Writing a Novel Online

w/ Vivian Pham and guests

For emerging novelists ready to dive in and make the commitment to complete a full manuscript, this rigorous three-stage course will guide you through the process of planning and beginning your novel, developing essential skills in writing and composition, as well as establishing a dedicated writing practice.

Tuesday 23 July 2024 – Saturday 12 April 2025

 $5,900 / $5015 alumni

Using a proven combination of targeted writing exercises, group discussions and carefully selected examples, the focus of this course will be on your own work, with the aim of ending the course with a substantial body of new writing, heading towards a complete first draft of your novel.

In the second half of the program, you will continue to develop the craft and technical skills required to turn a rough draft into a work of art. Using exercises focused on your own work, you’ll finish the course with a deep understanding of the novelist’s craft and how it applies to your own novel. These are lessons you can carry with you throughout your writing life.

Presented by Australia’s leading independent publishing house, Writing a Novel: Online is a targeted program specifically designed to help you find the focus you need to stay the distance and finish your manuscript draft throughout the year. During this time, your Course Director will provide you with:

Regular online classes covering everything from the first conception of an idea through to getting words on a page, narrative structure and style.

• Dedicated guidance from your experienced Course Director, as well as industry guests.

Personalised individual consultation on your project from your Course Director.

Support to progress your novel through classroom learning and close reading exercises. Outside of your workshops, you will be encouraged to devote as much time as possible between classes to writing.

• The ability to connect with fellow committed novelists, building a close-knit community of trusted readers.

• The opportunity to establish valuable industry connections with key insiders from the Australian publishing. There is no better way to get on the road to publication than to meet the people who know how to make that happen.

In addition to dedicated coursework, students who complete Writing a Novel will be invited to submit to the digital exclusive version of the Faber Writing Anthology, a professionally edited and designed showcase of student work sent out to leading literary agents and publishers. During the course, you will meet with the editor who works on the anthology and have the chance to see an extract of your novel professionally edited.

Writers you'll be working with:

Vivian Pham

Vivian Pham is a Vietnamese novelist, essayist, and poet from southwestern Sydney. In high school she wrote a novel called The Coconut Children, which was published in March 2020 by Penguin Random House.  In 2021 she was named one of The Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelists and she won the Matt Richell Award…

Course outline

The course consists of 22 online evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30pm to 8.30pm) and 6 half-day sessions (Saturdays 1.00pm to 4.00pm). Times are either in AEST or AEDT depending on dates. Please convert the times if you live outside of this time zone. 

 Session 1: Tuesday 23 July
Introduction: Meet your tutor and discuss your ambitions for the course. Why do you write? What is the yet-unwritten novel you want to read? What does the world look like with your book in it?

Session 2: Tuesday 30 July
Premise and Genre: In this workshop we will consider the unique characteristics of each genre, how they meld together, and the novels that successfully bend the rules.

Session 3:  Tuesday 6 August
The Elements: A basic, sturdy overview of what writing a novel involves.

Session 4: Saturday 10 August
Character: The aim of this week is to flesh out our characters to the point that we can see their nose hairs. We will mine for the microscopic details that make someone unique.

Session 5: Tuesday 13 August
Setting and How Non-Fiction Will Help Your Fiction: Practical research skills that will help you build the world of your novel.

Session 6: Tuesday 20 August
Plot: In this week we consider the driving force behind a plot, as well as the basic requirements of a page-turner: moments of suspense, discovery and recognition.

Session 7: Tuesday 27 August
The Pitfalls of Point of View: Many writers believe that deciding which point of view you tell your story from affects everything that happens in it. In this week we discuss the different narrative viewpoints, as well as the virtues and drawbacks of each.

Session 8: Tuesday 3 September
Writers on Writing: In this week we look at different approaches to writing, experiment with practical exercises, and build our own personal regime.

Session 9: Saturday 7 September

Session 10: Tuesday 10 September

Session 11: Tuesday 17 September
Guest author session: Writing insights and tips on how to continue your practice over the break.


Session 12: Tuesday 8 October
Character Arcs: In this week we plot out our major character’s emotional arcs in relation to overall plot and structure of the story.

Session 13: Saturday 12 October
The Gears of Storytelling: In this week we consider pacing, momentum, and the experience of time within the story.

Session 14: Tuesday 15 October
Imagery and symbolism: This week we focus on recognising the layers of meaning embedded in our novel and how to translate this into imagery and symbolism.

Session 15: Tuesday 22 October
How to Say Goodbye: In this session we explore how to end a novel.


 2025 dates

Session 16: Tuesday 4 February
How to save your darlings: This week we give practical advice on how to process and respond to feedback and make the most out of a gruesome edit.

Session 17: Saturday 8 February
Structural Edit Part 1 – Opening Doors

Session 18: Tuesday 11 February
Structural Edit Part 2 – Closing Doors

Session 19: Tuesday 18 February
Line Edit – What Novelists Can Learn From Poets

Session 20: Tuesday 25 February
Line Edit – What Novelists Can Learn From Playwrights

Session 21: Tuesday 4 March
Shading With Tonal Shifts: This week we consider the tone of important scenes in our novel and how to add complexity and emotional depth by using tonal shifts.

Session 22: Tuesday 11 March

Session 23: Saturday 15 March

Session 24: Tuesday 18 March
Tools to Overcome Writer’s Block

Session 25: Tuesday 25 March
The Art of the Synopsis: This week we develop the skill of condensing our novel into a pitch that packs a punch.

Session 26: Tuesday 1 April
Editor Guest Appearance

Session 27: Tuesday 8 April
Literary Agent Guest Appearance

Session 28: Saturday 12 April
Final workshopping and celebration

How to Apply

To apply, you will need to submit:

  • An online application answering several questions asked by our Writing a Novel tutor
  • An attachment with a sample of up to 1,000 words of prose

The selective process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs and allows the tutor to determine your readiness for the course. Submit your application here.

What happens if I am accepted?

If you are accepted into Writing a Novel Online, you will be sent an email inviting you to take your place in the course from the Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin team. In order to secure your spot, you will be asked to pay a deposit of $590 / $501.50 (alumni). The deposit will count as your first monthly instalment, with another 9 monthly payments to be made at the end of each month from August 2024 – April 2025. Students may choose to pay the full course fee or settle the remainder at any point.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss further payment plan options via email or phone (02) 8425 0171.