Course Information

You will receive the prerequisite 4-Week Unlocking Creativity as a complimentary course if you enrol directly into the 10 Month Novel & Script First Draft program.

You can also do the Novel & Script First Draft course Online working interactively with your personal tutor.

A payment instalment option is available for this course, click ‘Enrol Now’ to view, and also please read the course Terms & Conditions

Story Structure and the Process

During the course, participants often ask, “How could anyone write a novel or screenplay without having a process like this?”

The Writers’ Studio process allows you to access the power of your imagination while grounding your story in solid structure. This is what creates the magic on the page and helps produce a profound and dramatic experience for your reader.

Ninety per cent of novels and screenplays are rejected because of poor structure. This course demystifies story structure so you can harness its power without getting confused or rigid.

Many people can write great scenes and/or have a strong idea or initial incident that they think will make a great story. But an idea, a few good scenes and a dramatic incident is unfortunately rarely enough.

Robert McKee, acclaimed teacher and author of Story, says, “You might have the insights of Buddha, but if you can’t tell a story, your ideas will be as dry as dust. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement, to hold that involvement and ultimately reward them with a moving and meaningful experience.” 

The purpose of structure is to link the action of the story with the character journey so that each scene contributes to the overall character arc and the story builds in a dramatic and logical way, engaging your reader from beginning to end. This is the art and craft of storytelling.

This course’s step-by-step process shows you what to do and when you need to do it, grounding your story in classic story structure while allowing your creativity to flourish and your characters to come alive on the page.

The live sessions are great fun. You get to experience the pleasure of going on a creative journey with a group of like-minded people and witnessing the magic of seeing everyone’s stories come alive as they work through the process.

The workshops are scheduled one Saturday per month and one full weekend intensive. (See dates below) The workshops are where most of the heavy lifting, that is the planning and structure, is worked out (missed classes can be caught up online). Your tutors give you weekly feedback on your developing structure using our bespoke, interactive online Steps Board.

Well! I feel like I've learnt more in this course that I did in my whole MA in writing at Sydney Uni. Fabulous. Finally someone who really does have the key to practical help for writers. I really loved finally feeling like things were coming out of me, when for so long I've felt like a big dried up prune. Tiara Lowndes - Editor

Course Outcomes

During the Course you will:

  • Develop the broad spine of your story using our Ten-Step Outline before you start writing your actual first draft. This ensures your story has the structural legs to go the distance and is the one you truly want to write.
  • Implement strategies to develop, flesh out, and motivate your characters so they feel authentic, unique and come alive on the page.
  • Follow a proven step-by-step process that will help you work effectively. The process interacts with our bespoke interactive online tools making sure your story is grounded, kept on track and builds dramatically and logically in the weeks between sessions.
  • Learn how to develop a dance between structure and  imagination to utilise your creativity while grounding your story in solid story structure.
  • Receive guidance, accountability and support from your tutors and like-minded classmates. Having external input from your tutors and fellow writers enables you to take your story to another level, which is difficult to achieve on your own.
  • Develop a regular writing habit – a fundamental ingredient of writing success.
  • Learn the essential keys to creating powerful drama full of internal and external conflict using our specialised Scene Templates to bring your scenes alive on the page.
  • Develop a deep understanding of classic story structure dynamics by using our 8 Turning Points and 29 Story Steps. This will keep your story on track and make sure you don’t get lost in the dreaded middle of your story, where many writers get stuck.
  • Learn the art and craft of storytelling. The goal of the first draft is not to write the perfect story, but to discover the possibilities of your story and characters.
  • Complete your first draft in ten months while taking your main character and yourself on a profound journey of change. A huge achievement.

As Ernest Hemingway said to F. Scott Fitzgerald “The most important thing about a first draft is finishing the damn thing.”

Workshop Calendar Dates

All classes available online if you need to miss any workshops. We reserve the right to change class dates if necessary.

