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Year of the Novel


Proudly Presented by Hachette AustraliaHachette_Australia

Developed by award-winning author and teacher Dr Kim Wilkins (also publishing as Kimberley Freeman)


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So you want to write a novel.

Designed to lead you through the enormous and dedicated task of writing and developing a novel, this year-long, tutor-guided course is filled with information and practical writing activities, keeping you motivated throughout the process and helping you on the journey to The End.

Explore all aspects of novel writing, including characterisation, narrative structure and voice. Stay motivated between lessons with the support and encouragement of your peers and the expertise of your professional tutor.

Each of the twenty-one lessons is introduced by award-winning author and teacher Dr. Kim Wilkins (also publishing as Kimberley Freeman).


In this course, you will learn:

  • How to develop ideas through a variety of written exercises (free writing, writing prompts, research).
  • How to develop ideas through a process of mind mapping in order to understand structure, plot and characters.
  • Various writing techniques and editing processes to enhance your writing skills
  • A greater understanding of how the components of a novel create a compelling story
  • The skills to complete the first draft of your novel.

Year of the Novel is a 10 month course that will help you develop a complete first draft of a novel. Through a series of audios, videos, exercises, and more, you’ll learn the skills you need to write your book.

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This course is broken down into twenty-one fortnightly blocks of content and exercises, designed to take you through the process of writing the novel from beginning to end. Each fortnight of content goes live at Midnight on the listed date, and contains a lesson from Kim along with supporting material and exercises. You work through each week’s content in your own time, day or night. Over the next ten months we’ll cover the following topics:

Lesson 1: Planning Your Project

This session will help you come up with a premise for your story that has sufficient depth and dramatic possibility for a full‐length novel.

Lesson 2: Developing a Premise

Learn how to take your characters and settings from 2d cliché’s to personalities and worlds a reader won’t want to part with.

Lesson 3: The Beginning – An Invitation to the Reader

This lesson will teach you how to create beginnings that invite the reader into your book so that they sit down, stay put and don’t stop reading.

Lesson 4: Scenes and Their Functions

Scenes are building blocks. They are discrete units of stories that organise your story. This lesson will explain the structure and function of scenes.

 Lesson 5: Two Weeks Intensive Writing

These intensive writing weeks are here to give you some space to rack up some work count, as well as to create some new material from prompts.

Lesson 6: Creating Fascinating Characters

Fascinating characters are created when they seem real to the reader. This lesson will help you create and define your characters.

Lesson 7: Developing Narrative Shape

All stories need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The aim of this session is to help you develop and flesh out your story into the shape of a novel.

Lesson 8: Creating an Inviting World

The context of the book and elements of the setting are anchor points that keep the conflict and character together. This lesson will help you think about how your setting can add layers of depth to your story.

Lesson 9: Two Weeks Intensive Writing

These intensive writing weeks are here to give you some space to rack up some work count, as well as to create some new material from prompts.

Lesson 10: Moving the Narrative Forward

The middle can be the hardest part of the book to write. This lesson will show you how to move your story across the middle.

Lesson 11: Point of View

Managing point of view correctly will help to intensify the reader’s engagement with your story. Learn the different styles of point of view and how their strengths and limitations can improve your story.

Lesson 12: Scenes and Their Shape

Like the overall structure of your story, each scene has a shape as well. Revisit scenes and learn how to make yours stronger.

Lesson 13: Characters’ Offstage Lives

Looking at your characters in different ways can add depth and continuity to your story. Learn how to write characters with rich extra-story lives.

Lesson 14: Writers Block

Writer’s block is a simplistic name we give to a range of problems that are both psychological and practical. This class will teach you strategies to address the problems that keep you from writing.

Lesson 15: Plausibility and Possibility

Characters are people under pressure. Learn how to open up your characters to dramatic possibility while not breaching plausibility.

Lesson 16: Two Weeks Intensive Writing

These intensive writing weeks are here to give you some space to rack up some work count, as well as to create some new material from prompts.

