Continue reading for answers to common questions about our ten-week fiction writing courses with Ian Nettleton. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, email

How do the ten-week courses differ from the other NCW courses?

The ten-week evening courses began life as in-person courses taking place at Dragon Hall, and have been running for several years. Anyone who wants to can buy a ticket and take part, although numbers are limited. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the courses pivoted to online for the first time and ran on Zoom. As of late 2021, some courses have been running in person and some remain online. No matter which format the course runs in, you can expect:

NCW runs a range of courses both online and in person. See here for full details of all our courses, including:

NCW also offers a range of one-off workshops and industry insight sessions. 

If you have any further questions about our range of courses and opportunities for writers, please see here or contact us on or 01603 877177. 


How much feedback on my work will I receive?

In our ten-week evening courses, you will have one piece of your work workshopped in class by the tutor and your coursemates. This usually takes place towards the end of the course. 

You may have further chances to share your work within class, but these will be ad-hoc and without in depth feedback. You may also share your work on the forum between classes if you wish to, for feedback from your coursemates. Please note that your tutor will not be able to provide feedback outside of class time for these particular courses.

If you would like to receive more feedback than the ten-week courses include, we recommend taking a look at our online courses.


How do I know which level of course is right for me?

The ten-week evening courses are offered at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level. We usually run two of these courses at once during the Spring and Autumn seasons. Please see here for details of which courses are available at present.

The Beginners’ course is suitable for writers who haven’t written much before, or are returning to writing after a long break. You might be starting from scratch, have never attended a creative writing class or group before, or you might have tried writing a few small pieces of fiction before, and are now looking to develop your work into a short story or similar. In the Beginners course you’ll look at all the foundational elements of fiction, including characters, setting, plot and more, as well as ways to build your writing habit. You will learn to workshop your and others’ work in a group setting, and start keeping your own writer’s notebook to take your writing further.

The Intermediate course is suitable for writers who have attended a beginners or introductory writing class in the past, or have similar experience. You will probably be writing in your own time on a regular or semi-regular basis, and are likely to have finished several shorter pieces of fiction, e.g. short stories. The Intermediate course will delve deeper into the technical elements of writing fiction and give you the confidence to start using these techniques creatively. You will also build your experience in workshopping your and others’ work.

The Advanced course is suitable for writers who have been writing for some time and are ready to challenge themselves to complete a longer fiction project. You will have taken part in previous creative writing courses, groups or workshops and have experience of workshopping your and others’ work. You will have a confident grasp of the elements of writing fiction and have completed several shorter pieces of work – you might even have had some published in magazines or similar outlets. The course will give you a fresh look at the fundamental elements of fiction and help you develop bold and creative ways to deploy these in your writing. You will also work on the skills needed to sustain and complete a longer piece of work such as a novel or collection of short stories. 


Will you be running classes online/in person?

All courses, whether in-person or online, include use of a virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE is where you can find the course materials and talk to fellow students between classes in the forums. The ability to access the VLE on a computer or similar is essential for full participation in the course. 


What happens if I miss a week of the course, or can’t make some of the course dates?

If you miss a week of the course, you will be able to catch up by reading the course materials on the VLE. The course tutor will also provide notes from each session which will give you a more detailed insight into the discussions that took place in class. You can also talk with your fellow students on the forum pages in between classes. Please note that we never record classes to protect the privacy and creative freedom of all those involved.

If you cannot make some of the course dates, it will be up to you to decide whether you still wish to book onto the course. In our experience, missing more than two classes can make it difficult to keep momentum and may impact on your experience of the course, and so we recommend ensuring that you will be able to attend at least 8 sessions (80%) of the course before booking. Please note that, as above, we cannot provide recordings of missed classes, but there will be course materials, class notes and a discussion forum that you can access in your own time. 

Please note that we cannot pro-rata course fees according to attendance, and as per our Terms & Conditions we are able to offer credit notes until 48 hours before the start of the course. Please note that we are unable to offer refunds apart from in exceptional circumstances. 


How much work will I need to do for the course?

Each class lasts two hours, and for each week of the course you will have some reading and writing time to do in your own time. We recommend allowing a minimum of two hours of your own reading and writing time per week to help you get the most out of the course – with class time, that’s four hours per week.  


What equipment will I need to take part in the course?

In order to make a booking and to receive correspondence with information about the course, you will need to supply an email address. 

You will need a computer or similar device with access to the internet in order to access the course materials, notes and forums on the virtual learning environment. You will also need a pen and paper, notebook, word processing software or similar for taking notes and undertaking creative writing exercises.

For in-person classes you are welcome to bring your own laptop, notebook, stationery, and snacks to the class. 

For online courses, you will need a computer or similar device with a reliable internet connection; access to Zoom (we recommend downloading before the first class), and use of a webcam and microphone. We also recommend having a pair of headphones to hand to ensure the best audio quality during online classes. 

NCW can provide course materials in alternative formats (e.g. large font, audio description, etc.) upon request. 


Are there bursary spaces available for the course?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide bursary spaces for our 10-week evening courses. For details of our bursary programme and to find out more about those workshops and other sessions that do have bursary spaces available, please see here. 


I’ve missed out on booking my place this time. Will you be running the course again in the future?

Yes, we aim to run a minimum of four 10-week evening courses per year, during the Spring and Autumn seasons. Please sign up to our e-newsletter for the latest news about our courses and other opportunities for writers. 


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