Workshop Calendar for 9 March 2019 to 17 November 2019

9 March – Saturday workshop, 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

6 & 7 April – Weekend intensive from 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

Continues on the following Saturdays – 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio:

4 May, 1 June, 29 June, 27 July, 24 August, 21 September, 19 October, and SUNDAY 17 November (2.30pm to 6.30pm & dinner on us)


Workshop Calendar for September 8, 2018 to June 23, 2019

September 8 – Saturday workshop, 10am to 6pm at The Writers’ Studio

October 6 & 7 – Weekend intensive from 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

Continues on the following Saturdays from 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio:

November 3, December 8, XMAS BREAK, February 2, March 2, March 30, April 27, May 25, SUNDAY June 23 (2.30pm to 6.30pm & dinner on us)


Workshop Calendar for March 10, 2018 to November 18, 2018

March 10, 2018 – Saturday workshop, 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

April 7 & 8 – Weekend Intensive, 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio

Continues on the following Saturdays from 10am to 6pm at the Writers’ Studio:

May 5, June 2, June 30, July 28, August 25, September 22, October 20 and SUNDAY November 18 (2.30pm to 6.30pm then dinner on us)

Important Information - Please read

If you have enrolled for the 10 Month Novel & Script course and after completing Unlocking Creativity, we feel that you are not ready or suitable for the longer course, we will recommend that you either repeat Unlocking Creativity and go into the next Novel & Script course, or we will provide you with a refund for the Novel & Script course component. Please be aware that this is to do with attitude and temperament. The process of the Novel & Script First Draft Live course is delicate and requires open-mindedness, sensitivity to others, positivity, humility, passion and patience. Whether you are a complete beginner or have been trying to write a novel for 20 years it doesn’t matter – we welcome you all. But when working with a group of writers intimately for 10 months, it is our responsibility to create a safe space for all writers to enable optimum learning to take place.

What Our Students Say

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I'm extremely grateful to Roland and the couple of years I spent at the Writer's Studio. My time there finally set me on the path I'd wanted to follow for years. It taught me so much about plot and structure and, importantly, it cleared my head of the rubbish I'd previously believed about the mystery of writing and the creative process. The scales fell from my eyes at the Writers' Studio. 'King of The Road' published by Random House, 2015 Nigel Bartlett
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Writers' Studio graduate and former tutor, Alexander Gilly, has signed a two-book deal with Tor/Forge, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, in New York. This is his first novel, a high-seas action-thriller that Alex developed through our first, second and third draft novel writing courses. 'I'm thrilled,' says Alex. 'By sticking with my story and to the principles I learned at the Writers' Studio, and by getting lucky, I've realised a life-long ambition. Thank you Roland and Kathleen! Alex Gilly
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"The Writers' Studio is my testing ground, and a place equipped with the finest mental technologies, which unlike the thousands of books on the subject, are designed to nurture the screenwriter through that arduous practice and discipline of animating a story step-by-step, day by day, and refining it so that it represents the best of what you are." Nick Lathouris
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"If it wasn't for Unlocking Creativity and The Writers' Studio First Draft (Novel & Script) Course I wouldn't be where I am today - an author about to be published. Thank you Roland for the inspiration." 
 L.A. Larkin
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‘Before I did the Unlocking Creativity course I knew I loved to write creatively but had no idea how I might start to channel that into something like a novel. The course teaches the basics of storytelling in a really accessible and inspiring way. Things like the importance of sensory detail in scene setting, writing a character’s emotion and conflict on every page. ‘The techniques really worked for me and I’m still a little bit amazed I was able to write a book and have it published using them. I refer to the notes I took during Unlocking Creativity even Krew Boylan
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Dear Roland. So excited. I have a publishing offer for my first book of fiction. So what I'm really saying is - thank you!' Elizabeth Farrelly
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"A truly practical approach to the secrets of good story telling." Rachel Ward
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"I am doing a 10-month online writing course with them (The Writers' Studio) and it's challenging, exciting and frustrating. As it should be." Julia Zemiro
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Thanks to The Writer's Studio I truly found my love of writing buried within. After completing the 4-Week Unlocking Creativity course and then the 10-month Novel & Script First Draft course, I found the determination to write and submit my memoir 'Labour of Love' which has been published by Simon & Schuster. Thank you Writers’ Studio for triggering my drive and inspiration and my deep adoration for writing. Shannon Garner
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I work as professional script writer and editor, so I understand the basics of story structure, but the way the everything was broken down to the smallest of steps was just brilliant. It made me dig for my story, and get in deep, and get complex, rather than settling for the easiest first thought. Forcing me to think deeper and come up with more imaginative solutions. Loved the dance! Such a beautiful perfect balance.” Elizabeth Packett
First Draft – Novel & Script - Sydney

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