Over six consecutive Wednesday evenings, this course will give you the technical skills and creative inspiration to write your novel – with Ross Raisin, one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists
Writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes stamina, skill and inspiration to craft a story and tell it as well as you possibly can. This six-week writing programme with Ross Raisin, one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, will give the skills and confidence to write the novel you’ve always had in you.
Over six consecutive Wednesday evenings, you’ll learn the key elements of novel-writing, from creating vivid characters to writing sharp dialogue, to the drafting and editing process. Each week involves a mixture of tuition and practical exercises, and in one session, you’ll have the opportunity to receive feedback on your writing. You’ll also be set a manageable amount of homework between some (but not all) sessions, enabling you to improve your writing technique, as well as a few expert tips on getting your novel into print.
By the end of the six weeks, you’ll have a toolkit of skills to help you craft your story page by page, plus the inspiration to continue work on your novel after the course. If you’ve got an idea for a novel, or have already started working on one, this comprehensive programme will give you a new sense of creative direction, as well as a host of skills to unlock your true potential – and write the novel you know you’re capable of writing.
This six-week course provides the perfect environment to develop your idea for a novel. You’re encouraged to arrive at the class with a rough outline or synopsis of the novel you want to start writing, or have already started working on.
The outline you bring to the class doesn’t need to be fully formed, and shouldn’t be more than one-page long. There’ll be valuable opportunities to work on your synopsis during the first two weeks of the course.
Week 1 – Creating characters
Characters are at the heart of all good fiction. Ross has created some of the most memorable and distinctive characters of recent years, from Sam Marsdyke, the solitary young farmer in God’s Own Country (shortlisted for nine literary awards) to Mike Little, the former shipbuilder in Waterline, his critically acclaimed second novel.
This first session is a fantastic chance to learn from Ross’ experience as a writer, and receive expert advice on developing vivid characters for your own novel. In the second part of the session, you’ll turn to your own synopsis, for the start of a group project that you’ll 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’ll learn how to build your idea into something that has narrative momentum.
Then, following on from the previous week, you’ll 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. During the third session, you’ll learn how to write a first draft, as well as 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 become a more confident and skilful writer.
Week 4 – The secrets of writing great dialogue
Great dialogue is one of the ways in which you can lift your characters off the page and make your readers care about them. During this session, you’ll learn a range of techniques that will help you to use dialogue to engage your readers and advance your story.
Week 5 – Style
In the fifth session, you’ll explore how language can be used to create different effects, and examine the crucial relationship between style and content. You’ll 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
The final session is an opportunity to look at everything you’ve covered during the six weeks and refresh your mind about key learnings. You’ll also receive invaluable advice on the business of writing, including tips on the publishing process and approaching literary agents with your novel.
Students will be encouraged to share their writing with the group through informal readings, and set goals to continue working on after the course. You’ll leave the programme with the technical abilities and inspiration to write your book chapter by chapter, and bring out the strengths in your writing, plus a few expert tips on getting your novel into print.
Ross Raisin was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2013. He’s published two novels, Waterline and God’s Own Country, for which he won awards including The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and a Betty Trask Award. Ross has written short stories for Esquire, BBC Radio Three and Granta, among others, and has contributed to anthologies including Best British Short Stories. He teaches creative writing at Goldsmiths University and as part of the UEA-Guardian Masterclasses programme, and is currently working on his third novel.
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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