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Write a Novel Course
In South Africa

"I read Casino Royale when I was 12. It changed my life. James Bond knew about all that intrigued me: cars, cocktails, guns, and - most of all - girls.- Ken Follet
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Upcoming Write a Novel Courses in South Africa. For online courses see here

August 17 + 18 2024 Bookings here 
October 14 - 17 2024. Bookings here
September 14 + 14 2024 bookings here 


This course is designed for new writers who want to write a novel, or experienced writers who are stuck or need clear direction. It will guide you through the process of writing a book from start to finish. You need nothing but your ideas in order to attend. You will end up writing your book.


You will be guided on your writing journey by writing coach and agent Sarah Bullen. She will help you plot your book, and push you to finish it. 


Unlike many courses that take you through the theory of writing and plotting, this course is geared towards getting you going on your novel. By the end of the week you will be well on your way to writing your book. You will have the entire book plotted, you characters developed and your first few chapters written. 


It’s a hard push to get you to engage with the dream of writing a book. But I also focus on getting you to write a publishable novel. It is a challenge to act on your desire. 


Learn how to write, edit and market your novel, structure and storytelling, character, plotting, advanced plotting and pace, how to construct scenes, best writing techniques, timelines and schedules, genre and finding your voice, preparing your manuscript, how to approach publishers, how to write your marketing material, new publishing models.



* How to Define and Create Your Most Compelling Book

* The Elements of Structure

* Finding Your Book Genre and Subgenre

* Creating Plot, Place and Character Outlines for your Genre

* Adding Plot Points and Structure

* Beginnings, Middles and Ends

* Developing Your Main Character

* Developing Your Minor Characters

* Developing Your Voice

* Developing Point of View as a Plotting Technique

* How to Improve your plotting, pace and structure

* How to make your characters unforgettable

* Adding Depth and Layers

* Sourcing Tips and Techniques

* How to Present Your Book to Publishers




Module 1: Ideas.

All professional writers get asked the question 'Where do you get your ideas from?' We'll start off the course by trying to answer it. We'll look at: Recognising and developing ideas. An idea vs a plot; Reading as a writer, and getting into good writing habits; Defining your idea through titles and outlines, and the role of planning.


Module 2: Character

Creating convincing, realistic characters that readers are compelled to find out more about is at the heart of successful novel writing. We'll begin to build a character, looking at different ways you can approach this, what makes a successful character, how to develop your characters and begin to think about how character and plot interact - an issue that lies at the very heart of how to construct a compelling novel.


Module 3: Find your Genre

What book are you writing? What are the conventions and how do you plot a book that fits into a genre. This is the basis of modern publishing. 


Module 4: The Basics of Plotting

How do you create a compelling plot that keeps readers turning the page? We'll start to think about what makes a story a story as opposed to a series of events, introduce you to the idea of archetypal plots, and look at the roles of pacing, hooks and conflict all play in story-telling.


Module 5: Structuring your Book

Once you know what your story is and who's in it, you need to start thinking about the best way to tell that story. Writing a novel means making a series of decisions about things like structure, point of view, genre, setting, time and place. We'll look at what the implications of these choices might be for your story.


Module 6: Beginnings, Middles and Ends 

Let's move through all the big areas you need to cover with your hero and find a way to lead him or her on the journey. All the way to the end. 


Module 7: Style 

How do you write in a compelling way? We we will dialogue, your voice', description, how to draw a reader in, pace, timing and tension. 

Module 8: Editing and Getting Published

How many drafts should you write? How do you know when something is 'ready'? Many writers say that getting to the end of the first draft is just the start - that's when the real work begins. From structural editing to polishing your prose, we'll go through the stages involved in editing your novel. We'll also aim to give you a brief overview of how publishing works, and what to do with your novel once you've written it.


The course is a combination of technical writing techniques, working through your blocks, finding ways to access your memories and plan your story.