Lesson 17: Suspense & Pace

Finding the right balance between action and introspection can be hard. In this fortnight you’ll examine how to find the perfect balance for your novel.

Lesson 18: Gathering the End Together

This is your final act! Learn how to pull together all the narrative threads to craft a satisfying conclusion to your story.

Lesson 19: Tips on Self-Editing

This fortnight you’ll learn some tips for solving the most common problems in your manuscript.

Lesson 20: Writing a Synopsis

If you want someone to read your novel, you’ll need to entice them to it. Discover how to represent your story deliciously so that someone wants to buy it.

Lesson 21: Letting Go

The best way to get through the pain of saying goodbye to your novel is to have a clear plan of what to do next. Learn how to wrap up your novel-writing process and start planning for your next story.

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Kim Wilkins 2sm

Dr Kim Wilkins (also writing as Kimberley Freeman) has published 26 novels over a range of genres including speculative fiction, horror, young adult, and women’s fiction. Over the course of her career, Kim has mentored dozens of novelists and writing students through the process of refining and publishing their work. She has a PhD from the University of Queensland, where she now lectures in creative writing and editing.


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Course Structure

Year of the Novel runs for 10 months, with a new module released on the Monday of each fortnight. You can work through the content at your own pace within the time frame of the course.

Course content is delivered in a series of audios, videos, written lessons, exercises, assignments, and forum discussions.


Periodically, you will be asked to submit work to your tutor for evaluation and feedback. We believe that getting feedback is the best way to grow as a writer.

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How do I sign up for this course?

You will need a free user account to access this course content, if you don’t have one already. Once you’ve done that, ensure that you are logged in and proceed to the Year of the Novel course info page (the page you’re on right now). Then all you have to do is click on the ‘enroll now’ button and follow the prompts!

Is there a group work component to this course, and what does this entail?

Group work mostly consists of responding to one another’s work in the forums. There may be some exercises which ask you to expand on the ideas of your classmates, or critique their work. There are no group assignments, and all group exercises are voluntary.

There is a course I want to do but it’s closed right now. Why is that, and when will it open again?

Because many of our online courses are tutor-guided, they begin and end at certain times much like an in-person course would. We often roster different tutors each time a course is run, and we contract tutors for the period of the course. Having an established writer for a tutor is a great way to get professional, experienced feedback on your work. In the case of our Year of the Novel and Year of the Edit courses, tutor feedback is integral to the course structure. Unfortunately, we can’t keep tutors on courses permanently. But don’t worry – we run most of our courses two or three times a year. Pick up a copy of the Queensland Writers Centre program to see course schedules.

I tried to sign up for a course but it’s full!

Many of our courses are very popular. Although online courses happen in a digital space, we have found that too many participants in a course can become crowded and negatively affect the learning experience. We are also mindful of not overloading our tutors with submissions. If you have missed out on this course, we can put you on a waiting list in case another participant pulls out before the course begins. Alternately, you can wait for the next cycle of the course.

I signed up for a course and now I’m being told it’s being cancelled because there aren’t enough participants!

Very rarely, not enough participants will sign up to a course, and we will choose not to run it. Much like having too many participants makes a course chaotic, too few participants means there is limited scope for discussion and critique. In these cases we feel it’s better to simply not run the course. While we can’t offer refunds, we can offer credit that you can use to purchase another course, or the same course in the next cycle.


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New to online learning and AWMonline? We’ve created a series of instructional videos that will take you through the process of enrolling in a course and navigating its content. The five videos in this playlist cover:

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Course Time and Cost

Starts: 6 February 2017

When: new modules released fortnightly from Feb 2017 – Nov 2017

Price: $525

Tutor: James Phelan[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1489967392485{margin: 15px !important;border-width: 1px !important;padding: 15px !important;background-color: #e5e5e5 !important;}”]

I am already enrolled in this course.



james phelanABOUT THE TUTOR

James Phelan is the bestselling author of twenty-five novels and one work of non-fiction. His publications include five thrillers in the Lachlan Fox series, and the Alone trilogy of young adult post-apocalyptic novels.