Writing a novel is hard work whatever your circumstances but there are particular challenges faced by people who are combining novel-writing with bringing up children. Finding time to write, finding ‘headspace’ when you have the time, rediscovering the ability to concentrate on a long-term project and balancing the needs and the demands of family life with your own creativity – all these issues will be discussed, but this is also a practical course that combines discussion with writing exercises and advice and a chance to brainstorm your own idea for a novel. It’s time for the excuses to stop and the writing to begin. Expect to work hard during each of the four-hour sessions, with a short ‘snack break’ and still be home in time to do the school run.
Course requirements: this course is aimed at writers who are either about to embark on their first novel or who are in the early stages of one. In advance, students will be asked to attempt a one-page synopsis of their idea to bring to the course. During the course they will be asked to discuss their idea and give feedback on those of others and participate in exercises. It would also be useful for participants to read Louise Doughty’sWhatever You Love prior to the plotting and structuring discussion on Day Four.
Day One: Introduction and discussion of particular challenges of writing with children; practical writing exercises about increasing discipline and concentration; writing exercises designed to establish what your novel is about and where it is going.
Day Two: Character development, how to generate ideas, the uses and abuses of research and autobiographical material.
Day Three: Writing dialogue, practical exercises to encourage realistic dialogue within novel-writing. Guest tutor session.
Day Four: Plotting and narrative structure. An intensive session to plot the material you have for your novel and to learn how to structure it, discussion of screen-writing models and the structural crisis Louise Doughty had with Whatever You Love, a chance to brainstorm your own plot ideas.
Day Five: Sustaining progress and finishing a novel, combining your work with your daily life, mopping up of other areas of technique and Q&A session. Next steps.
Louise Doughty is a novelist, playwright and critic. She is the author of six novels: Crazy Paving; Dance With Me;Honey-Dew; ; Stone Cradle; and Whatever You Love, which was published by Faber & Faber in 2010, longlisted for the Orange Prize for fiction and shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award. She has also written one work of non-fiction, the how-to-write book, A Novel in a Year, based on her highly successful newspaper column. She is currently writing another column called the Short Story Club for the Daily Telegraph’s Saturday Review section. In addition, she has written five plays for radio and worked widely as a critic and broadcaster for BBC Radio 4, including regular appearances on programmes such as Saturday Review and Quote Unquote. She was a judge for the 2008 Man Booker Prize. She has two school-age children and no childcare. She lives in North London and her house is a mess.
The course will take place from Monday 11 to Friday 15 February inclusive at the Faber Academy, Faber & Faber UK Ltd, Great Russell Street, London WC1.
Maximum number of students: 15 places, on a first-come basis.
Faber Academy is a creative writing school run by one of the great independent publishing houses, Faber and Faber. Based on 80 years of publishing experience, Faber Academy knows what writers need space and support. Enjoy the best tuition from hand-picked authors, editors and agents, on a range of practical courses – to help you get it written, and written well.
We're very excited to be launching The Mumsnet Academy - a brand new enterprise which aims to curate a portfolio of fantastic courses to fit around family commitments and busy working lives.
A while back we asked you what courses you would like and the programme of masterclasses, workshops, and events we've come up with is a reflection of your responses.
To help us deliver the programme we have enlisted some fabulous experts in a range of fields as well as teaming up with some great partners who have a reputation for delivering high-quality, life-changing courses.
This collaborative approach allows us to offer a programme across a range of different subjects including entrepreneurship, business, technology, social media, blogging, history of art, creative writing, publishing, gardening, philosophy, finance, fashion as well as courses concerned with self-improvement and the concept of learning to live wisely and well. Some of these courses will be skill-based, while others will explore concepts, theory and ideas.
If we've missed something you think is a must, fear not, we will be adding classes to our portfolio all the time so please drop us a line or complete the suggestion box on our website.
One of the things that we felt was important was to ensure our Academy courses are available across the UK and we are pleased to announce that we will be running events in Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Manchester from day one. We are also keen to develop some online courses and hope to announce the first of these later this year.
While our courses are scheduled at times which are more convenient for those with young children, they are absolutely open to everyone. Ultimately, the overall aim of the Mumsnet Academy is to bring people together in a thought-provoking and fulfilling environment where there is a universal willingness to explore ideas, develop skills, and learn from experts as well from each other.