Workshops and Master Classes
Kick start your Writing
Where do ideas come from? How can we stimulate our creativity and broaden the range of our ideas? This workshop provides a cornucopia of techniques to spark ideas for new writing and provides tools that can be used again and again to boost creativity. The session includes writing exercises that use lateral thinking, constraint, memory and stimuli from other art forms and encourages experimentation and shared feedback in a supportive environment. Whether you are a fiction writer or a poet you need never be intimidated by a blank page again!
Suitable for all writers from beginners to more advanced writers who sometimes experience a ‘block’.
Waking your Characters
How can you kindle a character into life? Through workshop exercises, you will learn how to use visualization, profiling, sketching and hotseating to develop characters – a range of techniques that can be used again and again. Using extracts from the work of established writers we’ll also explore the use of objects and setting in illuminating character. Come with a character currently in development or form a new one from stimulus material provided.
Suitable for writers at all levels.
Short Story Structure
Just like a jeweller cutting a gem, the short story writer needs structure and precision to produce a shapely and polished work. After generating character and situation through an exercise, we will examine a tried-and-tested story structure, which will be explained both in theory and through examples. Students are then encouraged to apply the structure to the material developed in class and receive constructive and encouraging feedback. In longer workshops a range of further structures can be explored such as Tales, Wheels, Twist Endings and The Slice of Life.
Suitable for writers at all levels.
An Aerial View of the Novel and How to Plan
If you are planning or writing a novel, this workshop will help you to see the big picture and take a constructive overview. By examining the elements that all stories have in common, we will look at narrative as a journey and learn to strengthen structure. We will explore character archetypes, such as heroes, mentors, gatekeepers and shape-shifters, and identify how they apply in your work. Aids such as outlines, synopses, timelines and diagrams will be explained and we will look at how to maintain pace, use sub-plots and write satisfying endings.
Suitable for all would-be novelists: from those who have a broad idea in development to those who want to improve an early draft.
The Power of Objects
Mirrors, clocks, roses, rings; writers use objects as tools. They can be employed as potent symbols or as devices to reveal character or create intrigue. A range of small objects will be provided to stimulate ideas and memories and act as a bridge for the writer into an imagined world. Together, through exemplar extracts and writing exercises, we will explore the ways in which we can harness the power of objects in our writing, enriching our prose or poetry and turning stones into axe-heads. This workshop lends itself to museum or art gallery venues where the host organisation would like to provide objects or images, but I am able to provide objects for other clients.
Suitable for all levels and for both poets and fiction writers.
Master Class – Writing Historical Fiction
Are you interested in writing about another era? Whether it’s ancient Greece, Victorian London or France in the Great War, setting a story in another time can revitalise your writing and make you look afresh at the interaction between character and context.
We will look at exemplar material to find out how writers make past worlds seem real and compelling to the reader and apply these techniques through hands-on writing exercises to bring the past vividly to life. The session will include working individually and in small groups and sharing feedback. There will also be discussion of research methods and markets for historical fiction.
Suitable for fiction writers with some experience.
Master class – Peopling the Landscape
This workshop looks at some fascinating characters invented by great writers and at their interaction with their setting in terms of both geography and era. Through a range of exercises, we apply techniques from masters such as Hardy and Gogol, as well as contemporary writers, to develop our own creations. Together we will also explore how location creates atmosphere, informs plot and impacts upon character. Sometimes place can almost become a character in itself…
Suitable for those writing short fiction or novels.
Other popular choices include workshops based on the senses (using stimulus material such as sound and music, smells and scents, tastes and textures); workshops based on memory to elicit life-writing; using writing as therapy and drawing on history and artefacts at heritage sites.
For teaching and public speaking I charge fees at the standard Society of Authors rate. For other services fees are negotiable.