The complete six-week guide to writing your novel with Jill Dawson

Online course

Jill Dawson Creative Writing tutor (1).jpgJill Dawson Creative Writing tutor (1).jpg
Andrew Miller.jpgAndrew Miller.jpg
Jo Unwin.jpgJo Unwin.jpg

In the return of this popular highly practical, structured six-week course, novelist and renowned writing mentor Jill Dawson will work with you in a series of webinars and discussions. Offering techniques, inspiration, encouragement and the discipline needed to help you write the novel you’ve long dreamed of writing. 

This online course is suitable for writers at all levels, whether you have an idea for a novel and a desire to write it, or whether you’ve already started writing and want direction on how to progress. Every Friday from October 22 – November 26;  2-4pm

Each Friday afternoon Jill will explore a key aspect of writing a novel.  The sessions will be a weekly injection of energy and inspiration to help you get the novel inside you onto the page. You will learn how to create, improve and shape your novel into something really special. You will be part of an exclusive writing community, able to share ideas with each other via a dedicated class page, and enjoy input from special guests: award-winning author Andrew Miller and top literary agent, Jo Unwin. 

Each week, Jill will invite participants to explore and expand their own writing skills with targeted writing exercises and suggestions for developing or deepening their novel. There will also be opportunities to ask Jill and the guest tutors direct questions, and time too to discuss your writing progress and challenges with the others in the group, in a supportive and positive environment.

Week One, October 22 - Starting a novel and making a plan: Where do our ideas come from?  Can we agree what a novel is? Why do I want to write this novel? What do I need to develop it and keep it going? How much planning should I do? What research do I need?

Week Two, October 29 - Character development and voice: Techniques of characterisation: Who is my central character? What about two handers, ensemble novels, and minor characters? What does a protagonist need to carry a whole novel? Voice: First person, past tense, present tense and how do I decide?

Week Three, November 5 - The tricky middle and keeping going: Making time for writing; tricky plot problems; research for novelists; dialogue and monologue; when and who to share work with; and what does a writer need to get to the end of a novel?

Week Four, November 12 - Guest tutor Andrew Miller:  Author of eight novels, including Pure, winner of the Costa book of the year, and Oxygen, shortlisted for the Booker prize, Andrew is best known as a novelist, though he also writes short fiction and non-fiction. His memoir of living and working as an itinerant was recently published by Granta, and his new novel will be published in Spring 2022. Andrew will talk about his own methodology and you will have the opportunity to put questions to him to really dig deep into his writing process and benefit from his vast experience of tutoring new writers.

Week Five, November 19 - How to get published, with leading literary agent, Jo Unwin: What is an agent looking for?  How do you best approach and secure one, as a debut author?  This session offers a chance to put your questions to an industry professional and find out what an agent is looking for in a new writer, and how to make sure your submission is as polished as it can be.

Jo Unwin began her career as an actor and writer for TV before joining the publishing world in 2008. A few years later, she set up JULA Ltd, a boutique literary agency based at Somerset House, and was shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year in 2019. She represents authors of literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, Young Adult fiction and fiction for children aged 9+. She also represents comic writing and narrative non-fiction. Her clients include bestsellers such as Candice Carty-Williams, Kit de Waal, Brian Bilston and Jenny Colgan.

Week Six, November 26 - Redrafting, troubleshooting & next steps: Revisiting your synopsis, how to keep going, how to make time for your writing and celebrate your progress.  A chance to reflect on what you've achieved and plan your next steps. 

About the course leader: 

Jill Dawson is an award-winning novelist and poet, author of ten novels. Her most recent The Crime Writer was about Patricia Highsmith, and The Language of Birds, about the murder of the nanny in the Lord Lucan story.  She has taught creative writing in a variety of settings and is the founder of Gold Dust Mentoring. Gold Dust is a team of top writers (including Louise Doughty and Sarah Hall) who have helped a huge number of first time writers to reach publication and writing success.

Here’s what our previous cohort of writers thought of the course:  

“Jill’s personality and teaching method was constructive, enjoyable and appropriate to a diverse group of people”

“The whole course was wonderful. Jill was so generous in sharing her knowledge and experience, and was an absolute delight. I absolutely loved every minute of it.”

“Hugely inspirational & informative.”

“It was so overwhelmingly positive and encouraging”

“It was open, non-judgmental and so very supportive.”

The course will be accessed via Zoom and you will be encouraged to have your camera on and required to have your microphone on at certain times. Numbers are limited.  Recordings of the classes will be available to view afterwards.

To register to attend click on 'book online' in the information box. Please note, you will need to be logged in to see the booking button.

For questions about this course please contact courses@thetimes.co.uk

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