How To Write A Novel: Course Details

As you know, I run the online creative writing programme for the Unthank School of Writing, a subsidiary of the independent publisher Unthank Books, established in 2010 by the author Ashley Stokes and the literary agent Robin Jones. One of the courses I’m teaching myself, ‘How To Write A Novel,’ is starting in a couple of weeks and we still have several places available if anyone out there is interested or knows someone looking for a high quality, friendly and affordable online writing course.

This popular course runs for three months starting September 14, and because it’s conducted entirely online through our Virtual Learning Environment it’s open to anyone in the world with a reasonable grasp of English, internet access, and the desire to write a novel. It’s as easy as social networking. There are no other entrance requirements. You can find details of the course here:

You’ll note the course covers every aspect of novel writing, from planning to writing, editing and publishing, including industry advice on pitching to literary agents and quality self-publication. It can also be applied to whatever type of novel you want to write, or which you are already writing. The course is built around an online writers’ forum, with modular lessons and exercises, and a guarantee that I will be live and online for eight hours a week to answer any questions. I will also be reading and feeding back on student writing. And you get all this for £349.00 GBP (approx. $534.00 USD). You can find out more about my teaching methods here.

This particular course has quite a small group of students registered, a bit like an Oxbridge tutorial, so there’s an opportunity here to receive some very detailed personal mentoring. Just to remind you who I am: I taught literature and creative writing at the University of East Anglia for 16 years (where I also took my doctorate), and I’m a well-known editor with years of experience in traditional and independent publishing. I’m presently a reader for The Literary Consultancy in London and Senior Editor at Green Door Design for Publishing. I’ve been writing and publishing fiction and non-fiction since the early-90s. I also coach writers, and to be honest the fee for ‘How To Write A Novel’ would only cover three sessions, whereas if you take this course you’ll get to work closely with me for three months. Similarly, the Unthank School of Writing is expanding all the time, so this is probably the last chance to take this course at this price.


Here’s what students from the last group said about ‘How To Write A Novel’:

‘The course ‘How to Write a Novel’ by Stephen Carver is a gem you rarely come across. Stimulating exercises and a systematic approach to the elements of prose writing are complemented by the tutor’s commitment, and encouragement – for everyone. I’ve written more within five weeks than I would ever have thought possible. I can see my novel taking shape. Thank you.’ — Sabine Meier, Germany.

‘This course has really given me a buzz and a springboard to completing an idea which I had in my head, managed a rough draft but didn’t know where to go from there. Stephen has introduced me to some incredibly talented fellow writers on this online course and we spark off each other, creating friendly and encouraging discussions and critique on our work in progress. Stephen has given me invaluable and in depth advice and suggestions on the exercises, and I am amazed that indeed, I do have the will and tools to do this. I would highly recommend this course to anyone, Stephen’s knowledge of the writing industry is incredible and his encouragement has really helped me to focus on bringing my ideas to life.’ — Jane Markland, UK.

‘I greatly enjoyed the course, which provided a friendly, supportive environment for being creative. The online format worked very well for getting detailed feedback from other students and the tutor, and I feel I’ve progressed as a writer thanks to the course.’ — Elizabeth Skoda, UK & Austria.

‘I didn’t even know I had a novel in me until this course and now it is well under way.’ — Amber Bradbury, UK.


This is a tiny bit of the first module…

Starting Your Novel: The Situation

There’s a beautiful moment in Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Hours when Virginia Woolf, already struggling with the depression that will eventually destroy her, goes to her husband after working all day and proudly announces, ‘I have a first line.’ The reader, with hindsight, knows, of course, that contained in that first line is the whole of Mrs. Dalloway.

Time to do Exercise Five.

Think about the novel in your head, or the one you’re presently working on, as appropriate, and the first lines you analysed in Exercises Two and Three. Write five opening lines. These can all be different approaches to the same novel, or the beginning of five unique stories.

Please post these on the Discussion Board.

You’ve now planted the seed. If you nurture it, then in six to twelve months’ time this will be your Mrs. Dalloway.

If you’d like to register for this course you can do so here, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Otherwise, please spread the word – your support is, as ever, greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading…



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