Writing your first novel with Rebecca Horsfall

Ref: SWE32998

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About this course

Learn the principles of storytelling, plotting, structure, style and pace. Explore how to begin a novel, some of the pitfalls to avoid, and how to keep improving as a writer.

Course Description

On this course, you will learn the fundamental principles of novel writing as we explore the most important aspects of storytelling, plotting, structure, pace and style. You will discover how to approach the all-important opening chapter, how to choose tenses and viewpoints for different types of novel and how to find your own unique voice as a writer. We will also discuss some of the most common pitfalls in novel-writing and how to avoid them.

Through intensive teaching, exercises and discussion, you will discover essential techniques for turning your inspiration into well-crafted novels. You will learn what it is that agents and publishers are looking for and how to develop your skills further, as well as gaining an insight into the novelist's life. For each section of the course, the tutor will provide written course notes and worksheets.

There will also be an opportunity to get personal constructive feedback on your work in progress from your tutor; therefore, you are invited to bring a sample of your novel, a synopsis or an idea, if you would like to, for yourself and the tutor to look at together.

By the end of the course, you will know the vital ingredients that make a novel compelling for readers. You will understand the techniques that writers employ to achieve this and how to go about using these skills in your own fiction writing. You will have gained the confidence to start developing your own writing, towards becoming a professional published novelist.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The tutor will provide written course notes and worksheets.

What students need to bring

  • Any written work you would like to discuss with the tutor
  • A notebook and a pen

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Notebooks and pens

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Rebecca Horsfall

Rebecca is a best-selling novelist who has also worked for many years as a script writer and editor in the West End theatre. She has been teaching fiction writing for the past decade and has worked as an editor and coach with more than a hundred different novelists.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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If you’re looking to complete the first draft of a novel and learn about the publishing process. The two-year, part-time MA Creative Writing and Publishing is taught by professional authors and visiting industry professionals. Find out more