Start Your Novel

An online creative writing course

Course Fee: £245 with feedback / £165 without feedback – Get between 5% and 20% off by becoming a Retreat West Author Member. Info here.

The online Start Your Novel Course will help you get a novel outline and plan in place and get to know your story, characters and world before you start writing the first draft.

Course tutor

Amanda Saint is a novelist, short writer and the founder of Retreat West. She is also the commissioning editor and publisher at Retreat West Books. Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month, longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2016, and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016. Her new novel, Remember Tomorrow, is publishing in February 2019. Amanda designs and teaches many online courses and teaches live workshops at literary festivals and writing retreats. She has helped many writers to develop their work, the majority of whom have gone on to get published .


Course content

The course content is designed to get you going with your novel. Over the 6 weeks you will do planning and preparation work that will give you a great insight into your story before you start writing the draft.

You receive the content weekly via email.

  • Week 1: The easy 10-point plot – exercises and readings to guide you through making a plan and 10-point plot to guide you through the writing of the first draft.
  • Week 2: Creating complex characters – exercises and readings to help you get to know your main character and supporting cast and find all of their voices.
  • Week 3: Characters in relationships – exercises and readings to reveal how your characters behave with each other and how they react in different situations.
  • Week 4: Character transformation through conflict – exercises and readings to get the external and internal conflicts that will drive your story forward in place.
  • Week 5: Creating a world – exercises and readings to help you create the world your characters live in and use your descriptive writing to develop character and plot.
  • Week 6: Story structure and your plot – exercises and readings to map your plot against story structure and get a working synopsis in place.
At the end of the course you get feedback on your 10-point plot, synopsis and story idea from course creator, Amanda Saint.



Sign up and pay the course fee through PayPal using the relevant button below then you will be prompted to give your name and email address to complete the purchase process. You will then start receiving the content automatically via email.

You don’t have to have a PayPal account and can pay using a credit or debit card.


Start Your Novel Course – With Feedback £245

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Start Your Novel Course – Without Feedback £165

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If you sign up as a Retreat West Author Member you’ll get a discount of between 5% and 20% on our courses included in your benefits package, as well as whole load of other great stuff to get you writing, learning and submitting more. Get info here.