Write a Novel Course Cape Town October

Mon Oct 14, 09:00 - Thu Oct 17, 16:00

Stoep Startup


I read Casino Royale when I was 12. It changed my life. James Bond knew about all that intrigued me: cars, cocktails, guns, and - most of all - girls.- Ken Follet


Dates 14 - 17 October 2024

Times 9am - 4pm. Course includes lunch.


This four day course is designed for new writers who want to write a novel, or experienced writers who are stuck or need clear direction. It will guide you through the process of writing a book from start to finish. You need nothing but your ideas in order to attend. You will end up writing your book.

You will be guided on your writing journey by writing coach and agent Sarah Bullen. She will help you plot your book, and push you to finish it. 

Unlike many courses that take you through the theory of writing and plotting, this course is geared towards getting you going on your novel. By the end of the week you will be well on your way to writing your book. You will have the entire book plotted, you characters developed and your first few chapters written. 

It’s a hard push to get you to engage with the dream of writing a book. But I also focus on getting you to write a publishable novel. It is a challenge to act on your desire. 

Learn how to write, edit and market your novel, structure and storytelling, character, plotting, advanced plotting and pace, how to construct scenes, best writing techniques, timelines and schedules, genre and finding your voice, preparing your manuscript, how to approach publishers, how to write your marketing material, new publishing models.



* How to Define and Create Your Most Compelling Book

* The Elements of Structure

* Finding Your Book Genre and Subgenre

* Creating Plot, Place and Character Outlines for your Genre

* Adding Plot Points and Structure

* Beginnings, Middles and Ends

* Developing Your Main Character

* Developing Your Minor Characters

* Developing Your Voice

* Developing Point of View as a Plotting Technique

* How to Improve your plotting, pace and structure

* How to make your characters unforgettable

* Adding Depth and Layers

* Sourcing Tips and Techniques

* How to Present Your Book to Publishers




Module 1: Ideas.

All professional writers get asked the question 'Where do you get your ideas from?' We'll start off the course by trying to answer it. We'll look at: Recognising and developing ideas. An idea vs a plot; Reading as a writer, and getting into good writing habits; Defining your idea through titles and outlines, and the role of planning.


Module 2: Character

Creating convincing, realistic characters that readers are compelled to find out more about is at the heart of successful novel writing. We'll begin to build a character, looking at different ways you can approach this, what makes a successful character, how to develop your characters and begin to think about how character and plot interact - an issue that lies at the very heart of how to construct a compelling novel.


Module 3: Find your Genre

What book are you writing? What are the conventions and how do you plot a book that fits into a genre. This is the basis of modern publishing. 


Module 4: The Basics of Plotting

How do you create a compelling plot that keeps readers turning the page? We'll start to think about what makes a story a story as opposed to a series of events, introduce you to the idea of archetypal plots, and look at the roles of pacing, hooks and conflict all play in story-telling.


Module 5: Structuring your Book

Once you know what your story is and who's in it, you need to start thinking about the best way to tell that story. Writing a novel means making a series of decisions about things like structure, point of view, genre, setting, time and place. We'll look at what the implications of these choices might be for your story.

Module 6: Beginnings, Middles and Ends 

Let's move through all the big areas you need to cover with your hero and find a way to lead him or her on the journey. All the way to the end. 


Module 7: Style 

How do you write in a compelling way? We we will dialogue, your voice', description, how to draw a reader in, pace, timing and tension. 



Module 8: Editing and Getting Published

How many drafts should you write? How do you know when something is 'ready'? Many writers say that getting to the end of the first draft is just the start - that's when the real work begins. From structural editing to polishing your prose, we'll go through the stages involved in editing your novel. We'll also aim to give you a brief overview of how publishing works, and what to do with your novel once you've written it.

The course is a combination of technical writing techniques, working through your blocks, finding ways to access your memories and plan your story.


Sarah Bullen is an international writing mentor and literary agent. She works with writers all over the world to tell their stories, and write that book. Founder of The Writing Room and Kent Literary, she has had over 180 books published by writers she has mentored over the last two decades. She has held editorial roles across both books, magazines and literary agencies.


The Writing Room helps writers throughout the book writing journey—whether you're working on your manuscript or you're looking for publishing advice.


As well as being a regular guest on talk shows, podcasts, literary festivals and writers’ circles, Sarah has been leading international writing retreats and adventures since 2014.






After 17 years of coaching authors, we have literally hundreds of testimonials. You can find them here and a few are also below

I did your 100-day writing course in 2015 for my novel, Gracie Stirling and the Whisper Horses. It's getting published! A small publishing house in Wales picked it up and will be publishing it. I have already signed the contract and they have sent their edits.   I just wanted to say a big thank you so much. The 100-Day course was invaluable and it provided me with the structure and "action"  they loved in the book.  Thank you! 
Jenny Kling, Gracie Stirling and the Whisper Horses, Gomer Publishing 2019

It almost feels like a dream - like I had 20,000 words, then woke up four months later and now have nearly 80,000.  This course has been exactly what I needed and wanted - and more. Sarah Bullen thank you for giving us the perfect mix of inspiration, tenderness and whip-cracking. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you both and working with you - and I look forward to continuing my journey with you!
Anne-Marie Luck, Tokyo 2020

This "write a novel" course was the best birthday present I ever gave myself. It was set in a beautiful and peaceful environment, was well paced, was information packed with all the basics of how to really write a book, had surprising acts of art and physical exercise included to move the thinking through the body, was practical and honest about how dedicated one must really be to write, and was delicious to be around such inspiring facilitators who are warm, caring and so professional too. Thank you Sarah and Anel! - Kate 2017 

I spent this last week with Sarah, Anel and the other writers at the Write your Novel Retreat in the Cape. This was truly the most inspiring and motivating thing I have ever done for myself. Sarah's guidance is invaluable. Working our way through the writing process with Sarah has left me feeling far more equipped to pursue my dream. And her personal insights into my project has taken it to another level. I highly recommend this retreat to anyone, regardless of where you are writing wise. Amazing experience. - Jill Aslet

“Holy smoke Sarah, I actually sat and did it. It was a crash course in writing, but it worked like a charm. The plotting spreadsheets I got to the end, with a 60,000 word first draft of my book,” Miranda Guest, New York 
“I am loving the writing course btw…it is the best money I have ever spent.” 
Andy Moss 
“This course comes highly recommended. If you need a clear direction or a new take on your book, you will get more than your money’s worth out of this one – you may come away with a bestseller.” Michelle Matthews, former publisher Struik SA

‘All aspects of writing became clear in this course. I knew what to do with my book and how to complete it.” S Redelinghuys, A Life Interrupted (2008) 
Rajesh, January 2013. 
“This is a life-changing course. I spent a month course immersed in my ideas for a book and I came away with a way to write it. Sarah is hard-core and she pushed me all the way to the end. I only wished it could go on and on.”
Zanozuko Mzamo, A Year of Staying Positive (2008)
“I give Sarah's course a 5* rating.”

“Sarah took my lifelong dream of writing a book seriously. In four inspiring lessons she equipped me with the framework to succeed by teaching me how and by pushing me to start. Her advice is frank, her direction crystal clear and her insight invaluable. I started the course with only a burning desire and left with a genre, characters, a plot and my first few chapters written.” Anne 2024


Write a Novel Course Cape Town October
Stoep Startup
3 Tiverton Rd, Plumstead, Cape Town, 7801
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