The Weekend Workshops


 We recommend you select a mix of workshops on technique (eg: plotting), on genre (eg: writing for kids), and on the business side of things (eg: one of our "Meet the Industry" panels). Some 'workshops' will be highly interactive; others will be more in the nature of talks. All events will have Q&A opportunities. When you book your place at the Festival, you'll be asked for your workshop preferences. These take place on the Saturday and the Sunday.


Saturday Workshops

Workshop 1 • Saturday 9th Sept, 10.40am - 11.40am


  

1A) Laura Williams - How to Write Blistering Blurb.
The book is done. The one page summary is written. You’ve read all the advice about how to write a good covering letter, and you know that they should include a brief blurb or pitch for your novel, summing up in a paragraph or so what the book is about, and what the hook of the story is. This is the first thing that an agent or editor will see when you submit your work, and is often the most anxiety-inducing and rewritten paragraph of text an author will ever write. In this workshop, we’ll look at examples of cover letter blurbs as well as writing our own, and figure out some common pitfalls to be avoided, and work out how best to catch an agent’s eye. Laura Williams is an agent at Peters Fraser and Dunlop, where she has been working since 2011, after completing a degree in Classics at Oxford. She is currently looking for literary fiction, edgy commercial fiction, psychological thrillers and high-concept contemporary young adult, as well as narrative non-fiction of all types.

1B) Debi Alper - Hearing Voices.
We often hear that voice is the first ingredient an agent – or any other reader, for that matter – looks for in a novel. Whether you're writing in the first or third person, creating an engaging voice (and getting this right for the story) is essential. A good voice could describe a ketchup bottle and be utterly compelling. A voice that doesn’t work could talk about the most powerful events imaginable and the reader simply won’t care. In this workshop, we’ll be analysing the elements of a strong voice and working out ways to ensure the voice leaps from the page in your story. Debi Alper is the author of gritty, funny, contemporary novels with Orion - and a hugely respected tutor and book doctor with the Writers' Workshop.

1C) Sarah Manning - Top tips to hook an agent
The slushpile can feel like a scary place, and with agents receiving as many as 20 to 50 submissions every day there is tough competition to make your submission standout. Whilst there is no magic formula to bagging yourself an agent, there are some very clear and easy tips that can help make sure your manuscript ends up in the right hands. From deciphering who to submit your novel to, to crafting a professional cover letter, make sure you give your book the very best chance of being picked up by the agent of your dreams. There will also be time for a short Q&A. Sarah Manning  represents commercial and accessible literary adult fiction and nonfiction in the area of memoir, lifestyle and narrative nonfiction. She is focusing on building the adult list at the Bent Agency in the UK..

1D) Shelley Harris - Who Dares Wins: How To Take Risks and Supercharge Your Writing
We want so much to ‘get it right’ that sometimes we’re tempted to make very cautious choices in our writing: we follow structural rules, worry about creating ‘likeable’ characters, and make ‘show, don’t tell’ our mantra. After all that effort, it’s an irony that the most exhilarating writing often comes when we let go and give ourselves permission to take risks. In this practical, fun workshop, Shelley will take you through some ways to approach the blank page in a spirit of derring-do. Shelley Harris' debut novel Jubilee was ‘discovered’ at the The Festival of Writing. It has been a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club choice, a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second novel, Vigilante!, follows the story of Jenny, a mother who finds something extraordinary to do in her ordinary life – become a superhero. "Entertainment wrapped round a tense thriller" ~ The Times. "Shelley Harris' writing is witty and beautifully poignant. Vigilante is shocking, empowering and hilariously funny throughout." ~ We Love This Book 

1E) Julie Cohen - Learning Story Structure from Pixar Films
Disney Pixar films are fun. They're also emotional, action-packed, and exquisitely structured. In this workshop Julie will talk about what these films can teach us about three-act structure, narrative economy, motifs, emotional arcs, plot and subplot. If you've ever enjoyed Finding Nemo, Up, or The Incredibles—or been forced to watch them by your kids—you'll learn a lot from this workshop, back by request from last year. Award-winning novelist Julie Cohen writes emotional, character-driven women's fiction novels. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. Her latest paperback is Dear Thing, and her latest hardback is Where love lies, both published by Transworld. Dear Thing is a Richard and Judy 2014 Summer Book Club selection. Julie is also an experienced teacher, recently leading writing courses for the Guardian, Random House, and the V&A Museum.

1F) Harry Bingham - Snow falling on cedars. Sense of place, and the astonishing art of foreshadowing.
In this workshop, we'll talk about how to make your stories imbued with a sense of place and atmosphere . . . and we'll also learn how foreshadowing can turn an ordinary novel into one that's haunting, powerful and enduring. Harry Bingham's work has been published in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Japan and numerous other territories besides. He has been short-and long-listed for major literary awards and his crime fiction has been critically acclaimed worldwide. He is also author of books on How To Write and Getting Published.

