The Novel Creator

A Mentored Course

The Novel Creator is a year-long, online course featuring 1-1 mentoring with an experienced, knowledgeable and supportive mentor.

Designed to take you from an idea to a complete first draft, it can also be used to revise an existing draft.

Course start date: 13th September 2021
Application deadline: 15th August 2021

Spaces are by application only and are strictly limited to just 18 writers so that we can can give focused attention to you and your work.

The course also includes a year’s membership to our friendly and lively online community, at the Fiction Writing Fanatic level*, to help you develop all aspects of your creative writing. This gives you access to all of our community only articles, monthly masterclasses and workshops, live Zoom feedback sessions, and weekly Zoom writing sessions; plus it includes entries to our competitions, discounts on our short courses and editorial services, and ebook editions of the books we publish. There’s also loads of writers hanging out there chatting about all things reading and writing!

*If you are already a member of our community at this level, your membership will be extended for another year from the current expiry date. If you have one of the other membership packages, you’ll be upgraded to Fiction Writing Fanatic for one year.

Pay in Full
£2550
Pay in Installments
£295 a month for 10 months

“I feel lucky to have taken this course. The tutorials and exercises were excellent; the mentoring truly outstanding. If you are serious about the craft of writing novels, I can’t recommend it highly enough.” 

John Lutz
Course Success Story

John Lutz was a student on the 2018-19 course and has recently signed a publishing contract with Pushkin Vertigo for the novel he wrote on the course, London Black. Read all about it here.


What’s included in the course?


Discover all the tools novelists use in 33 tutorials accessible 24/7 on your laptop, tablet and phone in our dedicated course space with community forum.

Get insightful and tailored 1-1 advice from your mentor during six Zoom mentoring sessions. Plus each module has a live Q&A with all three mentors.

Get a full manuscript review at the end of course with detailed notes on what’s working, what’s not and ideas on how you can take it to the next level.

You’ll have a dedicated course forum, access to our friendly online community, and a writing buddy for sharing work for feedback.

Get advice, guidance and ideas for launching your career as an author; along with tips on how to connect with readers and get your work noticed.

Pitch your work to literary agents and indie publishers at the end of course online event to get feedback and make industry connections.

Our promise to you

We’re ambitious for your work and we will ask that you are ambitious too. We will take you seriously as writers and we will ask that you do the same. We can’t promise you the Booker Prize, but we can promise that if you put in the hours on this course and apply what you learn, you’ll emerge a significantly better writer.


“My approach to writing an entire book is more time efficient. The prose itself is more contemporary and the voice more direct. When Amanda told me what was working in my novel and what I needed to change, she was right every time. Her editing transformed my work into the best writing I have ever done. Can you ask for anything more?”

Mary Kathleen Mehuron

Why do this course?

We designed this course specifically to take you from wherever your writing is at right now to a completed, professionally reviewed draft. It’s the course we wish we’d had when we first started writing.

But our aim is not just to get one book out of you – because we focus on the underlying principles of storytelling which can transform inspirations into polished, meaningful forms again and again, our aim is to make you better writers, to teach you how to edit your own work, and to give you a writing career. What you’ll learn can be applied to all the novels you’ll write in the future.

Designed and delivered by Amanda Saint and C.M. Taylor, with additional mentoring support from Isabel Costello, this course is for writers of all genres in adult and young adult fiction who want to understand the fundamentals of storytelling and learn how to write tighter, more compelling drafts with memorable characters. 


For years writing a novel was a pipe-dream for me. Then I joined this course and 9 months later I had a manuscript and was talking to agents. If you’ve had a book idea in your head and not known how to progress it – do the course – you will only look forwards.” 

Naomi Lockwood


Your mentors

Amanda Saint

As a writer 

Amanda’s debut novel, As If I Were A River, was longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016. Her second novel, Remember Tomorrow, published in March 2019 to critical acclaim. Amanda’s flash fictions have been widely published; longlisted in the Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, Fish Flash Fiction Prize, and Ink Tears Short Story Prize; shortlisted for the Flash 500; and won the Editor’s Choice Prize at 101 Words. Her collection, Flashes of Colour, is publishing in 2021, and she is now working on her second novella-in-flash. 

As a teacher and publishing professional

Amanda is the founder of, commissioning editor and publisher at the award-winning Retreat West Books (Winner: Most Innovative Publisher 2020 Saboteur Awards), which publishes novels, memoirs and short fiction. She has been designing and teaching online courses, and live workshops, for many years and has worked as an editor on hundreds of manuscripts. She is passionate about helping writers get to the heart of their characters to create memorable narrators that really come alive for the reader.

