Writing a Novel Stage 2

w/ Kathryn Heyman, Margo Lanagan and guests

Write your novel, and write it well…

A comprehensive three month course builds on the work started in Writing a Novel: Stage 1 and is suitable for writers who have completed that course, or who have a substantially completed rough or first draft of a novel-in-progress. This course will develop 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 novelists’ craft and how it applies to your own novel.

6 July – 14 September 2021 (3 months)

Allen & Unwin – Sydney

Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin – Sydney
83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065

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$3,250 / $2,762.50 alumni

• Benefit from the structure of regular classes covering everything from playing with genre, the power of what is unspoken and using scenes and narrative summary to maintain momentum.

• Learn from our experienced Course Directors, as well as guest tutors including top authors, and agents/publishers.

• Receive personalised, one-to-one attention on your project from your tutor.

• Get it done. When undertaken with Writing a Novel: Stage 1, this is a flexible alternative to a creative writing MA, designed for people who might be considering a career and who are prepared to engage fully in the hard work involved. Apart from the workshops, you will be devoting as much time as possible between classes to writing.

• Receive invaluable feedback by having the chance to present your work to your class of other committed novelists.

• Start your career with unrivalled access to those who know. There is no better way to get on the road to publication than to meet the people who know how to make that happen. Hear talks from people in the industry, then read to a room of agents at course completion.

Please note that students completing Writing a Novel Stage 1 will have first preference for places in Writing a Novel Stage 2. Places for new students can only be offered if an existing student chooses to discontinue. We will advise new applicants of the availability of places as soon as possible.

Pending the latest COVID-19 advice this course may be delivered online.


Graduates who complete Writing a Novel Stage 2 will have the opportunity to be published in the annual Faber Writing Anthology.

The Faber Writing Anthology is distributed to publishers and literary agents across Australia and the United Kingdom.

Writers you'll be working with:

Kathryn Heyman

Kathryn Heyman is the author of six novels, most recently Storm and Grace. She has won numerous awards including an Arts Council of England Writers Award, the Wingate and the Southern Arts Awards, and been nominated for the Orange Prize, the Scottish Writer of the Year Award, the Edinburgh Fringe Critics’ Awards, the Kibble Prize, and the…

Margo Lanagan

Margo Lanagan has published two dark fantasy novels (Tender Morsels and Sea Hearts), seven short story collections including the breakout Black Juice, ten teenage romance novels, three junior fantasy novels, two young adult novels and a children’s picture book. She collaborated with Scott Westerfeld and Deborah Biancotti on the New York Times bestselling YA superheroes trilogy, Zeroes. Her most recent…

Course outline

The course consists of:

11 x evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30pm-8.30pm) + 3 x Saturdays (10am-4pm)

The content listed below is comprehensive but is still a guide only. The exact course content could be adjusted according to the experience and concerns of the group and availability of guest writers. The detail of the course is at the discretion of the course director and Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin.

Session 1: Tuesday 6 July
Taking Stock: What do you know, what is unknown (and why this matters). Listening to your characters and finessing voice.

Session 2: Tuesday 13 July
Scenes: what a scene is, what is does, and how to make them work. Using action and reflection scenes to build momentum.

Session 3: Saturday 17 July
Structure: Heroism and vulnerability. Structure that transforms. Guest tutor – Ross Grayson Bell (developer and producer of Fight Club).

Session 4: Tuesday 20 July
Exposition and backstory: How to write and edit narrative summary (and why we need it). Using summary to maintain momentum.
Pacing and the passage of time. Individual mentor sessions.

Session 5: Tuesday 27 July
Character: Three ways into character. Making use of the unspoken and revealing character on the page.

Session 6: Tuesday 3 August
Dialogue: Listening; recording; pace; precision. Imagined truth and overheard truth.

Session 7: Saturday 7 August
Place and setting: making the setting do narrative and emotive work. Bringing place to life. Infusing place with mood.

Session 8: Tuesday 10 August
Turning points – making use of internal and external change. Moving pieces around to create a structure that’s true to your story. One-to-one mentor sessions.

Session 9: Tuesday 17 August
(Re)writing the Beginning. How to find the right place to start now that you know where you are.

Session 10: Tuesday 24 August
Endings: getting the balance right. Have you fulfilled the promise and answered the question? How much satisfaction is enough? Staying true to style and world.

Session 11: Saturday 28 August
Editing Boot Camp – Rewriting revisioning and the final edit.

Session 12: Tuesday 31 August
Guest: presentation and pitching. In this special session students are coached by a skilled actor/director in using performance skills for presentations and readings, and also for pitching.

Session 13: Tuesday 7 September
Guest publisher.

Session 14:Tuesday 14 September
Final session: moving on, maintaining momentum.

After the conclusion of the program, students will have an option to take part in the launch of the Faber Writing Academy Anthology 2021 which includes industry guests.

Please note in the event of unforeseen circumstances, courses – including tutors and venues – may be subject to cancellation or change.

Praise for this course

“…we learned so much in such a short space of time and it was all personalised. Plus we got to learn from industry superstars representing all facets of the publishing business. You simply couldn’t get that value for money from a book or an online course.” (2019)

“The content was what blew me away – I have read many books on writing but this was so much more insightful and useful. I loved all of the techniques and knowing that you can fix most things in editing. ” (2019)

“I have done writing courses before but this far outstrips any of them: the fundamentals of voice, plot, turning points, technical structures, have been invaluable. Engaging, encouraging and incredibly knowledgeable.” (2016)

How to Apply

To apply your will need to submit in a single document:

  • A letter briefly stating any writing experience
  • An overview of the idea for your novel and its present stage of development
  • A 1,500-word sample of prose.

This process ensures that all applicants are applying for the course best suited to their needs and allows the tutor to familiarise themselves with your work.

Enter your application for Writing a Novel Stage 2 here.

Course fee: $3,250 / $2,762.50 alumni