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Guest post: How the Ultimate Novel Writing Course helped me

Abigail Johnson took part in the very first Ultimate Novel Writing Course and has since been long listed for several prestigious awards. Here she shares her story. 

When I was given the chance to take part in the pilot of the Ultimate Novel Writing Course, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to hone my writing skills, receive great tuition and insightful feedback in a supportive group environment. I'd already benefited from a manuscript assessment of an early draft of my novel from course leader Amanda Saint of Retreat West. The assessment suggested a major change to my novel that I was nervous about embarking on but completely agreed with. I knew that the structure of the course would keep me focused and the group feedback would motivate me to complete tasks and share ideas with others while developing my novel.

The modules in the course really helped me to get to the core of my characters and work out how they would think, act and feel in different situations. There were useful sessions on all aspects of writing a novel from pacing and tension, editing and marketing your work with guest tutors for some topics. The live tutorials helped to bring the course materials to life and feedback on my writing from fellow course members as well as the course tutor were really valuable.

By the end of the course I had a polished draft of my novel that I was much happier with. During this process I was longlisted for The Exeter Novel Award and also the Bath Novel Award, getting down to the last 26 from 1,343 worldwide entries. Despite not making the shortlist, my confidence in my writing had soared and I had learned skills that I will carry with my in my future writing. I'm now looking forward to submitting to agents and beginning my next writing project. If you're looking for a course that gives you the whole package as well as useful industry advice and contacts, I'd recommend the Jericho course.

The Ultimate Novel Writing Course runs again from March 16, 2020 and we are currently taking applications. If you would like to know more, mentors Amanda Saint and Craig Taylor are answering questions on our Ultimate Novel Writing Course webchat here on the community.

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