1G) Joanne Phillips - Go Your Own Way - A Beginner’s Guide To Self-Publishing
Tired of waiting for those gatekeepers to give you the thumbs up? Or just interested to see what life might look like ‘on the other side’? Self-publishing is going from strength to strength, and offers a viable and exciting alternative to the traditional route. This workshop takes a closer look at how and why to self-pub, and provides you with a wealth of information to take those important next steps! Joanne Phillips is an Amazon bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary mysteries, romantic comedies, and women’s fiction. She has a Masters degree in creative writing and is a high-profile indie author, and a champion of quality in self-publishing.

 


Saturday Workshops

How to Hook an Agent and Get a Book Deal: What's Your Genre?  • Saturday 9th Sept, 11.50 - 12.50


Want to know how to choose an agent? Or write a covering letter or synopsis? Or understand rejection letters? And do you want to know what agents and editors are looking for? Of course you do! So come and ask them.

  • Literary Fiction
  • Reading group Fiction
  • Children's/Young Adult
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Crime/Thriller/Mystery
  • Historical Fiction

 


Saturday Workshops

Workshop 2  • Saturday 9th Sept, 15.10 - 16.10


2A) Hal Duncan - How to Write a Sentence.
Words are the only substance. While it's a given that good prose needs to communicate, good *narrative* prose is about more than communication; it's about conjuring. Your job is not just to convey the basic gist of a sequence of events to the reader, but to invoke that sequence of events vividly in their imagination, from the cumulative import of every word and phrase. Applying six simple principles in hands-on editing of examples, this workshop will show you how to rip your prose apart and put it back together, how to make it vivid and vital, how to pare and hone it, to turn the most leaden purple prose into gold--or steel, at least, solid and sharp and wielded as a precision weapon. Hal has over twenty years critiquing experience as a member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, and a half dozen years writing for a living, mainly fiction and poetry but also a considerable amount of literary criticism and commentary via his regular 'Notes from New Sodom' column for BSC Review. A blend of pulp and postmodernism, his first novel, Vellum, was described by Lucius Shepard as 'the Guernica of genre fiction', and shared awards shortlists with everyone from Neil Gaiman (BFS Award) to Brett Easton Ellis and Haruki Murakami (World Fantasy Award). 

2B) Emma Darwin - Point-of-view and Psychic Distance
Point-of-view possibly gets more writers worried - and there’s certainly more nonsense talked about it - than almost any other basic issue in writing. Learning to use psychic distance (a.k.a. narrative distance) is not just possibly, but probably, the most powerful thing you can do to make your storytelling vivid and dynamic. In this practical workshop we’ll start by discussing why point-of-view matters, and clearing up the many misconceptions about it, and then tackle the magic that is psychic distance. You should leave having tried your hand at the magic yourself, and understanding how it clarifies and simplifies dozens of the fundamental decisions writers must make about voice, narrators, showing-and-telling and paceEmma DarwinEmma Darwin is that rare thing: an acclaimed literary author who's graced the bestseller lists. Her fiction has been shortlisted and longlisted for numerous prizes and sold extensively overseas. Her latest book, Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction, was published by John Murray Learning in March 2016, as part of the famous Teach Yourself imprint.

2C) Ruth Hogan and her agent Laura Macdougall - From Pitch to Publication
From Pitch to Publication. Debut novelist Ruth Hogan and her agent Laura Macdougall offer their perspectives on writing to literary agents, working on your novel, finding a publisher and the journey from sale to worldwide publication. Ruth’s novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was one of the Hot Books of the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair and has since been published in 15 territories around the world. 

2D) Andrew Wille - Showing & Telling & Storytelling
Show, don’t tell – or so we’re instructed. But once upon a time we told stories, didn’t we? In practice, any successful piece of storytelling needs to balance both showing and telling. In this workshop we’ll look at the art and craft of narrating, and discuss the value of creating strong narrators to tell our stories. Andrew was managing editor and then senior editor at Little, Brown UK, acquiring and working on many critically acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Subsequently he has freelanced for many of the industry’s most notable imprints, worked as a book doctor, and taught for Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Falmouth University’s MA in Professional Writing. His own fiction has been published in literary magazines. 

2E) Jon Appleton - LIFE’S A PITCH
You’ve finished your book – you can’t bear to keep it private anymore; it’s time to release it on the mercy of agents and editors. Don’t dash of a submission letter – put as much effort into your pitch as you’ve given to your book. Moreover, don’t think of the pitch as the end of the project. Use your pitch you keep you on the right path while you are planning your book and while writing. Make it work or you as much as for editors and agents. Whatever stage you are at, and whatever you are writing, this practical workshop will help you focus your attention on what it is you really want to achieve with your writing as well as how to persuade professionals to take you seriously. Jon Appleton has had a varied career as an editor of fiction for children and young adults: most recently at Hodder, previously for Orion, A & C Black and Scholastic, with freelance spells in between. Over the years, authors he’s worked with include Jan Mark, Caroline Lawrence and Terry Deary, and he’s a regular speaker at conferences for new writers.  Jon published his first novel, Ready to Love in June 2016. It’s a comedy of modern manners, based around office and family life.

