Constructing a Novel

Constructing a Novel is designed for those who have some experience of creative writing and would like to develop the first draft of their novel. It works well as a follow-on for writers who have completed the Creative Writing for Beginners course, but this is not essential.

The course is run entirely online: there are no live lectures or tutorials, or set times to log in, meaning you have the flexibility to study wherever and whenever best suits you.



Next Start Date 22nd January 2018
Delivery Online
Tutor Barbara Henderson and Guy Mankowski
Duration 14 weeks - 10-15 hours per week
Price £799 - You can make a payment in full, or in three monthly instalments
Future Start Dates 2018 12th March, 7th May


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Find Your Voice

Over fourteen weeks, you will develop your own writing style and voice, producing a firm outline and structure for your novel and making significant progress towards completing the first draft.



One-to-One Feedback

A realistic and practical approach to the process of writing, combining the teaching of essential techniques with one-to-one feedback and close reading of your extracts.



See Your Work in Print

Have a 3,000 word extract from your prospective novel included in a limited edition anthology which will be distributed to Penguin Random House Editors.


Weekly Overview

Week 1: So, What Kind of Novel?

Where to start? Discover the different forms that a novel can take and which of these you will choose for your story.

Week 2: The Story World

Develop an entire world. Use your imagination and draft the story world of your novel.

Week 3: Research

Investigate the different types of research that writers undertake and how research can ensure that your novel is accurate, multi-layered and original.

Week 4: The Writing Process

Avoid writer’s block by establishing a writing routine to assist you in moving forward with your novel.

Week 5: Narrative Voice

Narrative voice encapsulates both perspective and tone of voice. Find a voice for your novel that engages readers.

Week 6: Structure and Organising Your Ideas

Having an effective structure allows you to finish a first draft and leaves you with nothing to worry about but the words. Look at a number of possible structures that you can apply to your novel and adapt to your needs.

Week 7: Choosing Your Words

Investigate effective writing styles and consider how the language you use can have a distinct effect on your reader.

Week 8: Pacing and Momentum

It is crucial that your plot captivates your reader. Learn how to sustain your reader’s attention for the duration of your novel.

Week 9: The Soft Middle

Look in detail at the mid point of a novel; a common setback for many writers.

Week 10: The Last Chapter

Start exploring how your novel will end.

Week 11: Beginnings

Investigate the opening chapters of various different novels to help you perfect the beginning of your own story.

Week 12: Making Your Novel Cohere

Bring together the completed elements of your novel to create a unified whole from disparate parts.

Weeks 13 and 14: Writing

Use the remaining two weeks to work on longer extracts and to reflect on your writing before submitting it to be bound in a limited edition anthology containing an extract of each course participant’s work.

Course Features

Expert Input

You will have access to exclusive contributions from published authors including Lee Child and Ian McEwan, which will lead you through the process of embarking on the first draft of your novel.

Weekly Podcast

Enjoy weekly podcast introductions from Julie Cohen, which outline all aspects of creative writing.

Exclusive Discounts

All our writers receive an exclusive 40% discount on all Penguin Random House books, plus 25% off all ProWritingAid Premium licenses.

Dedicated Writing Time

The course includes several integral opportunities to enable you to work on longer extracts and to reflect on your writing whilst receiving support from your Tutor.

Published Work

Submit a 3,000 word extract from your novel and have it included in a limited edition anthology containing samples of each course participant’s work.

Editor’s Review

On completion, you will have the opportunity to submit your work to a Penguin Random House Editor for expert feedback for an additional fee of £150.