My Novel Writing Course







1.  You request the first FREE module and assignment, send me your completed work, and I comment and advise. The course is conducted entirely by email.

2. You then decide if you'd like to proceed with Module 2.  If so, you pay a Paypal invoice for $24.70. Your module price remains fixed for the entire course, even if there is a price rise for new starters.

3. Each time you complete a module and have your assignment returned, you make a decision: Do I want to continue?  You are not held to a contract or weekly commitment; you pay-as-you-go and take as long as you like on each module. If life gets in the way, just let me know and we press the pause button. 

4. Many of the assignments require you to produce chapters of your novel - thus, you get expert advice throughout the planning and writing process. While you are never harassed or bullied, you have the extra motivation of knowing you have an assignment to complete.  Just one assignment - not a whole novel! 



Module 1. 

Finding Inspiration.   This module  looks at using writing prompts and other means to get story ideas.  In the assignment, students are asked to identify a genre, main character and  very broad idea for their new story.  The second half of the module examines the need to hook the reader from the very first paragraph.

Module 2.

Characters - Depicting the Externals and  building a physical profile of your main character. You will be asked to devise a character, and profile his or her  physical characteristics. You will also learn to build a powerful plot.

Module 3.

The Psychology of Character - profiling the psychological and personality attributes of the main character.  You will create a plot outline and see the need for a plot arc of rising tension

Module 4.

Show - Don't tell - practice in converting exposition into engaging action scenes. The second part of the module deals with plotting - The Inciting Incident. You will be required to establish the inciting incident for your novel. You will also look at the importance of setting.

Module 5.

Further Character Development - using Birth Order Theory and Enneagrams.  The second part of the module examines the character's needs, wants and obstacles to success.  By this point, you will have sufficient idea of the nature of your novel to produce your Chapter One for critiquing.

Module 6. 

Dialogue - Understanding its Function. In the course of this module, the nuts and bolts of scribing and punctuating dialogue will be covered. If individual students need more work in this areas, worksheets will be provided. The second half of this module turns to plotting again - this time looking at the essential 'Darkest Moment' in the plot.

Module 7.

More Dialogue - The Sub-text. Students will learn to write realistic dialogue that includes what is NOT being said - as revealed in body language, gesture and tone. There will be practice in the correct use of dialogue tags, action tags, and no tags at all.

Module 8.

Setting as Atmosphere and Mood-maker. An examination that takes setting beyond mere location and gives students practice in creating mood and atmosphere - applied, as always, to their own novels.  As an extension of this, the second half of the module look at tapping the readers' senses to create immediacy and involvement.  At this point, students are required to write the chapter that includes the Darkest Moment. [Note that key elements of the plot are extracted and worked on first, so there is a framework to shape the rest].

Module 9.

Theme and Tone. These terms are explained and explored as the undercurrent below the novel's surface.  Similarly, the second half of the module looks at allusion, metaphor and symbolism - subtle ways to enhance the text.

Module 10.

The mid-point module looks at the overall plan of attack for writing a novel and the various work practices that novelists employ. This module is full of practical ideas for organising and completing your work-in-progress. Students produce a full story line for their novel.




"My commitment to you doesn't stop with the marking of your assignments.  I am always available by email to respond to any further questions you may have. I may also send you basic skills worksheets; suggest that you revise an exercise, or offer a different approach to a chapter. "

Jim Parsons




The course material comprises 92,000 words - the equivalent of a 300-350 page book. You'll be pleased to receive it in small chunks! This on-line writing course is a great writing workshop as close as your laptop.


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Module 11.

Plotting Outline and Story Arc.  In this module, students learn to simplify their plot into an overview that resembles a 3-act play. They learn how to devise a good story arc with rising tension.  in the second half of the module, other plotting techniques are examined.

Module 12.

Person and Tense. Even though the student will have decided on a person and tense for the work-in-progress, nevertheless, this aspect of novel-writing must be explored. The second half of the module will look at plotting in scenes.

Module 13.

Point of View (POV). This  aspect of the novel is crucial to maintaining the reader's involvement with the character. In this module, First person POV is discussed and practiced.  The second half of this module looks at a variety of narrative techniques.

Module 14.

Point of View - 3rd Person. There are several types of 3rd Person POVs to experiment with.  Pros and cons of all POV styles are discussed. The second half of the module looks at the value of constructing a time line.

Module 15.

Plotting for Conflict and Tension. This module looks at the difference between a storyline and a plot, and examines the different kinds of conflict.  The second half of the module is devoted to 'tight writing' and  the development of a personal style.

Module 16.

Internal Conflict. This module deals with a most important and compelling form of conflict in a novel. The second half of the module returns to the writing of  dialogue to examine ways to distinguish characters by their dialogue, treat accents and further reveal characterization through dialogue.

Module 17.

What's Up, Doc - a module devoted to helping the writer track down flaws that might be holding his or her novel back.  The second half of the module looks at a great strengthening device in a good novel - the interior journey of the main character.

Module 18.

The Mythic Journey. Many novels lend themselves to incorporating mythic elements that readers subconsciously recognise and warm to. Students will explore the possibility of using the Mythic or Hero's Journey in their work.

Module 19.

The Climax and Resolution.  A weak ending can ruin an otherwise good novel.  Students will learn about creating a forceful climax and subsequent  resolution or denouement.

Module 20.

Self-Publish and be Damned. This final module looks at the options open to the novice writer with a polished manuscript in hand. It deals with agents, publishers and various forms of self-publishing.  the second half of the book looks at the necessary step of re-working that first draft until it is ready to offer to a publisher. 

This is the best complete writing workshop around!