Online course

Start Writing Fiction

12 weeks

Your next chapter starts here…

  • Become the fiction writer you want to be!

  • Get 1-2-1 tutor feedback

  • Learn the foundational skills of writing

  • Build your writing routine

  • Take your writing to the next level

  • Access our courses from anywhere in the world.

Learn the foundational skills of fiction writing with an online creative writing course designed for new writers and anyone wanting to write more regularly. Over 12 weeks of inspirational teaching, exercises and assignments you will receive personalised feedback on your work and learn how to create great characters, stories and voices.

What the course covers

Module 1 – Getting started
In this module, you will explore exercises to release your creativity and meet your tutor and fellow students. You’ll use the world around you to help generate ideas for stories, and you’ll get into the habit of writing daily in a writer’s journal. The assignment for this module is up to 500 words of the seed of a story.

Module 2 – Character
In this module, you will get to know your characters inside out and you will learn how to write credible dialogue. You will complete exercises to develop relationships between your characters, discover the importance of subtext, and observe strangers in the real world to generate writing material. The assignment for this module is up to 750 words in which you introduce a character into a scene.

Module 3 – Whose story is it, and who is telling it?
This module is a journey through perspectives and their impact on writing. You’ll read examples of writing in the first, second, and third person, and through a series of exercises, you’ll explore how your story changes depending on the point of view. The assignment is up to 750 words encouraging you to explore a new point of view in your writing.

Module 4 – Finding the story
This module is focused on structure and its impact on narrative. You’ll learn that finding the right structure can make even the simplest story engaging, you’ll analyse a short story using a structured framework and you’ll practise implementing this in your own work. The exercise for this module will ask you to produce a rough draft of your own story, in less than 700 words.

Module 5 – Making it better
In this module, you’ll get deep into the nuts and bolts of the redrafting and self-editing process. You’ll work on editing at on a sentence-by-sentence level through a series of exercises, you’ll be led through the essential art of showing, not telling, and you’ll produce a piece of writing to share with a trusted reader. You’ll learn how to give and receive feedback, and you’ll produce a critical self-commentary on your own work.

Module 6 – Beginnings and endings
In this final module, you’ll explore different ways of beginning your story. You’ll learn how to hook a reader from the first word and you’ll compare opening paragraphs to analyse their effect. You’ll also learn how to end a story, comparing different techniques and methods in order to bring your narrative to its conclusion. The assignment for this module is a completed short story of up to 2000 words, accompanied by a short self-appraisal that takes into account everything you’ve learned in the course.

By the end of the course you will:

  • Be familiar with the basic elements of a short story
  • Have examined some published short stories in detail
  • Write a complete short story, using what you have learnt about the workings of fiction
  • Know how to give and receive useful, precise feedback and revise and improve your work
  • Know how to keep your own writer’s notebook and generate new ideas.

Start Writing Fiction course = £475

CLICK HERE AND BOOK YOUR FICTION WRITING COURSE TODAY!

Designed in partnership with the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA

 

UEA University of East Anglia

 

Format: How the course works

  • Web-based
    • Our Creative Writing Online courses take place entirely over the internet. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.
  • Duration
    • 12 weeks
  • Course format
    • The majority of the course is delivered in text form, making it easy to progress through the course chapter-by-chapter. 
    • Your knowledge will be developed through writing exercises and the analysis of samples of writing.
  • Modules
    • The course is divided into fortnightly modules, each of which introduces an aspect of the craft of writing. 
    • Every two weeks you will submit an assignment to your tutor, who will then respond with constructive feedback and advice. Outside of those assignment deadlines you can progress through the lessons and exercises at your own pace.
  • 1-2-1 feedback
    • You will have 1-2-1 feedback from your tutor and fellow students.
  • Discussions
    • Forum-based student discussions are included throughout the course, providing an opportunity for students to interact with each other and the course tutor. To get the most out of the course, we recommend taking part in as many discussions as possible.

Got questions?

If you have any questions, you can get in touch by emailing Vicki at learning@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk.

