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Your Novel

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Start: 13th September 2017 - 6:00pm

Finish: 14th November 2017 - 8:30pm


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Join us for a ten-week course dedicated to helping you transform your novel idea into a fully-fledged manuscript. 

Whether you've written half a draft or on your third edit, we've designed this course to help you progress as a writer. Along with giving you the ‘how-to’ writing tools you need to hone your novel-in-progress, your work will be assessed along the way by experts in their fields, all designed to help you take your writing to the next level. 

Led by author and creative writing tutor William Ryan, the course will look at essential elements of the writing craft and how you can apply them to your own manuscript, including writing exercises that directly involve the material of your novel-in-progress. 

Based at our Bloomsbury offices, evening sessions will last for two and a half hours, from 6-8.30pm, making it ideal for those with full-time jobs and other commitments. There will be opportunities at the beginning and the end of the course to get to know the other writers, as well as William himself.

"I’ve been lucky enough to attend several workshops run by Bill, and can’t recommend them enough. They really opened my eyes about what it takes to turn a good idea into the finished article, teaching me about plot structure, character development, and how to really make a scene come alive. My debut novel is now due out in April 2018, and I’d credit Bill’s workshops with helping me get this far."

Rob Scragg, author of What Falls Between The Cracks.


There will be a maximum of 14 students in your session, in which you will receive:

- Weekly writing workshops led by William, focusing on extracts from your novel. You will receive 3 group critiques – each of up to 1,000 words of your work – assessed in a workshop environment

- Edited mark-ups of each of your weekly submissions

- Weekly teaching sessions on key elements of the writing process from William

- Sessions punctuated by takeaway practical exercises based around your own writing, each designed to improve your work and enhance its chances of being published 

- The opportunity to give and receive constructive feedback on submitted work from your fellow students

- 25 hours of advice from a combination of leading authors and publishing industry professionals designed to help you take your work forward towards publication

- Feedback on your novel’s premise and sample chapters from literary agent Jemima Forrester and William Ryan at the beginning of the course, followed with another chance to pitch the revised version to Jemima at the end of the course

- Exclusive discounts on W&A products and a complimentary copy of the latest edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook

- The chance to meet like-minded authors and study at our offices in historic Bloomsbury

Note: Skype and conference call facilities can be arranged for those who would like to access sessions remotely. Please contact Writers & Artists at the email address below for further details.



The workshops will run from 6.30-8.30pm at Bloomsbury Publishing (50 Bedford Square) and will take place on Wednesday evenings, moving to a Tuesday evening for the final session. You will be asked to submit extracts from your novel-in-progress prior to the workshop in order to receive written feedback from the course tutor and fellow students. These evening sessions will focus on the essential issues crucial to writing your novel, including dialogue, character development and self-editing. 


Throughout the course, you will be joined by leading authors and publishing industry experts offering advice designed to help you hone and refine your novel-in-progress. With plenty of opportunity for Q&A's, these sessions will give you a greater insight into the world of publishing, and give you a clear view of what you need to achieve in your writing.


At the beginning of the course you’ll be joined by Jemima Forrester, literary agent at David Higham Associates, who will have read the first 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis of your novel-in-progress. Jemima will will discuss your work and identify the particular areas that you’ll need to work on during the course. Towards the end of the course, students will be asked to submit their work again to Jemima, who will also be joined by other top literary agents to hear your novel pitches and give their feedback on your submitted synopses and sample writing. 


Week 1:  Wednesday 13th September

A week prior to the course all attendees should submit a synopsis and sample of your writing (1000 words) to

18.00- 19.00: Introduction to the Course

William will be joined by guest literary agent Jemima Forrester who, along with William, will have read and considered the synopses and samples of writing that you have submitted. Together they will discuss your work and identify the particular areas that the course will focus on. 

19.15-20.30: William will provide an overview of the Basic Technical Aspects of a Novel.

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract in which you use research, establish atmosphere and/or establish the setting, together with a brief description of where this fits into your story. This will be discussed in Week 2.

Week 2: Wednesday 20th September

18.00-19.00: Research, Atmosphere & Setting

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract in which a key plot development occurs, together with a brief description of where this fits into your story. This will be discussed in Week 3.

Week 3: Wednesday 27th September

18.00-19.00: Structure

Guest Author Louise Doughty will explore the basic structural requirements, how genre influences them and how you can play with and subvert readers' expectations.

19.15-20.30:  Workshop 

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract which represent the climax of your story. This will be discussed in Week 4.

Week 4: Wednesday 4th October

18.00-19.00:  Testing your Story

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

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: At the end of Week 4 you will be asked to submit an extract in which you introduce your central character. This will be discussed in Week 5.

Week 5: Wednesday 11th October

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 6.

Week 6: Wednesday 18th October

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 7.

Week 7: Wednesday 25th October

18.00-19.00: Dialogue

 Author and screenwriter Simon Booker will explore the art and function of dialogue, 

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract that mark the beginning of your story. This will be discussed in Week 8. 

