Year of the Novel – Phase Two

Emily Maguire

8 x Tuesday evenings: 31 May; 7, 21, 28 June; 5, 12, 19, 26 July 2022, 6:30-9:30pm

Prices below are for Phase Two 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>> 

In the course’s second phase we’ll put some flesh on the bones of your novel, looking at structure, style and theme, and going deeper still with character, voice and plot. As we approach the year’s half-way mark we’ll also talk about how to stay focused and motivated to see this thing through to the end.

Throughout, Emily will use examples from classic and contemporary fiction and from students’ work-in-progress to explore the topics covered, and guest speakers will share their insights to further expand your understanding of how published writers do what they do.

You should come to the first class with a specific work-in-progress or idea for a novel. Sharing and discussion will be encouraged, and there will be ample opportunity for you to speak to the group about how various techniques and lessons may be applicable to your specific project, however, one-on-one detailed feedback from the tutor will be limited.

(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 Two: Muscles, guts, flesh and blood

Phase two is all about putting flesh on the bones of your novel, giving your story depth and force and vigour by looking at structure, style and theme, and going deeper with character, voice and plot. As we approach the year’s half-way mark we’ll also talk about how to stay focussed and motivated to see this thing through to the end.

1. Workshopping what needs to be done

Whether you’re back from the break after Phase One, or starting with us for the first time, this is a week to take stock of your work in progress.

2. Structure

Structure is what turns a collection of scenes into a satisfying novel. We’ll talk about scenes and story arcs, and look at some common structural templates.

 3. Character: going deeper   

Avoiding stereotypes, identifying archetypes, writing across gender and cultural lines and making full use of minor and supporting characters.

 4. Advanced plotting: the relationship between character and plot

Is your character mostly pulled through events by twists of fate or is your plot driven by choices your character makes? We’ll look at how integrating character and plot development makes both elements stronger.

 5. Suspense, story questions and narrative drive   

This is where we ask ourselves: how am I going to keep the reader turning pages? We’ll look at backstory, time-jumps, transitions and pacing.

 6. Voice, tone and style

What is voice and how do you find, or develop, yours? What’s the relationship between voice and tone? We’ll talk about metaphor, imagery and finding the exact right word every time.

7Point of view: going deeper

Who’s telling this story? What do they know and how do they know it? How does ‘head-hopping’ differ from omniscient POV? And why does any of this matter? Can’t we just tell the story how it comes out? Answers to all of these questions and more as we dive deep into the wonders of POV.

8. Forging on                   

We’ve been working on our novels for over half the year by now. It’s time to talk about smashing writer’s block, pushing through frustration and dealing with doubt.

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

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