Full-day creative writing workshops in July and August
Summer Saturdays, 10am – 4pm
Upper Wolvercote (North Oxford). There's free parking, a great bus route (#6), and beautiful canal-side walking routes.
The workshops start at £65 each; the more you book, the less you pay per workshop.
1 workshop £65 each
2 workshops £60 each
3+ workshops £55 each
Email me with any questions or use the form to book.
Create yourself a Summer of Writing: book a selection of workshops to inspire and develop your writing, and some time off for writing. It's the perfect time of year for writing in parks, gardens, pub gardens, and meadows - treat yourself and make it fun. If you can, I suggest you block off a full weekend for each workshop, so you can use the Sunday to write. If you can book a week or two off work, just for writing, all the better!
These full-day writing workshops are filled with creative, practical exercises. Each workshop can stand alone; the five workshops together also create a natural flow-through. All the workshops are multi-level – suitable for both beginners and experienced writers – and for most of the workshops you have the option to create new ideas or to develop a work in progress.
To book, use the booking form below the workshop descriptions. The booking for each workshop closes a week before the workshop.
Playful challenging activities based on top research to create new ideas and explore the creative process
Creativity can feel magical and maddening: sometimes it all just works, sometimes it's like getting blood from a stone, and who knows why, or what to do about it? And what do you do when your creative well runs dry? Using creative activities and writing prompts, we'll explore some of the key aspects of the creative process: the different kinds of thinking we need; process versus product driven approaches; increasing your reservoirs of inspiration; the importance of play; and how to escape your brain's habits and reach for more original ideas. All the activities draw on solid research from neurology, psychology, and adult play: creativity is magic, and this is our spell book. Throughout the day, you'll be generating ideas, playing with different approaches, and writing multiple short pieces, with the opportunity to extend one or more of these at the end. You'll leave with a variety of newly developed story ideas to explore and a deeper understanding of how to support and enjoy your creativity
Bookings close: Sunday 23 July
Explore a range of ways to write characters unlike yourself and vary a story's cast, while you develop new characters to take home with you
It's an easy mistake to make all your characters too similar, especially the positive characters. When you're creating a "villain", you can gleefully invent all sorts of unusual traits. When you're writing a positive character, you can often end up making them just "normal" - ie not characterised, undifferentiated, or a cast of clones of yourself. This workshop uses a variety of approaches to help you invent characters who are most definitely NOT like you - and more than that, to sympathise with and understand them. You'll invent or develop multiple new characters in the workshop, and also gain insight into some of your own traits, to make sure those aren't replicated across all your future characters.
Bookings close: Sunday 30 July
Writing with fresh angles, new voices, unusual points of view, experimental structures and different styles
In writing, it's easy to rest on what we're already good at and what we've done before, and define ourselves as "that kind" of writer. But this can mean we pull back from ideas or scenes that take us beyond that, which limits our stories. To expand our repertoires, we need a safe space of freedom to experiment with new approaches. In this workshop, we explore fresh angles in four main areas: new voices, unusual points of view, experimental structures, and different styles. We'll look at examples of published work, from literary fiction to genre novels, to see how it can be used and to inspire you. You'll also try out the different approaches with creative activities, using either your own work in progress or ideas created in the class. You'll leave with multiple short pieces of new writing, new ideas for stories or for your existing story, and a widened range of possibilites to draw on.
Bookings close: Sunday 6 August
Everything from developing your characters’ voices and natural speech to layout and seamless attribution
Dialogue plays a central role in making a story come alive: it creates immediacy and intimacy, roots the story in real time, and builds strong characterisation, as well as carrying the story forward. This workshop covers multiple aspects of writing dialogue: striking the balance between actual versus "natural" speech; developing characters' voices; balancing both of those with writing snappy or powerful lines; its purpose in the story; common errors to avoid; ways of attributing speech; and the descriptions and actions that go around it. It also covers practical approaches for how to go about the actual writing, and the nuts and bolts of layout and punctuation. You'll leave with several pieces of writing exploring characters' voices (using new characters or ones from your work in progress), new dialogue, useful strategies for the writing process, and a clear grasp of the practicalities.
Bookings close: Sunday 13 August
Move your characters and the reader easily in time & place, and deal deftly with exposition and back story
Orientating the reader is one of those invisible skills - if it's done well in a story, you'd never notice it. When it's done badly, you're suddenly flipping backwards in the book looking for a character thinking "Who the hell is this, again...?" Or flicking pages back and forth, trying to work out whether you've jumped in time or are still in the same place. Or counting the lines of dialogue to work out on earth is speaking.
This workshop looks at a range of ways to orientate the reader: reminding them who characters are, reminding them of the core tension of each story strand when you're weaving multiple threads together, moving your characters in time and place so the reader knows when / where they are without long journey descriptions, dealing with flashbacks elegantly, and exposition for back story and the details of your novel's world.
Bookings close: Sunday 20 August
If the form doesn't appear for you or doesn't seem to be working, you can email me at email@example.com to make your booking.
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