Online course

Writing Fiction: Next Steps

18 weeks

Your next chapter starts here…

  • Take your writing to the next level

  • Become the fiction writer you want to be!

  • Get 1-2-1 tutor feedback

  • Build on your existing skills

  • Refine your writing routine

  • Access our courses from anywhere in the world.

Join Lynne Bryan, author of short story collection Envy at the Cheese Handout, novels Gorgeous and Like Rabbits, and memoir Iron Man, for an 18-week, in-depth online creative writing course. This intermediate course builds on the expertise acquired at introductory level, providing 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. By the end you will have a final draft of a short story.

What the course covers (TBC)

Module 1 – Getting Started and Beginnings
IN this module, you’ll not only explore how and where writers get ideas from, you’ll also discover how you can collate and use them to their best effect. You’ll look at what technology can do to help in the early stages of ideas generation and capture, and you’ll also embark and maintain a writers journal (evidence from this will form part of your final assessment at the end of the course). This module will cover the practical elements that affect all writers, including findingthe time to write, and you’ll discover the methods and tricks other writers use. You’ll also look at how to begin a longer piece of fiction, and your assignments throughout the course will invite you to submit a piece of writing either based off a prompt from the tutor or from an existing work in progress.

Module 2 – Characterisation and Dialogue
This module will introduce you to some of the different character types that are used across fiction, including non-western literature. You’ll look at the ways conflict and obstacles a character experiences create the plot of your story and you’ll get to know you characters better. You’ll compare character-driven to plot-driven narratives and you’ll take inspiration from the world of script and screen writing to create compelling dialogue.

Module 3 – Perspective and Setting
In this module you’ll look at the ways perspective and setting impact the way the reader views the narrative, and you’ll also work through the different points of view available to you as a writer. Within this, you’ll discuss how what is noticed can depend on who is noticing, and the power inherent within this, and you’ll play with perspective in your writing.

Module 4 – Defamiliarisation, Getting Unstuck, and Style
This module will cause you to make strange the familiar, helping you to unlock your writing and prevent writers’ block. You’ll also look at the ways research can aid your writing, and the ways in which other writers can support your work. In this module, you’ll also take a deeper look at your own writing style, the language you use, and the ways this impacts on the stories you tell. This module will contain a 1-1 tutorial with your tutor.

Module 5 – Plot and Structure
You’ll discuss the different types of structure available to you as a writer in the module, paying particular interest to the structures which are most common across cultures. You’ll look at plot and consequence in your own writing and discuss movement and progression in your narratives. You’ll also read examples from short stories and novels which use non-standard or innovative structures, as well as “plotless” novels.

Module 6 – Revision and Ending
In this final module, you’ll hone in on the trickiest part of writing fiction: rewriting and self editing. You’ll learn the difference between a structural edit and a line edit, you’ll pair up to exchange work with your fellow writers of feedback, and you’ll discover the tips and ticks that writers use to edit their own work.

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

Writing Fiction: Next Steps course = £945

 

How to apply

This is an intermediate-level course. To apply, we ask that you submit:

1. A 500-word sample of your work

2. A one-paragraph introduction to yourself.

Email learning@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk to apply. Please format your email’s subject line: ‘[your name] application for Next Steps Fiction’. Applications are assessed and places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Application deadline Midday GMT Wednesday 7th September.

Committing to an 18-week course is a big decision for any writer. If you have any questions at all please do get in touch at learning@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk.

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 Next Steps Creative Writing Online courses take place entirely over the internet. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.
  • Duration
    • 18 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 18 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 schedule

  • 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 2-week break over Christmas)
  • Module 6: Monday 16th January – Sunday 5th February

Zoom sessions 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

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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 some training or beginners courses who want to:

  • Take your writing to the next level
  • Build your confidence
  • Develop your writing routine
  • Receive tutor feedback on your writing
  • Discuss your writing with peers

Writing Fiction: Next Steps course = £945

 

Writing Fiction: Next Steps 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

Megan Bradbury

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.

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 an in-depth exploration of fiction-writing skills with plenty of tutor feedback and Zoom sessions on the novel and short story forms and the publishing business.

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.

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