Advanced Fiction with Ian Nettleton (three-month course)
Looking for advice on how to finalise, edit and polish your work? Ready to take your writing to a more sophisticated level? Our Advanced Fiction sessions with Ian Nettleton are the ideal choice for more experienced writers with a project in mind, or for anyone seeking a new and exciting creative challenge.
Ian has been leading sold-out fiction courses at NCW for a number of years. Through a combination of group discussion and one-to-one feedback, he will equip you with the skills and knowledge to progress on your writing journey.
This course runs across three, day-long monthly workshops, beginning on Saturday 1 February, 10am – 4pm and continuing on Saturday 29 February and Saturday 28 March.
‘Ian made everyone feel welcomed and the content was in small enough bite-sized pieces that I never felt overwhelmed with information.’ Lacy Lee
‘Ian has such a wide background and packs every minute of the course with information and advice. His attitude is encouraging and non-judgemental. He is the best tutor I have ever had.’ – Sheila Preston
Day one: Saturday 1 February, 10am – 4pm
- What are your ambitions? Setting up a plan of action for the next three months.
- The complexity of character. It is common to say that plot is character and character is plot, but how can we give them that edge that creates a sometimes troubled relationship with the reader? Who is the anti-hero, and why would the reader wish to spend time with him or her?
- Surprising the reader and the character/s and avoiding the predictable – following on from the complex character, how do we plot? Is it important to plan the story? And does it stifle creativity?
- Workshopping – readings of work produced prior to the course, a class exercise and the chance for immediate feedback.
Day two: Saturday 29 February, 10am – 4pm
- The magic only works the once – how do you approach the creation of something new? And what are the options?
- The anxiety and the possibilities of influence – how we borrow and steal from other writers, and how we cannot write unless we do.
- Everything serves the story – how every aspect of your story needs to earn its place on the page, whether it be setting, actions, dialogue, secondary characters, subplots or how the text lies on the page.
- Workshopping – a class exercise and a chance to workshop this or something written since the last session.
Day three: Saturday 28 March, 10am – 4pm
- How to read the text as a whole and pace it just right, compressing here, extending there, and setting one scene against another so that the narrative has the necessary changes in tone and tension.
- How to finalise, edit and polish your work. Does your choice of words surprise the reader? Are the characters and their motives developed and consistent? Is there a theme you have carried through? And do you leave the reader with enough to take away with them when the story is done?
- Workshopping – a chance to get feedback on a longer passage of work.
- What next? A discussion about what targets to set yourself and what the time frame might be.
About the tutor
Ian Nettleton has a doctorate in Creative & Critical Writing from UEA (2003). His first novel, The Last Migration, set in the Australian outback, was runner-up for both the 2014 Bath prize for literature and the inaugural Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award. He has also worked for the BBC as a writer and presenter, critiqued novels for The Literary Consultancy, published short fiction in a number of anthologies and was shortlisted for the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2019.