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Your Novel

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Start: 7th March 2018 - 6:00pm

Finish: 9th May 2018 - 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

"It was great to meet all the students in their first week and hear about the range of novels they were working on. It was clear by the last session that the writers had all come on immeasurably – not just in terms of improving their writing, but also in giving and receiving constructive feedback."

Jemima Forrester, literary agent and guest course speaker


There will be a maximum of 12 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 and other tutors

- Sessions punctuated by takeaway practical advice 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 a guest literary agent and William Ryan at the beginning of the course, followed by another chance to pitch the revised version to literary agents Oli Munson and Jemima Forrester 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 6.00-8.30pm at Bloomsbury Publishing (50 Bedford Square) and will take place on Wednesday evenings. You will be asked to submit extracts from your novel-in-progress prior to the workshop in order to receive written feedback from William and fellow students. These evening sessions will focus on the essential issues crucial to writing your novel, including structure, 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 a guest literary agent, who will have read the opening of your novel plus a one-page synopsis of your novel-in-progress. They 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 the literary agent, 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 7th March

A week prior to the course all attendees should submit a synopsis (500 words) and sample of your writing (1,000 words) to

18.00- 19.00: Introduction to the Course

William will be joined by a guest literary agent who 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 14th March

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 21st March

18.00-19.00: Structure

We 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 a 300-word revised version of your synopsis, as well as an extract which represent the climax of your story. This will be discussed in Week 4.

Week 4: Wednesday 28th March

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 4th April

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 11th April

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 18th April

18.00-19.00: Dialogue

In this session, author 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 25th April

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 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 2nd May

18.00-19.00: Editing, Polishing & Synopses

Editorial Director 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: Wednesday 9th May

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

Editorial Director of Bloomsbury Raven, Alison Hennessey, will be joined by literary agents Oli Munson and Jemima Forrester who will 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. Oli and Jemima will then join William and Alison to hear your pitches and give their feedback on your submitted synopses and sample writing.

Extras: This final session will conclude with a refreshments 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.

Ian McGuire grew up near Hull and studied at the University of Manchester and the University of Virginia. In 2007 he co-founded the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing, and he is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas. He has published two novels: Incredible Bodies in 2006 and The North Water in 2016. The North Water was long-listed for the Man Booker prize and named a New York Times Notable Book.

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.

Oli Munson is an agent and, now, director at A.M. Heath. He was previously at the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. His client list includes award-winning, bestselling authors of crime, suspense, thrillers and speculative fiction with high concept plots. He's always looking for more great writers who are blazing trails in these genres. 

Simon Booker writers 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; ITV1 thrillers The Stepfather and The Blind Date; and Perfect Strangers, the CBS romantic comedy starring Rob Lowe and Anna Friel. He has written many plays for BBC Radio 4, worked extensively as a producer in television and radio and as a journalist. His debut novel Without Trace was the first in a series of psychological thrillers featuring Morgan Vine, a single mother and investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice.

Sophie Orme is Editorial Director at Bonnier Zaffre. She is looking for reading group fiction, upmarket women's fiction, historical fiction and thrillers.

Alison Hennessey is Editorial Director at Raven Books, the new crime and thriller imprint at Bloomsbury Publishing.

Further speakers to be confirmed

Course Details

The course will be held at Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP. 


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.

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