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The beginner's guide to writing a novel

Guardian Masterclasses

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM (GMT)

The beginner's guide to writing a novel

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The beginner's guide to writing a novel   more info Jan 22, 2020 £49.00 £2.83
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Event Details

Would you like to write a novel, but don’t know where to start? Join author Tim Lott for this introductory masterclass on the basic skills you need to get writing.

It may sound far-fetched, but it's true that anyone can learn the key qualities that publishers look for in a novel. While only a few of us will pen a bestseller or prize-winner, if you have persistence, understanding of the basic principles, and some invaluable advice from acclaimed novelist Tim Lott, you'll be well on your way to crafting your magnum opus.

The emphasis of this course is to get a grasp on what you’re up against – and to make it clear that although talent can’t be taught, story techniques and principles do exist and are very powerful. Learn them well and you will have the basic tools to write a novel.

Tim will introduce you to the “classical” story structure as well as help you to understand the importance of creating three-dimensional, believable characters. He will also share his tips on getting started – and sticking with – writing your novel.


  • How does a story work?
  • How do you begin?
  • How do you keep yourself motivated to finish?
  • What are the most common mistakes novice writers make?
  • What shape is a story?
  • What’s more important: plot or character?

Tutor profile

Tim Lott is the author of eight novels and Penguin Modern Classic memoir The Scent of Dried Roses. He is one of the most sought-after writing teachers in the country, particularly through his personal mentoring services. His writing has been highly praised by Hilary Mantel, Alan Bennett, Sebastian Faulks, Tony Parsons and Sarah Waters, among others. His students are equally enthusiastic – read their testimonials.

Tim’s help got me to a point where I was ready to write my next draft. That next draft got me an agent.
Ben McPherson, A Line of Blood

No one else could have taught me what Tim did. Without him I can safely say I would still be flailing around in piles of rejection slips.
Rebecca Thornton, The Exclusives

All Guardian Masterclasses are fully accessible but please contact us at if you have any queries or concerns.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about The beginner's guide to writing a novel? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

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When & Where

The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM (GMT)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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