Sarah Bullen is an international writing mentor and literary agent. She works with writers all over the world to tell their stories, and write that book. Founder of The Writing Room and Kent Literary, she has had over 180 books published by writers she has mentored over the last two decades. She has held editorial roles across both books, magazines and literary agencies.


The Writing Room helps writers throughout the book writing journey—whether you're working on your manuscript or you're looking for publishing advice.


As well as being a regular guest on talk shows, podcasts, literary festivals and writers’ circles, Sarah has been leading international writing retreats and adventures since 2014.

Paige Nick

This is the course I did in 2008/9 and I wrote my first novel. I was sick of thinking about writing a novel and making false starts for years, so I took a week off work and did this course. By the end, I'd trashed the novel I'd been wheel-spinning on, and had a new idea. A month later I had a very dodgy first draft, which later became A Million Miles from Normal, published by Penguin Random House  in 2010. Today I'm working on my 9th novel, and pretty much still using the same techniques Sarah taught me.
So, if you're thinking of doing a writing course, stop thinking about it and do it. I can't imagine you'll regret it.
Paige Nick, author of  A Million Miles from Normal , UnPresidented, This Way Up,  A Girl Walks into a Bar Series

Maria Phalime

“This was a very useful course to do, particularly the early modules that actually got me plotting and writing in two weeks. I had no clue how to even start writing and the clear information that you provided just mapped the way forward.’
Maria Phalime, author of Second Chances and Postmortem: The Doctor who Walked Away  - Winner of the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award in 2013.

Literary Agent. Author. Speaker. NDE experiencer. Cancer survivor. 

Sarah Bullen is an international writing mentor and literary agent. She works with writers all over the world to tell their stories, and write that book. Founder of The Writing Room and Kent Literary, she has had over 180 books published by writers she has mentored over the last two decades.  She has held editorial roles across both books, magazines and literary agencies.


The Writing Room helps writers throughout the book writing journey—whether you're working on your manuscript or you're looking for publishing advice.


As well as being a regular guest on talk shows, podcasts, literary festivals and writers’ circles, Sarah has been leading international writing retreats and adventures since 2014.

Sarah has also written over 14 books as a professional ghostwriter for business and thought leaders and celebrities.  

Her own books have been on the shelves since 2005 and most recent titles are
Write your Book in 100 Days!  Stop Mucking about and Just Write It 
​and the NDE book
Love & Above – A Journey into Shamanism, Coma and Joy.

Sarah's latest book is Love and Above. A journey through Shamanism Coma and Joy. has garnered international interest and attention with its sensational story. 

A decade ago, after a crazy set of events, Sarah ended up in a month-long coma. In that time she travelled through near-death and into other realms and worlds. She came back with an urgent message from beyond, and a spark to follow which she shares in the book and her life. 

Sarah lost her husband to cancer and is a breast cancer survivor herself, and her message is inspire people to find joy and bliss in the adventures of life. 

She lives in Cape Town and spends part of the year in Greece and Botswana. She is a qualified Family Constellations facilitator and works with Writing with the Ancestors. Through these endeavors, I passionately foster the art of storytelling, curating storytelling retreats, and facilitating women's rites of passage and rituals that encapsulate the profound impact of narrative expression.


Author Testimonials 

I had the opportunity to speak with Sarah a year and a half ago, where I shared that I needed to write a book about my work experience in Colombia.  Today I am delivering the book to be published, and I want to thank you for your help and your Write your Book in 100 Days guidebook.  I used all the recommendations you gave me in our conversation, but also your book, that I used fully to get the book done. 
Jorge H. Jaramillo, President of Deceval, the private central securities depository in Colombia, 2023

With all the content for my book in hand and a message I wanted to share, I needed someone to help me structure my thoughts and give life to my ideas. Sarah Bullen masterfully brought all the words together into a completed manuscript. Thank you for your patience, persistence, integrity and professionalism. You made my dream come true!  Kim Potgieter, Your Midlife Money Makeover 2020