C Christina Morillo from PexelsCourse schedule

This course runs for 12 weeks and is split into several modules, which each last two weeks. Modules consist of multiple chapters and your progress is tracked throughout, making it easy to pick up where you left off.

Although a module is open for two weeks, you are not expected to dedicate that entire time to the course! Our online courses are designed to fit around a busy lifestyle and each chapter is conveniently bite-sized so that you can always be making progress. On average we expect most students to spend between 3-5 hours per week on a course (this time will be a mixture of reading, community discussions, exercises and assignments). This will vary from student-to-student and some modules may be more intensive than others.

Each module includes smaller exercises and a main assignment. How much time you spend on these is flexible and will depend on your own writing style and process.

September 2022 term

Course schedule

Ashley Hickson-Lovence

Ashley Hickson-Lovence

Module 1: Monday 19th September – Sunday 9th October
Zoom session: Thursday 22nd September, 19:00-20:00 (Second and third Zoom session to be scheduled during first Zoom session)
Module 2: Monday 10th October – Sunday 30th October
Module 3: Monday 31st October – Sunday 20th November
Module 4: Monday 21st November – Sunday 11th December
Module 5: Monday 12th December – Sunday 15th January (includes a 2-week break over Christmas)
Module 6: Monday 16th January – Sunday 5th February.

Yan Ge

Yan Ge

Module 1: Monday 19th September – Sunday 9th October
Module 2: Monday 10th October – Sunday 30th October
Module 3: Monday 31st October – Sunday 20th November
Module 4: Monday 21st November – Sunday 11th December
Module 5: Monday 12th December – Sunday 15th January (includes a 2-week break over Christmas)
Module 6: Monday 16th January – Sunday 5th February

Zoom session timings TBC

Equipment and software: What you need

You will need access to a computer and you will need access to the internet. 

You can view the study materials on a mobile device but we recommend using a desktop or laptop computer for working on assignments and taking part in community discussions.

Important: Your web browser must be up-to-date to access the courses. We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

We use two platforms to deliver our tutored online courses:

  • Teachable
    • This online course platform hosts our study materials and community interactions. You will be provided with a login for a Teachable account at the beginning of your course.
  • Zoom
    • We use zoom to host any live tutored elements of the course. Please see the course-specific pages for full details

      .

What people think of our courses

Confidence

Confidence

“I’ve taken away a much greater confidence in my creative work, an ability to be much more flexible but also decisive with my writing ideas and have learned many new writing techniques and ways of working.”

Knowledge

Knowledge

“I have learned a huge amount on this course. I feel I have leaped ahead in my knowledge of writing and what I am capable of writing at the moment.”

Improvement

Improvement

“My output has improved a thousand-fold in both content and quality.”

Freedom

Freedom

“The course had a therapeutic effect. I gained a sense of freedom from getting lost in the characterisations and dramas of my stories.”

Structure

Structure

“The course exceeded my expectations in every aspect with how well-structured it was, the exercises and the feedback. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Motivation and focus

Motivation and focus

“Having someone read and feedback on my writing gave me focus and motivation.”

Who is this course for?

This course is ideal for people who have done no formal training or courses who want to:

  • Learn the basic skills of structuring and writing fiction
  • Build your confidence
  • Develop a writing routine
  • Receive tutor feedback on their writing
  • Discuss their writing with peers
  • Get writing!

Start Writing Fiction course = £475

CLICK HERE AND BOOK YOUR FICTION WRITING COURSE TODAY!

Start Writing Fiction not the right course for you? Browse our other courses

Looking for a shorter course?

Explore our short and self-paced online courses.

About the tutors

Ashley Hickson-Lovence

Core areas of expertise: Contemporary literary fiction; contemporary Black British literary fiction, contemporary Irish fiction; contemporary poetry/Black British poetry.

Notable works: The 392 (OWN IT! 2019); Your Show (Faber 2022)

What’s great about the course? I love helping writers find their voice, giving them permission to write the stories they want to tell, in the way they want to do it. I help writers craft narratives that packs a punch and is full of panache. I love helping writers gain confidence, take ownership of their work, and craft words that sing on the page.

