Date: December 2, 2023

Time: 10.30 am - 4.30 pm

Duration: 5 hours (one hour lunch break)

Level: Beginner | Emerging |

Cost: €80 (€72 Members)

Location: In Person

This course will take place at Irish Writers Centre on Saturday 2 December

Course Summary:

Have a novel idea but don’t know where to start? In this one-day workshop author Tanya Farrelly will guide you from that first glimmer of an idea through to its execution. We will explore what makes an opening exciting enough to grip your reader, how to create unforgettable characters, the importance of point of view, and why you should think of your novel in scenes. We will also talk about plot points and the importance of striking a balance between planning and giving your story the room to evolve.

Course Outline:

We will begin our workshop by reading a variety of novel openings and discussing how writers can grip their readers from that very first page. Participants will discuss their own novel ideas to ensure they are opening their story in the best possible place. We will move from openings to discussing how to create intriguing characters. Participants will create characters profiles for two of their main protagonists. They will then have the opportunity to write scenes which will reveal both the relationship between these characters and any conflict between them. Staying with character, we will discuss who should tell your story and why. Which character has the most at stake? Who can be there for your key scenes? Perhaps your story will require multiple points of view. We will discuss the importance of plot points and the degree to which you should map out you novel. Finally, you will take home some tricks to keep going now that you’ve started!

Course Outcomes:

By the end of this workshop participants will have decided how to begin their novel, as well as completing character profiles for their main protagonists. They will have decided who should tell their story and will have written two key scenes to reveal character traits and conflict. Tanya will also provide you with some tips and tricks on how to continue now that you’ve taken those first steps to writing your novel.


Tanya Farrelly is the author of four books: two short fiction collections: When Black Dogs Sing (Kate O’ Brien Award 2017) and Nobody Needs To Know. (Arlen House, 2021), and two psychological thrillers: The Girl Behind the Lens and When Your Eyes Close (Harper Collins) She holds a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Bangor University, Wales and was appointed Writer-in-Residence at NUI Galway in 2021. Tanya is a recipient of an Arts Council Agility Award and has been selected for the Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme. She is currently working on a historical novel.


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