 I've wanted to write a book for years. I had so many ideas and half written chapters floating around in my head and on my computer but had no idea on how to even begin to structure them into a cohesive storyline in order to bring my book to life. Doing a mentorship with The Writing Room was the exact kick up the butt I needed to finally get out of my very complicated head and just write my damn book! The accountability, focus, feedback and guidance was exactly what I needed to translate my very big, overwhelming ideas into a single, streamlined, practical book that is now sitting on bookshelves across the country! The wealth of information and experience that Sarah & Kate have in the writing and publishing world is extensive. If you are serious about writing your book, you could not find a better team to work with than The Writing Room. They will definitely show you how to transform your 'nice ideas' into a reality. Without The Writing Room, I would not have a book. I am beyond grateful for their brilliance and guidance in my writing journey."

Leah Sefor, That's Not what I meant? The smart, savvy guide to real communication (2021 NB Publishers)

I’m definitely feeling sad to reach the end of the mentorship. This has been an amazing group of very motivated and talented folks. It’s been great to see all your stories materialise in front of our eyes. It’s been a strange time in the world and I really thank you all for helping me get through it with an actual product to show for it and some semblance of sanity.   
Drew Charles, After Party 2021

I did your 100-day writing course in 2015 for my novel, Gracie Stirling and the Whisper Horses. It's getting published! A small publishing house in Wales picked it up and will be publishing it. I have already signed the contract and they have sent their edits.   I just wanted to say a big thank you so much. The 100-Day course was invaluable and it provided me with the structure and "action"  they loved in the book.  Thank you! 
Jenny Kling, Gracie Stirling and the Whisper Horses, Gomer Publishing 2019


I’m no writer but had a story I needed to tell.  If you have a book “inside” you and you have determination then catch a ride with Sarah and Kate.  Hold on tight – it won’t be easy, and it does take time, but if you do it their way –
and do everything they say, you will get your first draft done.  Their wealth of knowledge on the craft of writing, the industry, and process and the motivation around it all was priceless.  Book 2 to follow soon and no doubt 
through this process again with them. 
Costa Carastavrakis - I am Costa, From Meths to Marathons 2019

It almost feels like a dream - like I had 20,000 words, then woke up four months later and now have nearly 80,000.  This course has been exactly what I needed and wanted - and more. Sarah Bullen thank you for giving us the perfect mix of inspiration, tenderness and whip-cracking. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you both and working with you - and I look forward to continuing my journey with you!

Anne-Marie Luck, Tokyo 2020

I LOVED everything. The structure and the accountability. I loved the combination of  inspiration and Sarah's taskmaster writing challenges. I loved hearing other people's progress and stories – it inspired me to carry on. Also was great as a forum to discuss some of the structural aspects of writing and really narrowing the focus of your book's core. The one-on-one sessions were brilliant as it really kept me believing I could do it and gave me good ideas to implement going forward. For someone who wants to do it but isn’t sure how or if they have it in them, this is the perfect way to test yourself. 
Leigh Taylor  2019

This mentorship has changed my life. They caught me in the air, and gave me a platform to write from, and guidance to feel. The Facebook group was really awesome, I found that reading everyone’s tribulations and successes brought us closer together, and I often found myself in exactly the same place as my fellow authors. The weekly accountability updates often had me in anxious sweats as I wasn’t always able to add to my word count, but it did push me to write and write and write. I would recommend this mentorship, slave-ship to every single person out there who has even the inkling to write a story. Just do it, as Nike said. Just do it.
Talia Day

This course was a big eye opener for me! It showed me that I can definitely write and publish a book, and that it’s also not an exercise for the faint of heart! However, with the Mastermind structure it’s much more accessible that just doing it in the dark… having the guidance, expertise, and intense delivery context is definitely a potential game changer. 
Brad Shorkend  -  We Are Still Human (And Work Shouldn't Suck) 2019


I started my journey with my beloved project in 2015. I dipped in and out of it for the past 3 and some years, feeling close to it but lacking that something to lead me forward. Since joining the group in August, absolutely everything changed. I keep looking back in awe because I’ve now completed a first draft. And that’s a big thing! There is something special about having a place to account as well as having two strong and experienced guides to crack the whip and remind you of your commitments.
This continues to be an invaluable experience for me and I feel mushy and weepy with gratitude for it. 

