Online writing course

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Learn the secret of stand-out writing in this online writing course

How do you write a ‘page-turner’ – a compelling narrative that readers ‘can’t put down’?

The answer: by making readers care; making them care what happens to your characters, regardless of whether they are likeable or not.

In this online course, based on the course book and led by David Thorpe, you will learn how to make your characters ‘jump off the page’. Your imagination will be nurtured, challenged and stimulated.

The course is based on successful classes and mentoring of authors in the real world. Here is the latest feedback, from Glyn Scott of Swansea: “I did an M.A. in creative writing, but I want to say I have learned more from you than I ever learned from a year with those self-serving people”!

Who is it for?

For anyone interested in telling stories. The aim is to help you get the best from your own story, whatever it is.

How does it work?

It consists of modules with exercises. Students proceed at their own pace although the recommendation is to complete one module per week. If this is done, it should take about six months. Once the exercises – tailored to your own story – are returned you will receive feedback and the next module.

We spend time at the start on character and structure because this helps us focus on what is really important in the story and the possibilities for how it will unfold.

The principles of the course are applicable to all kinds of storytelling, since they cover plot, character, suspense, dialogue, structure, imagery, pacing, and so on. These universal rules and guidelines work whether you are doing oral storytelling, writing screenplays, novels, graphic novels, short stories or stage and radio plays.

The course is delivered by email and (if you like) Skype.

Here are some sample pages from different course modules. You can find some testimonies at the bottom of the page.
From a module on story types

Sample course content

(Exact content will depend on your individual requirements and what medium you’re writing for.)

Module 1. Making Us Care – crafting memorable characters
Module 2. The 4 Plot types and the 4 endings
Module 3. Your story summary
Module 4. Character attitudes
Module 5. Deep structure: the journey
Module 6. Brainstorming your story line
Module 7. Mapping your scene cards
Module 8. Writing your synopsis
Module 9. Choosing point of view and tense
Module 10. What is suspense?
Module 11. The unfolding of a scene
Module 12. The purpose of dialogue
Module 13. The meaning of ‘Show not Tell’
Module 14. Perfect prose: everything is particular
Module 15. Perfect prose: the importance of attitude
Module 16. Magic and the art of storytelling
Module 17. Opening lines: hooking the editor
Module 18. Pacing, mood and transitions
Module 19. Navigating the long middle
Module 20. Imagination, inspiration and in-betweens
Module 21. Comedy (or seeing the funny side)
Module 22. Formatting and presentation
Module 23. Themes and memes
Module 24. Editing your work
Module 25. Closing lines: making it stick
Module 26. Finding a publisher or agent
Module 27. Alternative publishing models
Module 28. Marketing your work


The cost of the course is £9 per module but discounts are available. Don’t forget, you work at your own pace and each unit is tailored to you, with feedback based on what you send in response, so it’s very good value.

Ways of paying:

  • Up front – £200.
  • Direct debit of £30/month over seven months.
  • £9 per lesson before each lesson.
  • Concessions: deduct 5%.


Comments from ‘real world’ students:

  • “I thoroughly enjoyed last week’s session. I know I’m a professional in the script-writing field, but to be honest I think any writer no matter how much they’ve done can benefit from a ‘reboot’ as it were.” Julian Dutton, professional tv/film comedy scriptwriter
  • “I lack confidence and belief in myself, you have no idea how much his support and guidance is appreciated. David is a brilliant tutor but he does blow your mind!!Jacquie Hyde, writer of Young Adult fiction
  • I have attended many a workshop of all descriptions in my time but yours has been one of the best. The level of challenge was really high and I don’t think I’ve thought so hard in years. Though we were a room of people I felt you hit the nail off all of us individually.” Glyn Scott.
  • “Thank you so much for all your teaching, most enjoyable and I’ve learnt a lot.” Joy Daniels, playwright 
  • “Your classes have provoked some great ideas.” Sara Fox, writer of historical romance.


Send an email enquiry with some information about your writing interests.

You will hear back very shortly!

The tutor

David is a successful writer of fiction for adults, young adults and older children, who believes strongly that with imagination we can change the world.  He’s the author of Hybrids, “a stunningly clever novel” – The Times – which won the UK HarperCollins-Saga Magazine 2006 Childrens Novelist competition.

He co-founded the London Screenwriters’ Workshop and has written many short stories, TV scripts, comics and graphic novels, including for Marvel, HarperCollins, Titan Books and Macdonald-Futura.

He has also worked as a commissioning editor for various book publishers, plus as journalist and news editor, is the author of over ten non-fiction books and is a director of Cambria Publishing Co-operative.

He has a City and Guilds Further Education Teachers Certificate and has completed a City and Guilds course in Contracts and Rights. He is a member of the Society of Authors and the Society of Childrens’ Book Writers and Illustrators.

Cover of Life, a collection of storiesReal world classes

A real world class is held in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. Starting on Wednesday September 20, a beginners’ class will run from 2pm-4pm and an advanced class from 7pm-9pm. Classes are held upstairs in the YMCA on Broad Street, near the market square.

A collection of work (right) by last year’s class has been published and is freely available here.

The classes cost £5 each session, or you can book ten in advance for £45.