your characters
  • how to bring dialogue effectively to your page
  • a publisher’s wish list of what they look for in your opening chapters
  • how to create that page-turner effect from page 1.

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 eight 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: Yes, due to the workshopping nature of this course, it’s a good idea to have a basic idea of your story and at least approx 6000 words written before the course begins. This way you can flesh out your ideas and plot as well as get feedback on your synopsis and opening chapters during the course. 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.

Find your way – and find your tribe

In Novel Writing Essentials you’ll benefit from the guidance and feedback of experienced writer and editor, Pamela Freeman. Pamela has published more than 30 books over the years, and you’ll find things suddenly not so scary with her at your side.

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.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

– Arthur Ashe

What you'll get out of this course

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.

Where Starts Duration Presenter Price
Online with tutor Learn from anywhere at your convenience. Monday 5 October 2020
Any time during the week
8 weeks (Allow 4-5 hours per week) Bernadette Foley $695

About us

The Australian Writers’ Centre offers courses in creative writing, freelance writing, business writing, blogging and much more. Our practical and industry-proven courses will help you gain confidence and meet your goals faster!

Contact us

Phone: (02) 9929 0088
Head office: Suite 3, 55 Lavender Street, Milsons Point NSW 2061

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