Gladys Ryan, The Selful Soul   published 2023

“Kate cracks the whip and Sarah moulds your book into shape” 
Sandra Buckingham 2018
“Sarah is the master at showing you how to write for a reader” 
Khanyisa Malungana 2017

“You are in for a ride of fun and learning, hard work, sleepless nights as well as the rousing and wondrous highs of 
meeting your own commitments in getting YOUR book done as you steadily come into your home run - your finish run -  the draft of your book! Get your ticket now.” 
Hester Bergh Appoyer - Being Nice isn't Enough!  2017
Kate and Sarah will help you up on your feet and moving in the right direction. 
They are kind, but clear; wise, but pragmatic. 
I recommend this to anyone who is ready to take their writing dream and turn it into a reality!
Anel Hamersma - Unleash Your Creative Self 

The people, the community that was formed, the honesty and vulnerability and the opportunity we had to share stories, realizing that it wasn’t just us, we weren’t alone, sharing celebrations.  What really worked was the commitment to the regular posts and you holding that firmly; the consistency was epic. 
Wendy Ward. Metamorphic Coaching and Presilience

I have challenged myself to test a dream. I loved it. This mentorship is extremely supportive & well structured so one is not left in the wilderness and wondering what to do or write next”. The weekly tasks are very well thought through and keep one on track and it’s wonderful to connect with other writers. It is a non-judgmental course and process and therefore you can explore your writing without fear. 
Caroline Menell 2019

Sarah and Kate’s writing mentorship is the stick of dynamite you need to stop gazing at your own navel and instead gaze at a finish line that gets steadily closer. If you’ve been struggling to get your ideas out of your head and onto the page, this mentorship will prove invaluable.  
Meg Chronis, romance author including The Seven Day Switch 2018

“I never knew how to share my story, and then like a divine gift from the universe, came Kate and Sarah. From book structure and editing to publishing, branding and PR I did it! And if I can, you can. What an incredible experience – let them show you how. It’s a life-changing journey.
Jennifer Cole - Raising Beautiful Children in an often Ugly World 2016

You have motivated me to fulfill my dreams:  
Hannelie Bronkhorst.

What an amazing and inspiring experience it has been. After sitting for years with bits and pieces of my second book done, I now have a completed first draft in my hands. 
Jacqui Holmes

D-Day – Wow! What a journey. Yes I have a first draft! 89 000 words! 
Carmen Tina Schneider.

I absolutely loved the process with Kate Emmerson and Sarah Bullen. Not having been an author before, the experience gave me the grounding I needed to complete three chapters for a co-authored book and get started on my first book. 
Bettina Pickering, The Emotion Coach 2016

“Anyone who feels they have a book buried inside should be part of this course to dig deep and uncover the book that needs to be written”. 
Jacqui Bourne

This has started me on a journey that I dreamed of from an early age but hadn’t felt confident enough to act on. The whole process of writing and publishing has been de-mystified and made ever so do-able. It is no longer an intimidating out of reach dream, finishing my book is now an attainable goal. 
Viki Runge

"I want to thank you for putting together this course material, the course itself and without a doubt, for the magnificent support, inspiration, nurturing, friendship and confidence that both you Kate, and you Sarah have afforded us during this ‘a journey into the unknown world of writers’. This has been one of the best things to have happened to me for a long time! There is no doubt that I attract fabulous people into my life. Bravo! "
Rose McClement

I absolutely loved the structure of the course and the course as a whole.  Thought you have made such a huge effort to design a great course and you both really know your stuff and it’s so helpful. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Sue Adams, author

