Jumpstart Your Novel: How To Start Writing A Book – Jericho Writers
Jericho Writers
Box 321, 266 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7DL, United Kingdom
UK: +44 (0)330 043 0150
US: +1 (646) 974 9060

Jumpstart Your Novel: How To Start Writing A Book

Get your novel idea off the ground with this eight-week long interactive online course

Take the first step towards writing your book with

Knowing how to take your novel from an idea in your head to words on the page can be the hardest part of writing. With this eight-week online course, you’ll work with a small group of writers and an expert tutor to help you take those all-important first steps.

By the end of the course, you’ll have your opening chapter written, an industry-standard synopsis, and a firm plan for how to tackle the next steps.

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:

An Eight-Week Course

Be guided, inspired and challenged

Flexible Online Learning

Watch your novel come to life step by step  

A Writing Community

Tackle your writing problems together

Jumpstart Your Novel Course Syllabus

Session 1: Beginnings

You as a novel writer – why do you want to write this novel, and why is now the right time? Establishing your intent, your mission as a novel writer and committing to the expedition. Finding the right idea – taking inspiration from the world around you, or asking your inner writer to give you a good idea. Share a summary of your novel idea.

Session 2: Character & Plot

Who is going to inhabit this story? And what needs to happen to that character: drama is action! Exercises to help you catch up with your central character and ask them what they long for and want to achieve. Getting more curious about your character and how to introduce them to your reader (and the group) for the first time.

Session 3: Setting & Atmosphere

Bringing real or imagined settings to life in your novel, with practical sensory description techniques. What makes this different from writing a non-fiction description? How to get inside your narrator character so readers have a sense of seeing everything – action, landscapes, interiors, other characters – filtered through the very specific lens of this fictional person.

Session 4: Point of View

The art of listening for the difference in how people express themselves, and how to ‘hear’ the voice of a character in your head when you are writing. What suits you best as a point of view choice – experiment with what comes naturally and other options. Who is most affected by the events of your story?

Session 5: Shaping a Story

How character and plot are intertwined. Build a short scene to introduce your character’s ordinary world, learning how to bury clues and get your readers begging for change. Structural systems to try out, with tricks of the trade including a map in three acts. The dance between plotting and trusting the muse, allowing some space for magic and the unexpected.

Session 6: Write Your Synopsis

How to tell your story in three simple sentences and build it up into a synopsis, a stand-alone version of the story that will help you write a first draft and has the potential to be the blurb readers read on the back-cover. The seven elements of a synopsis and how to enjoy its creative process, clarifying your idea, allowing you to focus on the scope and shape of the story, and learn secrets about your characters, voice and potential as a novelist.

Session 7: Novel Openings

We’re finally there: you have two weeks to immerse yourself in the fictional world you’re creating and write the opening of your novel. We’ll look at setting your narrator’s mood as the novel opens, finding an overarching ‘voice’ that will feel comfortable over the length of a novel, and techniques to draw readers instantly into your fictional world. With your tutor you’ll also think about what next, and how to keep up momentum as a novel writer.

Book Your Place Now


Jumpstart Your Novel Course 2023

Start date: September 25 2023
Duration: 8 weeks
Skill level: Beginner
Session frequency: Weekly
Sessions: 7
Use code JUMPSTART15 to save 15%
Secure your place with a £50 deposit – contact us for more information

Your Tutor: Kylie Fitzpatrick

Kylie Fitzpatrick is the author of four novels, published in eleven languages.
She has Masters and Doctoral degrees in Creative Writing and, until 2019, was a tutor and lecturer on the world-leading Creative Writing Degree and MA courses at Bath Spa University.

Kylie is a commissioning editor at Archetype Books and a literary consultant for Writer’s & Artist’s at Bloomsbury Publishing and Cornerstones.

She has worked in script development for the BBC, Australian Broadcasting Commission and Beyond Productions and has lived and worked in the US, Australia, Europe and the UK.

Why choose this course?

Flexible learning The course fits in easily with your lifestyle as well providing regular deadlines to keep you motivated. With lifetime access to the course materials, you can come back for reminder lessons whenever needed

Personalised tutor feedback You’ll receive heaps of helpful feedback from your tutor through written feedback on your final assignment and a 121 video call. Plus, your tutor will be on hand to answer your questions via fortnightly live webchats and our dedicated ‘ask me anything’ forum

Weekly peer-to-peer feedback Alongside tutor feedback, you’ll get regular input from your peers and learn how to read like an editor to provide helpful editorial advice in return

Community of writers Make lifelong writing friends who will be with you every step of the way as you write your novel

End the course with an effective synopsis and opening chapter Work on the hardest part of your novel with us and leave knowing you have built a solid foundation you can use to construct your novel

Learn from the experts Alongside your main course tutor, you’ll receive wisdom from top author and Ultimate Novel Writing tutor, Natasha Bell in a guest lecture

Gain 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

Small class sizes With no more than 15 people per course, you’re guaranteed to receive personalised attention from your tutors and classmates

Enjoy 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

It’s been the best learning experience I have ever had. That’s partly the amazing material and support, partly that it’s so timely to my writing needs and partly because the online learning platform is so well suited to all this.
Alex, Previous Student
Quotation Mark Quotation Mark

Frequently asked


Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for both beginners and those with some writing experience. As long as you have an idea of what you want to write, you’ll benefit from taking part.

The course is suitable if the following sounds like you:

  • You have an idea of the novel you want to write – it doesn’t have to be fully formed. Perhaps you have a topic you’d like to explore or an idea of a setting, that’s plenty to work with
  • You’d like to explore where your writing can go in the form of a novel
  • You want to get your novel off the ground or stress-test your idea
  • You’re writing a novel but feel blocked with it
  • You want to develop effective novel-writing habits
  • You like the discripline of feedback and deadlines
  • You want to be amongst a small group of dedicated and friendly writers in a workshop environment
  • You’re able to dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course

What will this course teach me?

Over the course you will learn:

  • How to choose great novel ideas and how to realise them
  • How to write an effective synopsis and opening chapter
  • The fundamentals of novel writing including character development, point of view, story, and structure
  • What skills professional writers need including discipline, attention to detail, and writing to deadlines
  • How to become an effective critique partner for your fellow course-mates
  • How to receive and act upon constructive feedback

Where can I find the full course syllabus?

You can find the syllabus here. If you have any more questions about the course, please do get in touch by emailing info@jerichowriters.com.


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.

Not the right course for you? Check out our full range of courses below.