Week 8: Wednesday 1st November

18.00-19.00: First Chapters, Scenes, Pace & Tension

William will explore these essential ingredients of the novel.

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: You will be asked to submit an extract which you have found problematic or would like to discuss, together with a brief description of where this fits into your story. You will also be asked to submit a 300 word synopsis of your novel in order to assist in your preparation for their submission to the guest agents in Week 10. These will be discussed in Week 9.

Week 9: Wednesday 8th November

18.00-19.00: Editing, Polishing & Synopses

Sophie Orme will explain the essential skills necessary to review your writing objectively and improve it, as well as the art of the synopsis.

19.15-20.30: Workshop

Extras: At the end of Week 9 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 10.

Week 10: Tuesday 14th November

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

An experienced publisher and our guest literary agents, including Jemima Forrester and Hellie Ogden, 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. Our guest literary agents will then join William and our guest editor to hear your pitches and give their feedback on your submitted synopses and sample writing.

Extras: This final session will conclude with a drinks reception and the opportunity to review the course and ask any final unanswered questions you might have.

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. 


William Ryan author

William Ryan’s novels have been shortlisted or longlisted for numerous awards, including the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award, the Crime Writers Association’s Steel, Historical and John Creasey Daggers and the Irish Crime Novel of the Year (three times). William has taught on the Crime Writing Masters at City University in London and he will be a Teaching Fellow on UEA’s Crime Fiction MA in 2017/18. His latest novel, The Constant Soldier, was described by The Daily Mail as “Subtle, suspenseful and superb and as “a modern classic by a master storyteller” by the Lancashire Evening Post It is currently shortlisted for the HWA Gold Crown for Historical Fiction.

Louise Doughty is the author of eight novels, one work of non-fiction and five plays for radio.  Her latest book is the critically acclaimed Black Water, which is out now from Faber & Faber UK and Farrar Straus & Giroux in the US, where it was nominated as one of the New York Times Book Review Notable Books of 2016.

Her previous book was the number one bestseller Apple Tree Yard.  First published in 2013, it was shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger Award and the National Book Award Thriller of the Year and has sold in thirty territories worldwide.  A four-part TV adaptation with Emily Watson in the lead role was broadcast on Sunday nights on BBC1.  It received widespread critical acclaim and consolidated viewing figures of 7million per episode, making it the most-viewed new BBC drama since The Night Manager.  ‘As with the bestselling novel by Louise Doughty on which it’s based, once you start this, you can’t stop.’ The Times

Doughty’s sixth novel, Whatever You Love, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also won awards for radio drama and short stories, along with publishing one work of non-fiction, A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column. She is a critic and cultural commentator for UK and international newspapers and broadcasts regularly for the BBC and has been the judge for many prizes and awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award.  She lives in London.

Jemima Forrester joined David Higham in September 2016 having previously been senior commissioning editor at Orion Publishing Group. She is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction, including crime and thrillers, psychological suspense, accessible literary fiction, women’s fiction and speculative/high-concept novels.

Jemima loves distinctive narrative voices, well-paced, intriguing plots and characters that leap off the page. Her favourite books of recent years include Elizabeth is Missing, Disclaimer, Life After Life, The Night Circus, Me Before You and anything by Jo Nesbø, Margaret Atwood or Curtis Sittenfeld. In non-fiction, she is looking for innovative cookery, popular-culture and lifestyle projects, unique personal stories and humour.

Hellie Ogden is a literary agent at Janklow and Nesbit. Hellie is looking for series crime, psychological thrillers, commercial women’s fiction, young adult and children’s debuts and accessible, charming literary fiction. She enjoys novels with exotic settings, bold twists and enticing protagonists. In non-fiction she is looking for unique personal stories and work that has a large social following with cross-media potential. She represents cook books from aspiring foodies, as well as popular culture projects, helping to build her clients’ profiles across different platforms. Hellie featured in the Bookseller Rising Stars list in 2013 and was also shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2014. 

Novelist and screenwriter Simon Booker writes prime time TV drama for the BBC, ITV and US TV. His credits include BBC1’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Holby City and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries starring Diana Rigg; ITV thrillers The Stepfather and The Blind Date; and Perfect Strangers. He has written plays for BBC Radio 4, worked extensively as a producer in TV and radio and as a journalist.

Without Trace is his debut crime novel, the first in a series of psychological thrillers featuring Morgan Vine, a single mother and investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice. Mark Billingham describes the book as “A cracking debut. A real page-turner with a compelling central character. Let’s hope we see a lot more of Morgan Vine.” The second in the series will be published in June 2017. Without Trace has also been optioned by Mainstreet Pictures.

Further speakers to be confirmed


The course fee of £1250 (inc VAT) per student is payable in full online. Please do contact us to discuss an instalment payment plan by calling us on 0207 631 5985 or by sending an email to

Please note that opportunities to partake in this course via Skype are available, so do get in touch with us on the above email if you’re interested in finding out more.

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


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