This was the most incredible experience. I started my book a while ago  and completed the most awful first draft when my kids left to go to University and boarding school. They came home during lockdown so there went my writing. I grabbed your challenge with gusto and undertook to complete my second draft with major editing by the end of the course.  Jenny McGregor
The power of crazy deadlines makes me crazy and ecstatic simultaneously!  Book already being read around the world – Kate
This month has given me the gift of being on a fast creative train and I am in love with life! Gulistan Dhyan
I have mapped out 40 scenes and written 25,000 words of a new novel this month, so I’m still happy with where I’ve gotten to. I’ve found myself hitting a groove of writing every day  Drew Schapper

I loved the ZOOM bumtime sessions, I am grateful for this group process which helped me to focus, commit, write and affirm that I know enough to do this. Deep gratitude for your daily support, prompts, deadlines, candid self-reveals, humour, anecdotes, quips and quotes, and constant encouragement.  Linda Glass

I have been trying to get this baby out for a decade. I set a word count with the help of Kate and Sarah, I met it. The focus and discipline I found with the lessons and prompts below my mind," Geri McMahon, Ireland.
This 30 days was the most incredible anchor. I had fallen out of the writing zone with my second book and this kept me going. The daily lessons, audio, quote and notes just pushed me and pushed me. It was unstoppable," Catherine Glennie, No More Push Push
It was during this that everything finally fell into place with my book," 

Sandra Aquino, Secrets from Above
My big goal was to finish my second draft. Done."
I can't believe what I achieved in this time. I walk away with a competent and solid book plotted," Sue Adams author.
This was genius. I was pushed all the way to the end.," Jacqui Bauer
The focussed online writing sessions were just genius. I couldn't believe that we can write together, in silence, from all corners of the world and get so much done," Jana-Marie Coombes
I finished my second draft. It's good. I finished at 5am on the final day. I put the last full stop and it is done. I could never have done it without the group energy," Jenny .
The group and the push gave me such a creative momentum. It gave my writing movement and pace and excitement," Linda Odjugo, Italy.

I joined the Stop Mucking About accountability group with Kate Emmerson and Sarah Bullen Roderick because I knew I would not have the discipline on my own to finish my book. In fact I haven't stopped working with them since the writing retreat in Greece last year. And I am now on my third (and final!) draft with a deadline for 20-2-2020 to be done and dusted. The regular weekly updates, their gentle (but kickass!) nudging together with the wealth of information and tools they both bring makes this an amazing support group. Stop Mucking About is a worthwhile investment in you and your book! Just do it! 

Di Atherton 2019
Thank you Sarah Bullen Roderick and Kate Emmerson for getting me to actually produce a 120 000 word manuscript. It's so easy to talk about writing a novel, to think about writing a novel but to actually get down and do it is something else. You gave me the structure, the support, kept flagging energy going and an occasional prod and push, and it got done. You do what you say- Author Support - and its brilliant. Loved my courses with you. Thank you. Sue Adams 2019
Just wanted to share how useful and inspiring I am finding the Stop Mucking About program run by Sarah Bullen . There is no way they will let u fail and their support, loving guidance and constant presence have helped me to move forward with my project despite struggling with work life balance - please do yourself a favor and enroll.  Mary-Joe Emde 2019
Over the last four years I have been writing in circles and at the end of those four years I manage to have three excellent chapters but still no ending to my book. By joining the 'Stop mucking about' group headed by Sarah Bullen, I am now well on my way in writing the first draft of my first novel and the ending is clearly in sight. Their constructive feedback, prodding, encouragement and belief in me has made the journey an exciting and rewarding one. Jane Bond Australia 2019




You want a personal, honest and upfront connection while your formulate your story​


Writing is a solo journey, but being able to reach out to others who are on the same journey is important


You want to go from thinking about your book, to writing it and getting it published. I like books to be commercially viable - and over 100 published authors will show you that it works.

Transparency and Trust

A mentor who can guide you and bring out the best in you, and your book.


You are open to a creative method that is rich and deep and to work with someone you can relate to and trust. ​

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