Part 1 of this Level III creative writing course focused on the novel runs from 2 October 2023 – 27 November with a hiatus on 23 October. The course meets online for 8 weeks with 1.5-hour live sessions on Mondays from 19:30 – 21:00 Amsterdam time. Classes are recorded so you can easily catch up if you have to miss one. Class size is 6 – 10 people.

This two-part course offers a practical, hands-on approach to learning the fundamentals of novel writing, taught by best-selling author Ellen Keith. Her novel The Dutch Wife won the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction and reached #1 on the Globe & Mail Canadian Fiction Bestseller List and #12 on Publishers Weekly American bestsellers list. Her second novel The Dutch Orphan, released in April 2023 is also on the Canadian Fiction Bestseller List.

Students can opt to take only Part 1 or Part 2 but we strongly recommend completing both, ideally in order. The dates for the winter Part 2 are 22 Jan – 18 March 2024.

We strongly recommend Part 1 participants book Part 2 at the same time to ensure they get a slot. To take advantage of an extra €30 discount on Part 2, please click here to purchase both courses.



This course is useful for writers in various stages of the process – from the idea stage to a completed first or second draft. The course builds on the lessons on dialogue, characterisation, and structure mastered in our regular Level II courses.

It is open to writers who have completed at least one Level II (fiction) course or equivalent training and by permission of the instructor. If you’re not sure if you qualify, get in touch.



Class discussion and a variety of exercises designed to help you progress your novel form the basis of the course and create a fun and intimate environment. You will receive feedback from the teacher and fellow writers. However, the focus of this course is not on workshopping chapters of your novel-in-progress, rather the aim is to support you in working through the big-picture elements that so often cause first-time novelists to give up or fail.

The topics we will cover in Part 1 include: how and why to outline (even if you’re more of a ‘pantser’ than a planner or you already have a complete draft), structure and plot, character arcs and developing secondary characters, choosing a narrative style and point of view, genre considerations, and openings.

Part 2 covers endings, pacing, the role of dialogue, managing chapters and transitions, common problems and what to do about them, tackling revisions, and how to approach publication.

We will be reading one or two short novels per term – to be announced a month or so before the start so it’s possible to purchase and read in advance.


No matter how early you register, if something changes and you can’t join the course, you can let us know at least 72 hours before the first class (so we can offer your spot to someone else) and we’ll give you a complete refund. For multi-part courses purchased as a package, any associated discounts (including any early-bird discount) will be voided before any refund if you cancel any course part. You can find the full details of our generous refund policy in our terms.

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