How to Write a Novel

How to Write a Novel
8th January 2017 for 12 weeks
Free Word Centre
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road,
£349 (TLC discount available for TLC newsletter subscribers)

An intermediary-level online novel writing course

Do you want to write a novel, and then take it to a standard where it is fit for some sort of professional publication? Are you having trouble getting started? Are you already writing a novel, but having trouble finishing? Have you written a novel, or novels, but can’t get off the slush piles at the literary agents and publishers that you approach? If you have answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then we can help.

‘How to Write a Novel’, delivered by Unthank School of Writing in association with TLC, is an online novel writing course that does exactly what is says on the tin, without an unrealistic promise or a quick fix in sight. There is no secret; writing a novel is hard work, but it is a craft that can be an art, so the creative process can be learned, practiced, and improved.

This online course will help you to break down what looks like a huge and complex project into a series of manageable tasks, each of which will move your novel forward to successful completion.

Who is it for?

‘How to Write a Novel’ online is an intermediary-level course (the equivalent of a university Level 2 undergraduate unit), which develops and builds upon our popular entry-level course ‘Becoming a Writer: An Introduction to Prose Fiction’ (although students who have not taken this course are, of course, equally welcome). This course is open to anyone who is writing, or wants to write, a novel (in any genre) and is intended to offer constructive and practical advice on how to successfully complete a book-length project and then, hopefully, sell it.

How will I learn?

This online novel writing course is divided into four easy to navigate online teaching modules, each one comprising:

  • a discussion forum
  • a detailed lesson
  • required reading
  • ‘extras’ (hints and tips)
  • short writing tasks
  • more detailed critical and creative exercises

Each module builds upon the last, and will become available as the course progresses.

How long is it for?

The course lasts for three months, allowing three weeks per teaching module, and is written entirely by the tutor. Unlike most online and correspondence courses, the tutor is live and online for a full day each week to guide and to comment on your writing.

What sort of feedback do I get?

There are approximately thirty optional writing tasks and exercises to undertake, intended to illustrate key points and to help you practice. You can discuss and get feedback on these on a weekly basis.

There is one formally assessed assignment which is required to officially pass the course and receive a certificate.

The teaching programme is both progressive and holistic, and students are encouraged to cherry pick writing exercises based on their individual needs and interests, as well as what is practical for them. (This is not ‘homework,’ there is nothing to ‘fail,’ and you work at the pace that suits you.) The assessed piece will be the first two chapters of a novel (up to 5000 words), and will receive very detailed editorial feedback by the tutor (a professional author and editor).

The online novel writing course contains the following modules:

  1. The Essential Components of any Novel – This module introduces the central tenets of any prose narrative: Character, Dialogue, Story and Setting.
  1. Perspective, Plot and Pacing – This module considers point of view and dramatic pacing, while also exploring genre conventions and the practical application of story archetypes.
  1. Planning and Writing a Novel – This model will teach you how to apply the above skills in conceiving and structuring an original novel, and how to ensure that you complete the project.
  1. Editing and Publishing – This module will teach you to be a professional writer. You will learn the skills required to turn a complete first draft into a polished novel, and how to choose and approach literary agents and publishers.

This online novel writing course is a writer’s workshop, offering the opportunity to share your work in a friendly, supportive and creative online community. By the end of the course, you will be able to critique your own writing, recognising strengths and weaknesses of composition, edit your own work, and have the knowledge to complete a sustained narrative, take it to the final draft, and approach an agent with confidence.

Student Testimonial

‘This course has really given me a buzz and a springboard to completing an idea which I had in my head, managed a rough draft but didn’t know where to go from there. Stephen has introduced me to some incredibly talented fellow writers on this online course and we spark off each other, creating friendly and encouraging discussions and critique on our work in progress. Stephen has given me invaluable and in depth advice and suggestions on the exercises, and I am amazed that indeed, I do have the will and tools to do this. I would highly recommend this course to anyone, Stephen’s knowledge of the writing industry is incredible and his encouragement has really helped me to focus on bringing my ideas to life.’

Jane Markland



To sign up, click ‘Book Your Place’ on the Unthank booking page and follow the instructions on the next screen. You will need to set up an Unthank account to complete your booking. There is no fee and your details will not be passed on to third parties. Your payment will be processed securely via PayPal. Don’t forget to use your TLC newsletter subscriber discount (issued in the December TLC newsletter) by entering your promotional code at the check-out.

Once your booking is confirmed, you will be contacted by your new Unthank tutor to welcome you to the course and provide a link to Unthank School’s virtual learning environment.