Take your first steps as a fiction writer with
Prepare yourself to succeed writing short stories or novels. Whether you’re new to writing fiction, are having a moment of doubt, or want to refresh your core skills, this course will ensure your story has the strongest foundation possible. Over six weeks you’ll learn fast and effectively in a structured small-group experience based on learning science. Prepare to be challenged.
By the end of this course, you’ll have a complete short story or the start of a novel, plus the skills, confidence, and writing habits you need to start your next project or tackle a rewrite.
This course is delivered with our education partner, Professional Writing Academy, and uses the same platform as our Ultimate Novel Writing Course.
This course at a glance:
A Six-Week Course
Suitable for all skill levels
Flexible Online Learning
New sessions released weekly
A Writing Community
Find your writing tribe
Fiction Foundations Course Syllabus
Session 1: Becoming a Writer
You’ll start the course by examining how successful fiction writers work, and learning practical ways to foster creativity and develop your writing discipline. You’ll use writing prompts to generate lots of ideas, and experiment with automatic writing, as you set your writing goals and build a daily writing practice. There’s a group Zoom with your tutor.
Session 2: Who’s Telling the Story?
In this second part of the course, we’ll help you master narrative viewpoint and understand how narrators function, and who the person telling the story really is. You’ll practise first, second, and third person narration, so that you can make an informed decision about the best narrative viewpoint for your story. Your tutor will respond to the practical exercises.
Session 3: Compelling Characters
You’ll learn how to make your characters engaging and believable, as you experiment with practical techniques based on memory and images, and hone your observation skills. You’ll share character sketches for workshopping, and you can ask the tutor anything during the session.
Session 4: Setting and Mood
In this next session, we’ll focus on creating settings that transport your readers through space and time, while also adding some atmosphere to your story. You’ll use visual prompts and your senses to provoke a variety of emotional responses in your readers. Then you’ll write the opening of a story and workshop it with the group. There’s a group Zoom with a guest author.
Session 5: Story Structure
In this penultimate session, you’ll explore the different shapes and forms stories can take, and think about simple ways to develop pace and plot in your writing. You’ll think about beginnings, middles and ends, write some flash fiction, and then create a longer piece of writing to workshop with the group. Your tutor will respond to the practical exercises.
Session 6: Pull it all Together
In the final session, you’ll culminate all the techniques you’ve learned as you write a longer piece of writing of up to 3,000 words. You can write something completely new, or rework a piece you wrote earlier in the course to create a short story or novel opening. You’ll learn some key ways to beat writer’s block, discover some practical editing tips and plan your next steps. You can ask the tutor anything during the session, and your tutor will give you individual written feedback on your final submission.
Your Tutor: Mandy Byatt
Mandy Byatt is author of two psychological suspense novels, Just Another Liar and The Younger Woman, published by Avon Books. She has been shortlisted in the Gransnet/HQ novel competition and Woman & Home short story competition as well as long-listed in the HWA/Sharpe Books Unpublished Novel Award and Orange Pathé screenwriting competition. She was also a winner of a Radio 5 Live monologue competition. In 2021, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, and she has run online creative writing groups for Faber Academy and New Writing North.
Why choose this course?
Flexible learning Study when suits you in a fully tutored course with deadlines to keep you motivated. With lifetime access to the course materials, you can come back for reminder lessons whenever needed
Direct tutor feedback on your work As well as weekly general feedback shared with the class and an introductory Zoom meeting, your tutor will provide personalised written feedback on your final submission and be on hand via forums to answer any of your questions throughout the course
Weekly peer-to-peer feedback You’ll get regular input from your peers as you workshop your writing and learn how to read like an editor, producing incisive commentary on why a piece of writing works (or not)
Small class sizes With no more than 15 people per course, you’re guaranteed to receive personalised attention from your tutors and classmates
State-of-the-art learning technology Our virtual learning environment delivers content in the most accessible and enjoyable way possible, as used by our Ultimate Novel Writing Course students
Publishing industry knowledge Our tutors are all working writers which means you’ll get insight to the ins and outs of the publishing world as you learn
Learn from the experts Alongside your course tutor, you’ll have the chance to quiz another top author about their work, journey to publication and top writing tips in a special live Q&A on Zoom
End the course with a short story or the opening of a novel In the final session, you’ll pull together everything you’ve learned to complete a short story or the start of a novel. You’ll leave with the confidence and technical skill to take your writing forwards, as well as individual tutor feedback on your final submission
A community of writers Make lifelong writing friends who will be with you every step of the way as you write your novel
Who is this course for?
This Fiction Foundations course is ideal for beginners and for writers who would like a refresher of the essential skills needed for fiction writing. It’s useful for writers of short fiction and novels alike.
This course is suitable if the following apply to you:
- You like reading fiction and are eager to start writing it yourself
- You have experience with writing non-fiction or write as part of your job, and would like to explore your creative side
- You want to get to grips with the basics of story structure and plotting
- You have writing experience but are keen to improve your writing habits and develop a more effective writing routine
- You want some insight into the techniques writers use to create compelling characters and fascinating worlds
- You like experimenting with writing techniques and prompts
- You’d like to experiment with peer feedback, and you benefit from the discipline of having a deadline
- You’d like to be part of a small, friendly group of writers in a workshop environment
- You can dedicate 5-7 hours per week throughout the course’s duration
What will this course teach me?
Over the course, you will learn:
- How to develop the creative and practical skills that are essential for writing fiction
- How to explore your potential for writing fiction
- How to utilise, and experiment with, creative writing prompts
- How to craft characters and settings, use point of view and time effectively, and enhance your use of plotting and structure
- How to widen your reading as a writer
- About the skills professional writers require, such as self-discipline, attention to detail, and the ability to work to a deadline
- How to use close reading to experience how fiction writers use various skills to engage their readers
- How to provide peer feedback which is constructive and encouraging
- How to develop your self-confidence and assess your own work in the build up to writing your final assignment
Is this a Jericho Writers’ course?
We’re delivering this course in partnership with Professional Writing Academy. You can find out more about them here. Within 7 working days after paying for the course, you will receive a confirmation email welcoming you to the course, along with the prospectus. Then on the Friday before the course starts we will send you a login so you can enrol on the platform and find some getting started information and an icebreaker exercise to complete before Session 1 opens on the Monday morning.