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Fiction Writing: Advanced

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Start: 14th September 2020 - 6:00pm

Finish: 19th October 2020 - 8:30pm



We know what you did this summer. Now it’s time to turn your book idea into a fully-fledged manuscript.

Following on from Fiction Writing: Fundamentals, critically acclaimed author William Ryan leads Fiction Writing: Advanced, a six-week online course designed to stress-test your work-in-progress. Expect an interrogation of your plot, tightening of dialogue, and tough questions asked of your cast of characters. As well as live workshopping, presentations on critical aspects of the writing process and regular professional feedback, participants also have the opportunity to hear from a commissioning editor and pitch their writing to a leading UK literary agent.


Combined price: book Fiction Writing: Fundamentals and Fiction Writing: Advanced

Course benefits

Students on this course should expect:

- 15 hours of practical writing advice and tuition over 6 weeks

- Feedback from William Ryan on up to 5,000 words of your own writing 

- Opportunity to pitch your work to a leading UK literary agent

- Peer-to-peer review; amass a wealth of objective feedback from fellow students 

- Deadlines on writing exercises and written work to make the most of what's on offer

- Copies of presentations and audio recordings from all sessions

- Exclusive discounts on W&A titles and other products

Each week sessions will combine tutorials with practical exercises, discussion and feedback.


William will read and mark up all work submitted during the course – highlighting areas which may need work and pointing out areas of strength. In addition you will be expected to read and give constructive feedback on the submitted work of the other students, as will the other students be expected to constructively feedback on your work. 

Week 1

18.00-19.00: Testing your Story and First Chapters

William will discuss the structural requirements of fiction in more detail.

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: At the end of Week 1 you will be asked to submit an extract in which you introduce your central character. This will be discussed in Week 2.

Week 2

18.00-19.00: Testing Your Central Character

Have you chosen the right central character – and can they be improved? 

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract which shows the relationship between a subsidiary character and the central character. This will be discussed in Week 3.

Week 3

18.00-19.00: Testing Your Subsidiary Characters

Your story is a world that needs populating – have you chosen the right characters?

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract in which you show a key conversation taking place, together with a brief description of where this fits into your story and what the characters motivations are. This will be discussed in Week 4.

Week 4

18.00-19.00: Dialogue

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract that marks the beginning of your story. This will be discussed in Week 5.

Week 5

18.00-19.00: Editing, Polishing & Synopses

Editorial Director of Raven Books, Alison Hennessey, will explain the essential skills necessary to review your writing objectively and improve it, as well as the art of the synopsis. Alison will also discuss what they look for in prospective authors, what authors can expect from them, how the publishing process works and how submitted novels change from first drafts to published books.

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: At the end of Week 5 you will be asked to submit an extract from your novel as well as a synopsis, and asked to prepare a one-minute pitch in preparation for the pitching session in Week 6.

Week 6

18.00-19.00: Introducing Your Novel to the World of Publishing

Literary agent Jordan Lees (Blair Partnership) will discuss what they look for in prospective authors and what authors can expect from them, how the publishing process works and how submitted novels change from first drafts to published books. Jordan will then join William to hear your pitches and give feedback on your submitted synopses and sample writing.

Speaker profiles

William Ryan author

William Ryan has written four historical novels which have been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award, the HWA Gold Crown for Historical Fiction, the Crime Writers Association’s Steel, Historical and New Blood Daggers and the Irish Crime Novel of the Year (three times). William teaches creative writing at City University in London and has previously taught at the University of East Anglia. His latest novel, A House of Ghosts, was published in 2019 by Bonnier Zaffre.

Alison Hennessey has worked in publishing for fifteen years, beginning her editorial career as an assistant on the Penguin Classics list. She worked in the Vintage division of Random House for eleven years, the last four years of which were spent commissioning for the Harvill Secker imprint, where her authors included Sunday Times bestseller Jo Nesbo, New York Times bestseller Ruth Ware and multi award-winner, Denise Mina. While there she was chosen as one of the Evening Standard’s Most Influential Londoners for her work on books in translation.

In 2016 she moved to Bloomsbury to set up and run a new imprint, Raven Books, specialising in literary crime, thrillers and gothic fiction and her authors there include Laura Purcell, Stuart Turton. Eva Dolan, Julie Mayhew and many more. 

Jordan Lees - Blair Partnership

Jordan Lees (Blair Partnership) represents commercial and literary crime/thrillers, detective fiction, dystopian and speculative fiction, literary fiction, true crime and smart non-fiction.

He is particularly drawn to writing with a real sense of atmosphere and has a soft spot for anything dark and strange. Some of his favourite writers are Patricia Highsmith, John Fowles, Cormac McCarthy and Gillian Flynn. He is not currently looking for sci-fi and fantasy, women’s fiction, children’s and YA.

Event Details

This is an online course which will be presented using video conferencing software. Joining instructions and full guidance will be provided before the course start-date.

Booking & Payment

The course fee of £395 (inc. VAT) is payable in full online. 

Please do contact us if you wish to discuss an instalment payment plan by calling 0207 631 5985 or by sending an email to

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for other writing courses by visiting our Events homepage.