Writing your novel: A six-week creative writing programme with Ross Raisin, Online, Tuesday, 15. September 2020
About this Event
Finding the headspace to nurture and accomplish a creative project can be difficult, particularly in the chaos of our current moment. As any seasoned writer will tell you, writing a novel is a challenge - but it can be done, with the right blend of stamina, skill and inspiration.
If you’re looking to develop your idea for a novel, or you’ve already started writing one, this six-week online programme with award-winning novelist Ross Raisin - featuring an innovative mix of live workshops, a supportive discussion forum and one-to-one tuition - will furnish you with the structure, confidence and technique you need to get writing. And be fearless about what you can achieve long after the course ends.
Over six consecutive, high-impact weeks, you and other aspiring writers will learn how to craft your story page by page, covering everything from creating vivid characters, and writing sharp dialogue, to drafting and editing.
Each Tuesday evening, Ross will explore a key aspect of writing through nuanced analysis and practical activities in live workshops, giving you feedback and advice throughout, as well as an exercise to keep you going through the week. On top of that, the course includes a personalised tuition session with Ross, during which he will discuss up to 3,000 words of your writing on a bespoke, one-to-one basis.
Taught sessions are complimented by constructive discussion and peer feedback in a forum of your fellow writers, so that you will not only equip yourself with a deeper understanding of the art of fiction, but also leave the course with a unique and supportive writing community to guide you in your next steps.
If you’ve got an idea for a novel, or have already started working on one, this inspiring programme will empower you with a new creative direction, as well as a toolkit of skills to unlock your true potential - and pursue the novel you know you’re capable of writing.
This six-week programme provides the perfect environment to develop your idea for a novel.
You will be sent a selection of texts before the course, to be read during the weekly sessions and discussed with analytical guidance from Ross. You will also be encouraged to complete a light-touch exercise which will help you develop your novel outline, ready to share in the first class.
The outline you bring doesn’t need to be fully formed and shouldn’t be more than a page long. There will be valuable opportunities to work on your synopsis during the first two weeks of the programme.
Week 1: Creating characters
Characters are at the heart of all good fiction. Ross has created some memorable and distinctive characters, among them Sam Marsdyke, the solitary young farmer in God’s Own Country (shortlisted for nine literary awards), and Mick Little, the former shipbuilder in Ross’s critically acclaimed second novel, Waterline.
This first session is a fantastic chance to learn from Ross’s experience as a writer, and will see you receive expert advice on developing vivid and memorable characters for your own novel. What makes them tick? What are their motivations and fears? How can you ensure they are realistic and relatable in some way?
In the second part of the session, you will turn to your synopsis, for the start of a group project that you will continue in the second week.
Week 2: Developing your idea
Developing and managing your plot is the key to establishing the flow of your novel. During this second session, you will learn how to build your idea into something that has narrative momentum.
Then, following on from the previous week, you will fine-tune your story outline, and have the opportunity to share your burgeoning idea and receive constructive feedback.
Week 3: The writing process: drafting, re-drafting and editing
Writing is rewriting - and every writer must find their own way to revise their work. Many writers struggle with this stage, but in this third session, you will learn not only how to complete your first draft, but how to re-draft and edit your writing to bring out its strengths. The techniques learned in this session will last you a lifetime, enabling you to become a more confident and skilful writer.
Week 4: The secrets of writing great dialogue
What do we mean by ‘great dialogue’? The ways in which your characters speak demonstrates how convincing they are, as well as the credibility of your novel; it can be all too easy to write in dialogue that’s wooden, expositive, or excessive.
During this session, you will learn a range of techniques that will help you to strike a balance that works for you and your book, while also engaging your readers and advancing your story.
Week 5: Style
Take a look at any handful of novels and you will see that language can be used to create different effects. In this session, you will examine the crucial relationship between style and content, and how to find your own unique style. You will also look at three very different extracts of fiction, in which different styles match perfectly to content.
Week 6: Wrap-up, plus advice on getting published
This final session is an opportunity to look at everything you’ve covered during the six weeks, and refresh your mind about key learnings - as well as to celebrate how far you have come since beginning.
You and your peers will receive invaluable advice from Ross about the business of writing, including tips on the publishing process and how to approach literary agents with your novel. You will be encouraged to share your writing with the group through informal readings, and set goals to continue working on after the course.
You will complete the programme with the technical abilities and inspiration to write your book chapter by chapter, as well a new support group of other writers in different corners of the world. And then, onwards to publication!
You will be sent a link to the webinar 1hr before the start time of 7pm (BST).
Ross Raisin was named one of Granta’s best of young British novelists in 2013. He’s the author of three novels: A Natural, Waterline and God’s Own Country, for which he won a Betty Trask award and was named the Sunday Times young writer of the year in 2009. Ross has written short stories for Esquire, BBC Radio 3 and Granta, among others, and has contributed to anthologies, including Best British Short Stories. He teaches creative writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.
This masterclass is available globally. If you are joining us from outside the United Kingdom, please use this to check your local live streaming time.