Events

Events in 2018

I’m running two masterclasses in the autumn in collaboration with Kellie Jackson of Words Away:

* Saturday 29 September 2018: The Craft of Plotting, including guest speaker Nick Ross, production director of Little, Brown – course description and schedule below

* Saturday 24 November 2018: The Craft of Voice, including guest speaker Jenny Savill, director and agent at Andrew Nurnberg Associates – course description and schedule below

Both one-day classes are held at London Bridge Hive, 1 Melior Place, London SE1 3SZ. You can book via the links at the class names above.

I also have plans for other workshops and masterclasses in the near future: contact me to be added to my mailing list.

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The Craft of Plotting
A Masterclass on Plotting and Story for Writers
Saturday 29 September, London Bridge Hive
Plot is a verb, as well as a noun. In this masterclass we’ll think about plotting as an active practice of shaping the changes and conflicts in our stories. Through discussion and exercises, we’ll approach plot and story in relation to other aspects of craft, such as character, structure, and genre conventions. We’ll also consider outlining and drafting as intuitive ways of digging deep into the symbolic forces that bring life and energy to our work. During the masterclass you’ll also be given various tools and resources on plotting to take home. We’ll end the day with an informal Q&A with Nick Ross, production director at Little, Brown, who’ll tell us about life behind the scenes at a publisher.

Provisional schedule for the day:

  • 9.45 – 10.45 Registration
  • 10.00–10.30 Introduction: Plotting and planning, drafting and drifting
  • 10.30-11.30 Characters as Plotters: how consequence, conflict and change drive your story
  • 11.30–11.45 Break
  • 11.45–12.45 Genres and Types: from fairy tales to blockbusters to literary fiction, how narrative forms and conventions shape our stories
  • 12.45–14:00 Lunch: Explore Borough Market
  • 14.00–15.15 Structure and Time in Storytelling: creating focus and tension through complication, surprise, and suspense, plus subplots and the Five R’s of Plotting
  • 15.15–15.30 Break
  • 15.30–16.45 Industry Speaker Q&A: What writers need to know about what happens behind the scenes at a publishing house with Nick Ross, production director at Little, Brown.
  • 16.45–17.00 Final Wrap-up: sharing of resources and informal networking

Coffee, tea and biscuits will be available throughout the day.

Advance reading: I shall refer at times to the plotting of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe, and ‘Brokeback Mountain’ by Annie Proulx (in her collection Close Range), among other texts. Although reading these works is not essential for taking part in the class, they all offer wonderful and engaging stories, and Fingersmith is a masterclass in plotting all by itself.

A couple of weeks before the masterclass, you’ll be sent an email about anything else you might need to prepare for class, so keep an eye on your inboxes.

Industry guest: Nick Ross is the production director of Little, Brown & Company. He’ll talk you through the production schedule from manuscript to finished book, explain some of the commercial decisions made in-house, and answer your questions about what goes on behind the scenes in a publishing house.

Book here for The Craft of Plotting, 29 September 2018.

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The Craft of Voice
A Masterclass on Voice and Narrative Style for Writers
Saturday 24 November, London Bridge Hive
Finding your voice is one of the great myths of creative writing: you have a voice already! In this one-day masterclass we’ll use readings, discussion and practical exercises to harness the instinctive power of our natural speaking voices. By listening to your voice in this way you’ll create a strong and adaptable foundation for narrative style in your writing. During the masterclass you’ll also be given various tools and resources on voice and narrative style to take home with you. We’ll end the day with an informal Q&A with literary agent Jenny Savill, who can answer your questions about agents and getting published.

Provisional schedule for the day:

  • 9.45-10.00 Registration
  • 10.00–10.45: Trusting Your Voice: the art of listening, and putting your natural speaking voice on the page
  • 10.45-11.30: Shifting the Tone: evoking feeling, establishing mood and pace, and layering personality into your writing
  • 11.30–11.45: Break
  • 11.45–12.45: Showing and Telling and Storytelling: scenecraft, visual storytelling, and the role of the narrator
  • 12.45–14:00: Lunch: Explore Borough Market
  • 14.00–15.15: Manners of Speaking: extending the range of your voice – selecting point of view and tense, creating dialogue and subtext, working with idiolects and personas, and thinking about other voices and cultural appropriation
  • 15.15–15.30: Break
  • 15.30–16.45: Industry speaker: Q&A with literary agent, Jenny Savill
  • 16.45–17.00: Final wrap-up: sharing of resources and informal networking

Coffee, tea and biscuits will be available throughout the day.

In advance, please read ‘Brokeback Mountain’ by Annie Proulx (available in her collection Close Range) and ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ by Ernest Hemingway. A couple of weeks before the masterclass itself, you’ll be sent an email with guidelines for anything else you might need to prepare for class (which might include a few other short readings), so keep an eye on your inboxes.

Industry guest: Jenny Savill joined Andrew Nurnberg Associates in 2002 as part time PA to the Managing Director.  At that point she had no idea what a literary agent did.  Sixteen years later, with a successful list of authors under her belt, many of them award-wining, she is a Director of the agency, placing books in the UK and US markets.  She represents children’s and young adult fiction; also literary fiction, commercial and literary women’s fiction, psychological suspense, historical fiction, comic fiction, and narrative non-fiction. High fantasy is not her thing, though she is partial to a story with a slight, speculative thread running through it. She welcomes originality, depth, and the ability to move and surprise in submissions.

Book here for The Craft of Voice, 24 November 2018.