What do people enjoy most about the course? I am a supportive figure always keen to offer encouraging and conducive feedback to help you improve… and maybe even get you published! Many of my students have gone on to apply for, and get accepted onto, prestigious MA courses here in the UK and across Europe. Some have had their work published in literary magazines and such. Some are working on their novels and short story collections with the intention of sending it out for submission.

You can listen to Ashley on our podcast. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Lynne Bryan

I’m from a working-class background: my dad worked in a shoe factory, my mum was a seamstress. My dad was disabled through catching polio at the age of 15. I was the first in our family to go to university. I have two MAs: one in Textile Culture from the Norwich University of the Arts and the other in Creative Writing from UEA where my tutors were Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

Core areas of expertise: I have been an author and a teacher of writing for many years.

Notable works: Publications: a collection of stories Envy at The Cheese Handout (published by Faber), the novels Like Rabbits and Gorgeous (Sceptre), and a memoir Iron Man (Salt). My stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and one – ‘A Regular Thing’ – was made into an award-winning Danish short film. I co-edited six collections of prose by women writers whilst co-organiser of Words & Women, a regional literary organisation (winner of a 2018 Norfolk Arts Award for outstanding contribution to the arts). More recent work includes ‘Surfacing’, an essay on Clare Jarrett’s installation The Sorting Table, shown at The Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk, 2021.

What’s great about the course? This course is a fun but serious introduction to writing fiction with lots of considered feedback.

There’s always a good mix of people on the NCW courses who want to study writing for a variety of reasons. I like helping them to progress their work, enabling many to write a completed short story for the very first time.

People like the feedback that I give them on their assignments, and also the extra reading materials, particularly the short stories by Sally Rooney and Shirley Jackson! Students also like responding to each other’s work online and sharing thoughts about writing and their favourite authors during our Zoom sessions.

I have had some brilliant students on the NCW courses who have really worked hard: one has gained a place on the UEA Creative Writing MA, starting this year, and two have had stories published online and one was shortlisted for the Bath Short Story Award and won the Disquiet Prize for Fiction.

Megan Bradbury

Core areas of expertise: I am a British writer, mentor and tutor. As a writer, I am interested in fragmentary narratives that interweave fictional and factual material. To date, my writing has focussed on American history and culture.

Notable works: My critically acclaimed debut novel, Everyone is Watching (Picador, 2016), which was described as a ‘beating heart of a novel’ by Ali Smith and ‘kaleidoscopic’ by Eimear McBride, was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Not the Booker Prize, and was listed as one of The Guardian’s Best Books of 2016. I am a graduate of the Creative Writing Masters programme at UEA, and have been awarded the Charles Pick Fellowship, an Author’s Foundation award, and numerous grants from Arts Council England. I review for the Irish Times and the Times Literary Supplement. I am also an experienced artistic collaborator and a previous recipient of the Escalator Literature Prize.

What’s great about the course? This course allows writers to build on their experience and uncover their uniqueness as writers. People like the regular feedback and a structure that helps them to become more disciplined as writers. A key part of my teaching involves reminding students at every opportunity that to write anything of worth you need to be willing to give up control and make a mess. The process of writing isn’t neat, and most of the time you are groping in the dark, but that’s what makes it fun.

I love helping other writers find their voice and develop effective working strategies. These were key discoveries for me as a writer, and central to my development were numerous teachers and mentors who were kind and generous with their time – I want to pass onto others the same kind of support.

You can listen to Megan on our podcast. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Benjamin Johncock, Escalator mentor

Benjamin Johncock

Benjamin was born in England in 1978. His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket. He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant and the American Literary Merit Award, and is a winner of Comma Press’s National Short Story Day competition. He also writes for the Guardian. He lives in Norwich, England, with his wife, his daughter, and his son.

His debut novel The Last Pilot was published in the US by Picador and the UK by Myriad. He is working on his second novel.