Year of the Novel – Phase Three

Emily Maguire

8 x Tuesday evenings: 6, 13, 20, 27 September; 11, 18, 25 Oct; 1 Nov 2022, 6:30-9:30pm

A final celebration evening will be held on 8 November 2022.

Prices below are for Phase Three only
Full Price: $970
Member: $730
Conc Member: $630

Participants in face to face courses must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must comply with any other precautionary measures Writing NSW puts in place.

In this eight-week writing workshop acclaimed author Emily Maguire will give you the tools, support and encouragement you need to plan, edit and write your novel.

Is this course right for you? Read our FAQ before enrolling>> 

(Please note that while the three phases are designed to build on each other, each may also be taken as a stand-alone unit.)

This workshop takes place at Writing NSW in Sydney.

Phase Three: Nip, tuck, primp and preen.

This is where we take a long hard look at your very good novel and figure out how to make it brilliant. We’ll cut the fat, plump up the too-lean bits, polish the language and do whatever else is necessary to ensure your novel is ready to face the world.

1. Revision and editing basics

Learning to read like an editor. We’ll also talk about the difference between structural, line and copy-editing.

2. What’s missing?

Every novel-in-progress has weak points and this week we’re going to confront yours head on. Whether it’s a weak antagonist, a giant plot line or dodgy dialogue we’ll work one-on-one to pin-point your problems and come up with strategies to fix them.

3. What needs to go?

You’ve done a lot of work since you first began this writing journey. Now it’s time to go back and pull out the stuff you no longer need. We’ll get out the scissors and ruthlessly cut out all those no-longer necessary explanations, descriptions and conversations.

 4. Beginnings

It may seem a bit late to be talking about beginnings, but it’s often only once you’re close to the end that you can see where you should have begun! This week is all about making sure your novel starts where and how it needs to (and that you know where it’s going).

5. Endings

Endings are tough, but we’re going to be tough right back at them! We’ll talk finales, climaxes, cliffhangers, epilogues, the difference between an open-ending and no-ending at all.

6. Word by word

This week we go micro, considering the rhythm and flow of sentences and hunting down filter words, cliches and clumsy constructions.

7. Over to you

This week’s content will be determined by the needs and concerns of the students, and will include a significant amount of one-on-one time with the tutor for each student.

8. Where do we go from here?

We discuss freelance editors, manuscript assessment, agents, publishers, competitions and more.

To benefit from this course, you should be working on a novel. You can contact us with any questions before enrolling.

Participant Requirements

Pen and paper or preferred device for writing. Please ensure your device is charged. You should come to the first class with a specific work-in-progress or idea for a novel.

This course is designed for writers of fiction. If you have a narrative non-fiction manuscript and are interested in enrolling in this course, please contact us to discuss.

If you are feeling unwell and experiencing any COVID-related symptoms on the day of the course, you must stay at home and contact us to let us know. As a participant in this course, you will be required to follow all COVID safety measures in place by Writing NSW to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.

If you have questions about this course and/or COVID-safe guidelines, please contact us.


‘Emily is a great tutor. She generously gives from her extensive practical experience. She is sensitive to the different amount of experience in the group and the different genres they write.’ – David, Year of the Novel 2020

‘I started the course with a scrappy collection of half-written scenes, Emily’s keen insights and generous feedback utterly transformed my manuscript. The course content is a brilliant mix of pragmatic and inspiring writing advice. Emily created a warm and supportive learning environment, which always left me feeling invigorated and motivated to write. I can’t recommend the course highly enough!’ – Fiona Murphy, Year of the Novel 2021

‘It’s been a great course – for the structured guidance & informal advice from Emily as well as the peer support – and I think we managed well doing it online (though sadly my internet is usually intermittent).’ – Lucinda Bell, Year of the Novel 2021

‘After a year with Emily and my brilliant classmates, I struggle to see how anyone could write a novel on their own. My writing has gone from strength to strength, as has my manuscript — and my confidence! I’ve loved every minute. Enormous gratitude for this wonderful course.’ – Jen Severn, Year of the Novel 2021

More from Writing NSW

Check out our full range of in-person writing courses in Sydney, our online writing courses and our feedback programs to see how we can help you on your writing journey. Find out about our grants and prizes, as well as writing groups across NSW, and sign up to our weekly newsletter for writing events, opportunities and giveaways.

View less
This course has already taken place.