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Our Story





online writing course octopus

Our Story

It began with a dream ...


It began in the early spring of 2017 when author, Louise Dean, had a problem; the loneliness of the long term writer. Louise tells the story...

Could we write together? 


With four novels published, a few awards and multiple nominations, I was in the same position you are probably reading this. Because every writer is only as good as the book they're currently writing, or so it feels. After almost twenty years working solo, I began to wonder why of all the arts and crafts, this one was an exception to the benefits of collaboration. I was writing in the dark, and that when I finally got some feedback from my agent or an editor, it came rather late in the day. (When the novel was done!) I felt I could use some company while I was writing. I was tired of writing alone.

Every novel is new, and a wise writer approaches a new book in trepidation no matter how long in the tooth they are. So I decided to write my next novel with other writers writing alongside me at the same time to help me stay on track. The Bookseller publicised my experiment and some 200 writers offered to join me, so for the next 90 days I wrote ‘live’ and put together the course materials for what would become our first online writing course, the Ninety Day Novel course.

Why the octopus?

From the outset, I chose the orange octopus to be our logo.

We would work together! A shared brain, bulging with experience and wit, and many tentacles writing!

Any group of fish that stays together for social reasons is said to be shoaling, and if the shoal is swimming in the same direction together, it is schooling. The school may even swim faster than a lone fish.

Now we are hundreds of writers worldwide writing together as a close-knit consortium, underwater and out of sight.

Until our books come ashore.

The Writing Process


I recorded the videos for the course daily as I wrote my novel, simply telling people what I was doing and when and sharing the creative process. I’d been figuring out how writers write for more than 20 years so I had quite a few tidbits to share. But I thought that en route I’d consult with great writers, living and dead. I show, for example, how Kerouac drops you into a scene and makes it all feel familiar, how Muriel Spark uses flash-forwards, and how the Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee’s prose is composed using poetry and computer-like coding.

It turns out the process for writing a novel is pretty consistent, so showing how to structure and pace a novel as you write has proven useful to many, and I’m grateful to so many writers for trusting me with their journey.

The word spread. This was a different writing course.


I decided to work in a candid way, showing how and where I made mistakes and sharing my failures as much as my successes. Because writing can be so daunting, it’s good to have someone show you how it’s done in a practical way. We have a lot of fun in the coaching sessions and at the community. We get to know each other at The Novelry. We know what drives us to put pen to paper. By being open and honest, we become close for sure. But there's more. You need to tap into your human frailty if you want to write a book that feels real. 

It's thanks to our writers sharing their writing lives with each other so generously that we have more five-star reviews on Trustpilot than any other online writing course.

Building the best team


As the numbers of writers grew, they needed other writers to teach them, writers working in genres in which they were expert: fantasy fiction, speculative fiction, crime, romance, children’s fiction. The Novelry needed young blood, brilliantly published writers, award-winning and bestselling. My writers deserved the best. But I had to be careful to find authors who could teach writing and care for my writers as much as I did. I was blessed to find our team of author tutors, one-by-one.

Taking our writers through to publishing


During the pandemic, we began bringing famous names to teach writing classes live: Paula Hawkins, Louise Doughty, Mark Billingham, Meg Rosoff, Val McDermid, Jessie Burton and many more.

We added weekly online writing classes and special writing groups, and a community where writers could workshop their writing, that was open 24/7 worldwide.

As our writers began completing their books it was time to find them literary agents. Over the last two years we’ve made some great working friendships and seen our writers through to literary agency representation and publishing contracts. We’re proud to work with the leading literary agents in the UK and the USA.

Bring more brilliance to The Novelry


What if we could bring some of the very best publishing editors in the business to help our writers shape their stories for success? So we sought editors with phenomenal reputations, working with global bestselling author names at Penguin Random House, editors who had wonderful working relationships with literary agents too. We wanted to give our writers the very best advice throughout the writing process, even before they put pen to paper and to help them get safe at submission to agents we knew we had to bring in the editors who acquired books from agents.

We are The Novelry

As a crack team of authors and editors, we meet twice a week to put our heads together on our writers' storylines. We look at every story before our writers get too far into the writing, so they can write with confidence in the right direction. Bold stories, beautifully told; that’s what the world’s best literary agents have come to expect from our writers.

We support our writers by believing in them, helping them carve out time and space, doing some of the heavy-lifting of plotting and planning. We work with writers one by one to bring their books to life. It's a pleasure and a privilege.

We’re a business driven by a non-commercial ethos. We’re writers writing; non-corporate, not nine to five, The Novelry is a homely place in which you can be yourself, only more so.

And then there's the Chief Wellness Officer, Blue. Small, fluffy and formidable he attends to the matter of a healthy writing-life balance.

We'll look forward to giving you a warm welcome soon. 

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We offer 0% interest payment plans and accept most cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal.

We offer scholarships for our online writing courses to deserving writers of merit. Simply send us an email explaining a little bit about your circumstances with the first 500 words of your work. 

With more independent five-star reviews than any other writing course online worldwide.