Writing Fiction: Next Steps
Commences on Monday 21 September for 24 weeks.
Award-winning writer Anjali Joseph teaches creative writing on this six-month advanced course. You can study the course from anywhere and Anjali will be on hand to provide personalised feedback on your writing.
The course focuses on the short story, but the techniques we look at are equally relevant to the novel.
Classes are capped at 15 places to ensure a high-quality experience.
This course is designed for writers aged 18+. If you’re looking for courses suitable for younger writers, check out these online workshops!
Applications for this course are open until Monday 7 September. Book quickly to secure your place.
Special offer: All creative writing online courses include a free 12-week digital subscription to Granta Magazine!
‘I have much greater confidence in my creative work and have learned many new writing techniques and ways of working.’ – Maddie, course participant, Sep 2019
What the course covers
This course builds on the expertise acquired at introductory level, and introduces more depth and a wider range of reading and approaches to fiction. At this level you will acquire and experiment with more techniques, broaden the possibilities you’re ready to explore in your writing, and reconnect with finding a sense of play and adventure in your writing.
- Getting started – meet your fellow students, get to know Monique and develop your writing habit – where to find inspiration, how to keep a notebook and how to open your story
- Point of view – we consider how the perspective of your story shapes the narrative: who is telling the story? Is the narrator ‘unreliable’? How does it affect the reader, and how can it restrict the writer?
- Character – how do we create believable, surprising characters? How can we make sure that characters drive the plot? How can conflict be used to explore characters?
- Dialogue and setting – what makes for good and bad dialogue? We also look at how a sense of place can interweave with dialogue to give a sense of your characters’ lives
- Plot and structure – there are no rules for writing a story, but it can help to understand common structures. We’ll learn about ‘Freytag’s triangle’ and use it to examine the structure of published stories as well as your own
- Defamiliarisation – good fiction changes the way we see the world: we explore how different genres remove our sense of security, from supernatural and ghost stories, science fiction and satire
- The unsaid – people often don’t quite say what they feel; silence can be more powerful than words. We will examine how omission and understatement can create greater impact and convey a character without relying on overt dialogue
- Managing time – how does time work in a story? How do you make transitions between time periods? How can flashbacks and flash-forwards be used?
- Revising and redrafting – examine how to improve your writing sentence by sentence. Learn techniques for re-reading your own work, and exchange work with fellow students.
- Writing and planning – find out how to balance the imaginative exploration of writing with the need to interrogate and revise your early drafts
- Being open to surprise – venture into the unknown and learn how to respond when your story takes an unexpected turn, as well as the possibilities of incorporating other elements into your work
- Coming to an end – should you fulfill or subvert the expectation for a story to be concluded satisfactorily? Should every narrative be tied up neatly, or is it best to leave unanswered questions?
By the end of the course you will have:
- Developed your creative practice
- Analysed and deconstructed devices and techniques used in literary narratives
- Developed observational skills, and how to use memory creatively
- Studied and considered different types of writing
- Practiced and enhanced your use of plot, character, dialogue, and description
- Revised and edited your writing, and advanced your work to a finished draft stage
- Enhanced your writer’s voice and begun to define the themes which most interest you
Applying to the course
This is an intermediate level course. To apply, we ask that you submit:
- A 500-word sample of your work
- A one-paragraph introduction to yourself
Email your application with the subject heading ‘CWO Fiction Next Steps Application [Your Name]’ to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 7 September 2020.
Committing to a 24-week course is a big decision for any writer. If you have any questions at all please do get in touch at email@example.com.
About your tutor
Anjali Joseph was born in Bombay. She read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, and did the MA course in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she also taught creative writing to undergraduates for four years. She teaches at the Arvon Foundation and elsewhere. Saraswati Park (2010), her first novel, won the Desmond Elliott and Betty Trask Prizes, and was joint winner of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award for Fiction in India. Another Country, her second novel (2012) was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. The Living, her third novel, appeared in March 2016. Website
How it works
All you need is a computer and an internet connection. You can find out more about the requirements here.
The course is divided into twelve modules, each of which introduces a topic, points for discussion, exercises, and an assignment. Subjects include character, plot and structure, point of view, dialogue and setting, defamiliarisation, the unsaid, and how to plan, revise, and redraft your work towards a finished draft. The principal aim of the course is to encourage your progress as a writer, help you improve and refine your work, and to inspire you to build a sustained writing practice. By the end of the course, you will have gained valuable knowledge and insight into the process of writing fiction, through working with a published novelist on your own work.
Designed by the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing.