The London School of Journalism

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Novel Writing


A good novelist offers the reader a story in which events and actions have logical but unpredictable consequences, and which will eventually lead to a satisfying conclusion, but which also give the reader some surprises along the way. This course will help you develop the techniques needed to achieve this.

A novelist needs motivation to write, and many published novelists write not only to earn money but also because they have something to say. You may wish to bring a specific situation or issue to the attention of your readers, or to put your own opinions on record, or to expose injustice. Or maybe you hope to write good stories which have no particular message for the world, but which will give their readers satisfaction and pleasure.

Almost all published novels tell some kind of story, and most of them offer the reader a conclusion which is satisfying in some way, even if it is not hopeful, happy or particularly neat. If you wish to become a published novelist, you should not end a novel in such a way that the reader is going to wonder if you simply ran out of things to say, or did not know how to round everything off.

The work done during this course, and the knowledge and understanding which you gain from your tutor, will set you on the right road to being a successful writer - plotting and dialogue, making your characters believable, understanding narrative, all of these are areas of writing capable of being improved by practice and skilled teaching.

If you want to write fiction which involves romantic or relationship issues, rather than crime or thriller or literary fiction, the romantic fiction course will probably be best for you.

If you have finished the course before completing your novel, and you wish to continue working with your tutor, you can buy 'extensions' to the course which allow you to continue by submitting additional chapters to your tutor. Extensions can be purchased to cover either 3 or 6 chapters, and the process can be continued until your novel is finished.

 

Course Syllabus

  1. Lesson 1: Being a novelist

    The job of a novelist. Choosing a title. Synopsis or outline.

  2. Lesson 2: Plots

    When is an idea a plot and when not? Do novels need plots? Structure - openings, turning points and endings. Satisfying your readers.

  3. Lesson 3: Characterisation

    Heroes and villains. Make your readers care. Show not tell. What motivates your characters? The right names.

  4. Lesson 4: Dialogue

    Believable dialogue - what the reader needs to know. Dialogue in fiction and dialogue in real life.

  5. Lesson 5: Viewpoint

    Looking at viewpoints - and the advantage or disadvantage of each. Making the right choice.

  6. Lesson 6: Structure

    Creating the balance of your narrative - chapters and sections. Atmosphere and using the senses.

  7. Lesson 7: Opening

    Strong openings and hooking your reader. Creating openings that work.

  8. Lesson 8: Dramatisation

    Make your style fit the story. Create drama - and hold the readers' attention. Making your readers identify with your characters.

  9. Lesson 9: Themes

    Is your novel about something? The importance of a theme and how it can help the consistency of your writing.

  10. Lesson 10: Middles

    Mid-term blues - avoiding the doldrums.

  11. Lesson 11: Motivation

    How to stay motivated.

  12. Lesson 12: Reaching your readers

    What will your readers expect? Writers groups and writing 'buddies'.

  13. Lesson 13: Endings

    Writing a good ending. Satisfying your reader.

  14. Lesson 14:Conclusions

    Agents and publishers. Covering letters. What to say and how to say it.

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