1/3 of the way through…

In November, I posted this:

“If I am successful, the course doesn’t start until 20th January, so I’ll have almost two months between the courses. In an ideal world, I’d like to have gotten to 20k words before the course starts, but we shall see…”

Firstly, as you’ll see from the end of the last post, I was successful. I will be starting the Faber Academy Writing a Novel Course (online) on Wednesday. I am so excited to be doing another one of their courses. It’s so nice being surrounded by other writers in the same position. The critiquing we do on each other’s work on these courses is invaluable. I can’t wait to further progress my novel with a new cohort of students and learn from some brilliant tutors. I chose the online version as I need a bit more flexibility despite living in central London.

Secondly, I said I’d like to have gotten to 20k words before the course started. As of yesterday, I have over 30, 000 words. I have really amped up my writing since the new year. I started the new year with 16k and have almost doubled that in the space of 17 days. Lockdown helps. There aren’t many distractions and I have nothing to do at the weekend. I’m writing little and often, most nights for 30mins – an hour after work. That is what is making the biggest difference to my word count. By spending an hour of my time after work writing instead of on Netflix, I’m adding 2-3k words a week just though this.

I have set out a timetable for my novel. I hope to have finished my first draft by the end of March. Assuming my total novel will be around 90k words (the average for the thriller genre), I will need to write 6k words a week. This is ambitious but I am determined to finish my novel this year. By finish, I mean in final draft form and ready to submit to agents.

I’m feeling good about my progress so far and have found witting is really helping to keep my spirits up during these hard times. I’ve also been reading a lot more and have discovered some wonderful books.

I’ll update this blog again once my course has started! My current goal is to reach 42k by the 1st February. Watch this space…


Faber Academy Kickstart your Novel – Course Review

It’s been a while since I posted on the blog! I had about a month away from writing after finishing my course to think about next steps. I’m now back to focusing on my writing and my novel.

I finished the Kickstart your Novel course in November and thought I would post a review up on here. I think it’s a fairly new course (my cohort was the second lot) and as it’s all done online it’s great for these pandemic times we are living in.

The course is meant as a precursor to the well-known 8 month long Writing a Novel course. Originally I applied for the Writing a Novel course but was unsuccessful. The tutors recommended that I take Kickstart your Novel instead (which is not selective) to work on my novel idea.

I found the course fantastic. It was 8 weeks long but I felt I progressed so much. The people on the course were all at different stages. Some had ideas and some had started writing their novel. I would say everybody that came to the session had an initial idea. I don’t think it’s necessary to already have a novel idea but it will make the exercises easier and you will benefit more from having other people comment on your work.

The course covered the basics of writing and also included a session on writing a synopsis with tutor feedback (which I found invaluable). It does involve 5-7 hours a week of work but this can be more or less depending on how long the writing takes you.

After finishing the course, I applied for the Writing a Novel course and am pleased to say I got a place. I definitely think my novel is in a much better place now and I will benefit from the course more. I start at the end of January and can’t wait!

I hope my review was helpful and if anybody is thinking about doing the course feel free to comment or message me on my Instagram @rhiwritesabook. I would encourage people to go for this course if they don’t quite feel ready for the longer commitment. These courses are a lot of work alongside a full-time job – it’s better to gauge how you would cope with the work with a shorter course rather than being tied to 8 months.