C.M. Taylor

As a writer

Craig’s novels Premiership Psycho (Corsair, 2011) and Group of Death (Corsair, 2012) form two-thirds of a satirical trilogy described as ‘Brilliant’ by The Sun, and ‘Horribly entertaining’ by The Mirror. They’ve been optioned for TV by Plan B, with Craig writing the pilot. He’s been nominated for the British Science Fiction book of the year, while his comedy drama Staying On (Duckworth, 2018) has been described as ‘a trademark sweet-and-sour Mike Leigh film in novel form’. He co-wrote the thriller film Writers Retreat which was premiered at the Sitges International Film Festival and he continues to be commissioned to write scripts for TV and film.

As a teacher and publishing professional

Craig works as a freelance editor of fiction for a variety of publishers, and is a Senior Lecturer at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing. He has taught hundreds of creative writers, in one to one development settings, as well as in classes and workshops, including at the Manchester Children’s Book Festival and at the British Library. His particular enthusiasm and passion is for helping writers develop their understanding of the underlying structures of narrative art.

Isabel Costello

As a writer

Isabel is the author of novels Paris Mon Amour, a WH Smith Travel Book of Summer 2017, and Scent (Muswell Press, 2021). Her writing experience to date includes digital only, self-publishing and traditional publishing, and she is a passionate supporter of independent presses and bookshops. Her short fiction has been widely published and includes the title story in Retreat West charity anthology The Word for Freedom. Isabel’s home territory as writer and reader is the place where literary and commercial (and especially women’s) fiction overlap.

As a teacher and publishing professional

Isabel is an experienced creative writing mentor, workshop leader and book doctor, and having run the Literary Sofa blog for ten years she has a wide and up-to-date overview of the publishing market. She is also a co-founder of the Resilience for Writers project with psychologist Voula Tsoflias and has a special interest in helping writers to stay motivated and reach their personal goals. Isabel has worked with Mslexia, Jericho Writers, The Place to Write, Word Factory and many individual writers.


“The exercises within this course are excellent; the tutors supportive and knowledgeable; and I highly recommend it. It cemented my own good intentions to finish writing a book to the best of my ability, and gave me the structure and the benefit of experience that I didn’t have working on my own.”

Joely Dutton

Course overview

Tutorials

There are 8 modules in total covering the key aspects of the art of novel writing, with writing exercises designed to form a part of your draft rather than being separate from your novel; editing and pitching your work; and launching and maintaining your career as an author.

The course starts in September with breaks for Christmas, Easter and the Summer holidays. There’s a dedicated writing week between each module where you can focus on getting words on the page.

Access tutorials at the time that suits you best and write when it works for you.

Monthly deadlines for submitting work to your personal mentor help those who might struggle with accountability or motivation.

Mentoring and feedback

Starting with an intro session with your mentor, your personal work programme for the course will be tailored specifically to your circumstances and level of development.

Subsequently, you’ll receive five 1-1 mentoring sessions focussed on your monthly submission, via phone or video call. 

Mentoring will last at least 30 minutes but will take as long as is needed to communicate the key developmental points in relation to your submitted work.

On completing your draft you’ll have agreed with your mentor the most useful and appropriate form for your professional editorial feedback to take. 

This might include:

  • full editorial feedback from your mentor, either verbally, face to face, written, or a combination, whatever feels right for you;
  • editorial feedback from an alternative specialist writer, editor or agent operating in your genre;
  • or a line edit with comments made directly on your manuscript (don’t worry you’ll know what a line edit is by then!)

The 1-hour Zoom Q&A sessions for each module will be recorded and shared so that if you can’t make it live you can still learn from the questions that are asked. You can also send questions in advance for us to answer.

You’ll be paired up with a writing buddy from your fellow students so you can swap work and cheer each other on as the course progresses.


“This course helped me to understand the pillars of theme, characterisation and setting, reminding me to use these in pushing the story forwards and getting that all important first draft completed. As a new writer, or even an experienced one, self-doubt can really hamper the progress you make. Having an experienced mentor, who’s been there before you and can pull you out of the mud when things get tough, is priceless.”

Julie Day


Booking T&Cs

Payment terms

If you are making payment in full, the balance is due on booking to reserve your space.

If you are using the instalment plan a 10% non-refundable deposit is due on booking to reserve your space. Payments for the balance of the course fee will commence in September 2021 with the last payment due in April 2022.

If your application is accepted but you do not make payment, your space on the course is not confirmed and you could potentially lose it as other applicants are approved and the course fills up. 


Cancellation policy

If you are unable to start the course, you can withdraw up to 60 days prior to the start date. If you have paid in full, you will receive a full refund minus the 10% non-refundable deposit. If you have signed up on the instalment plan, your deposit will be retained as our administration fee.

For withdrawals less than 60 days prior to the course start date, you will receive a refund only if we can re-sell the space. If you have paid in full, and we re-sell your space, you will receive a full refund minus the 10% non-refundable deposit. If you have signed up on the instalment plan, your deposit will be retained as our administration fee and any additional instalments paid will be returned if we can re-sell your space.

We cannot accept withdrawals or issue any refunds after the course start date, and any instalment payments due remain mandatory.