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Fiction in Progress

Course Times & Enrolment

Mondays from 15th January 2024 (Code CW070-202) Mondays from
15th January 2024 11:10am - 1:00pm • (10 classes)
LG47 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Janis Mackay MA
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Do you have a work of fiction in progress? Intended for writers with some experience, Fiction in Progress encourages you to develop your novels and short stories beyond first draft in a supportive environment. We will look at all types and lengths of fiction in creative writing, sharing and discussion based sessions.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Some previous writing is required i.e. three draft short stories, novel or novella (about 10,000 to 15,000 words in total).

Content of Course

This course will look at advanced topics including:

1. Revising your manuscript.

2. Structuring novels and short stories.

3. Maintaining dramatic tension.

4. Sharpening focus and character motivation.

5. Strengthening voice.

6. Advice on approaching agents / publishers.

Teaching method(s)

Combination of tutor led discussion, reading of work, and peer critique.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Revise and develop their initial drafts;

  • Critically analyse the structure of a novel in the genre they wish to write in;

  • Give and receive constructive feedback;

  • Prepare a manuscript for publication;

  • Draft a query letter and synopsis for a literary agent.


Core Readings


  • Prose, F., 2006. Reading Like a Writer. UK: Harper Perennial.

  • Stein, S., 2000. Solutions for Novelists, Secrets of a Master Editor. UK: Souvenir Press.


  • Forster, E M., 1927. Aspects of the Novel. UK: Penguin Classics.

  • Blake, C., 1999. From Pitch to Publication. UK: Macmillan.

  • Gardner, J., 1979. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers. UK: Vintage Books.

  • Lodge, D., 1992. The Art of Fiction. UK: Penguin Books.

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.