THE FIRST DRAFT

WRITE YOUR NOVEL IN SIX MONTHS

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (see reviews)

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Seriously could not have done it without this course. Plotstormers, Making People and now First Draft! My dreams are becoming real. Thanks WHQ! 5 STARS!
- Gill O'Sullivan

Part of the WHQ membership

Six month course, rolling access

Join our kickass community

COURSE HOME

Let us hold your hand through the epic first draft slog. All the guidance you need, coupled with swearing, tea-drinking, and gold stars. 

In case you hadn’t noticed yet, writing a novel is haaaaard. And we don’t mean walking-up-a-steep-hill hard or having-to-tell-someone-they’ve-got-cake-on-their-chin hard, we mean like pushing something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of Smarties tube hard. But you know what? Every day, people do it. People have been doing it since the dawn of time. It’s one of the reasons that we’re so successful-slash-cataclysmic as a species; our ability to do art. It’s what we were built for.

Think of this course like hypnobirthing for writers. NCT for novelists. Mothercare for motherfucking wordsmiths. This novel is coming out of you one way or another, we’re just here to make the process smoother, calmer, and full of appropriate medication.

This is a badass course for badass writers. You’ll start with a plan and finish with a novel. We won’t lie: it’s full-on. But the results are totally worth it.

AIMS OF THE COURSE

To guide you, step by step, towards a completed first draft novel in six months (or less, or more – it’s up to you!)

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

You will need some sort of plan for your novel before we start ’cause we’re gonna hit the ground running and get writing pretty much straight away. We’re not going to spend a month or two rehashing the basics of plotting – we’re going to crack on with writing writing writing, taking everything we’ve learnt in Plotstormers and going broader, deeper and wordier. YEAH!

DO I NEED TO HAVE TAKEN PLOTSTORMERS FIRST? 

Well, we’d prefer it if you had, but we understand that’s not always possible. So if you already have a plan for your novel and want to join the course, you can, just be aware that we use the Plotstormers format. If you’re unsure, give us a yell on [email protected] and we’ll help you out.

CURRICULUM

PART 1: Get your house in order

PART 2: The 1st act

PART 3: Inciting stuff

PART 4: Refuse the call

PART 5: Set it up

PART 6: Crisis ahoy!

PART 7: Crossing the threshold

PART 8: Subplots

PART 9: The second act

PART 10: Magical midpoints

PART 11: Midway progress

PART 12: Having a terrible time

PART 13: Pinch points

PART 14: All is lost

PART 15: Navel gazing

PART 16: The third act

PART 17: Pull yourself together

PART 18: Slaying the bad guys

PART 19: Failure

PART 20: The climax

PART 21: Wrapping up

PART 22: Endings & loose ends

PART 23: The final sprint

PART 24: What to do with a first draft

PART 25: What comes next?

HOW IT WORKS

1. Enrol
Once you’ve joined you’ll get an email confirming your place and explaining how you access the course. Spoiler: you click a link. Super simple.

2. Read, watch, do
The lessons are a mix of text, images, videos and exercises. To get the most out of the course, try to give yourself at least an hour a day to read or watch the material and do the exercises. We’ve made them as bite-size as possible but also if you wanna do the thing you gotta do the work.

3. No rush
This course is designed to be done over six months but you can be as quick or take as long as you like. With membership you get rolling course access until you cancel.

4. No money? No problem
We’d love to give our courses away but we have a terrible notepad and clicky pen habit to keep up. Our membership is pretty cheap when you consider other courses like these generally cost over £1,000, And if you’re really struggling check out our Sponsor A Writer page and see if we can help.

5. Milk no sugar
Drink plenty of tea, stock up on biscuits, gin for later. Enjoy it. It’s supposed to be fun. Love you. Mwa.

WHAT YOU GET
  • Omg so much stuff
  • Week-by-week hand-holding to guide you through the process of getting the first draft of your novel out of your head and onto the page
  • Exercises to help you dive deeper into your story and understand the technicalities and magic of story writing
  • Ideas, examples and inspiration for every step of the way
  • Personalised, focused targets to get you and keep you on track
  • Access to our dedicated student forum for chatting, critiquing and feedback with our amazing community of writers
  • The option for extra personalised feedback from tutors (note: this is a paid add-on)

Take your plan and turn it into a 50,000 word first draft novel

Finish the course with a solid manuscript, ready to be editing and sent out into the big wide world

Join our lovely little online community to support you through starting, middling, finishing and beyond.

LOVE FOR WRITERS’ HQ

Bursting with stories ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve written short stories for a while, but this course gave me loads of ideas about where to find stories and how to develop them. It’s also given me lots of food for thought about my writing process and how to approach (and edit) stories. I really feel the course demystifies everything about short stories, from idea to submission, and I’m looking forward to polishing the stories I’ve written over the past few weeks and trying to find them a home in the world. Thanks, Jo and Sarah

Liz O

Writing Short Fiction

Highly Recommended ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I came to this course with the complete first draft of a novel I had already written, but which (after a year of failing to rewrite it on my own) I knew needed more than just a bit of editing to make it work. Plotstormers has been a great way of completely deconstructing what I had to begin with, and then building it up again from scratch into first four, then seven, then sixteen units. The early weeks give you a brilliant introduction to various theories of plotting, soundbites from successful authors, and links to useful blogs and resources; this part is huge fun, and the video of Kurt Vonnegut explaining the shapes of stories is absolutely priceless. When it came to the actual writing bit, Sarah and Jo provided excellent support, encouragement and incisive feedback throughout (though be warned: the swearing is contagious. You’ll know you have a problem when your 2 yr old starts effing at random people in shops). In the latter weeks of the course the forums (fora?) became indispensible for sounding out ideas and identifying problems as well as helpful cameraderie. I lagged behind towards the end, but nevertheless this course has given me the boost I needed to get my novel back off the ground, or at least back onto the runway. I highly recommend it, and look forward to taking more Writers HQ courses in the near future.

Rosemary Sgroi

Plotstormers

The scales have truly fallen ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I had an idea. I wrote it out for 60k words. Someone said it was more like a short story. I was stuck. Then I discovered Writers HQ… I’ve found my people. This course has literally transformed my work. I now have something that actually reads like the outline for a novel. The teaching methods, materials and support (both from Sarah and Jo, and my fellow plot-a-trons) has been superb. Sensible, practical, intense, with a good splosh of anarchy. I now feel more confident about the actual writing and am also happy that the original idea holds up. Thank you so much and I’m looking forward to the next course (9 month…). It’ll be AWESOME!

Liz

Plotstormers

7 Ideas in 7 Days ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A mysterious benefactor gives you a task a day and – shazam! – by the end of the week you’re a-fizzing with ideas. Tis witchcraft. Do it.

Ellie

Plotstormers: How To Plot Your Novel

TUTORS

Sarah Lewis
Half of Writers’ HQ
Procrastinator Level: Set up WHQ and had a baby to avoid writing her novel

Jo Gatford
Half of Writers’ HQ
Procrastinator Level: Set up WHQ and did an MA to avoid writing her novel

RELATED COURSES

Plotstormers
how to write a novel
course info >>

Making People
the characterisation masterclass
course info >>

Publishing 101: Find An Agent
prepare your manuscript and learn what to expect
course info >>

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