2F) Julie Crisp - How to get an Agent: the dos, the don’ts.
Agents are the new gatekeepers of traditional publishing. Without one it’s much harder to get an editor to take your work seriously. So how do you get one? We look at where to look for an agent. What makes a good agent? What agents look for in authors. How to write a submission letter. And what should you avoid when approaching an agent. Julie Crisp is an editor with over fifteen years’ experience working for three major houses across a broad spectrum of commercial titles within fiction, non-fiction and children’s. Julie's worked on bestselling and award-winning authors such as Ann Cleeves, Peter F. Hamilton, China Miéville, Neal Asher, Amanda Hocking, Naomi Novik and TV/Game partnerships including Halo, The Returned, The Walking Dead and Twin Peaks.

2G) Tamsyn Murray - Never Put Your Giraffe in a Scarf - Dos and don'ts of picture books
Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall but now lives in Hertfordshire with her family. She writes mostly funny books for children of all ages, from picture books (Snug as a Bug, Simon and Schuster) to teen (the Afterlife series, Piccadilly Press). She is currently working on the cringe-along Completely Cassidy series, published by Usborne and featuring disaster-prone Cassidy Bond and her embarrassing family. Tamsyn writes for adults under the pen-name Holly Hepburn and her novella series, The Star and Sixpence, wpublished by Simon and Schuster. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at City University London, teaching their Writing for Children course.

 


Saturday Workshops

Workshop 3  • Saturday 9th Sept, 16.40 - 17.40


 

3A) Sallyanne Sweeney - Best Beginnings.
Sallyanne Sweeney is an agent at MMBCreative. Passionate about working with debut authors, her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is always excited by a distinctive voice, strong storytelling and a fresh premise. After graduating she joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Literary Agent in 2008 and a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013 and is building her list of authors and illustrators for children (picture books to Young Adult) and adults..

3B) CM Taylor - Theme
Theme is what your book is about. Theme is what you as a writer are saying to the reader about life. It is your message. But in many books, theme is flaccid or splintered or opaque. In this workshop we will show methods to first define your theme, then integrate it dramatically into character development and plot, so that each scene and event adds organically to your writerly message. Craig (writing as C M Taylor) is the author of five novels. Premiership Psycho (Corsair 2011) and the Amazon best-selling Group of Death (Corsair 2012) form two thirds of a savagely satirical trilogy about contemporary celebrity culture described as 'Brilliant' by The Sun, and 'Horribly entertaining' by The Mirror. He's also the author of Light, Cloven and Grief, the latter a dystopian fantasy described by British Science Fiction Association as a work of 'breathtaking originality' and nominated for their 2005 Book of the Year.

3C) Carrie Kania - 10 Tips on the Cover Letter: How to Approach an Agent 
Carrie’s a top literary agent representing fiction, non-fiction and photography for Conville & Walsh, she's also co-founder of independent bookstore and cocktail bar, The Society Club in Soho. Prior to coming to London Carrie worked for 15 years at Harper Collins in New York. As Senior Vice President of Harper Perennial, she watched after countless authors, including classics, new writers and notable names such as Michael Chabon, Barbara Kingsolver and Mary Karr. She co-founded It Books, an imprint dedicated to pop-culture, fashion, film, music and celebrity. In the imprint’s first 18 months, It Books boasted 13 New York Times bestsellers, including two #1 titles.

3D) Amanda Saint - Doing the Plotter & Panster Combo
It is tempting when you have an idea for a novel to just set off and start writing from that point. While there is nothing wrong with this, and many books have been written just like that, what I've learned about writing novels is that it really makes the whole process much easier and the book quicker to write if you have an outline in place from the start with a route from the beginning to the end. But within the plotting route there is a room to be a pantser too. I will do a range of exercises that combine the two elements to show writers how to get a loose plan in place while also using the just writing with no idea of where it's going method to get to know their main characters better. Amanda Saint is novelist and short story writer who founded Retreat West, which provides writing retreats, courses and competitions. Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was longlisted for the 2016 Guardian Not the Booker Prize and a Top 10 Book of the Month on Netgalley. Amanda's short stories have appeared in bestselling anthologies, a range of literary magazines and on the longlists of the Fish Flash Fiction Prize and Ink Tears Short Story competition. Amanda is also a freelance features journalist writing about environmental sustainability.

3E) Deborah Install - Writing comedy
Is it hard to write comedy? How do you know something is funny? And what is comedy anyway? This session looks the basics of writing humour, giving insight into the practicalities of writing fiction that has so subjective a tone. It would help if attendees could bring a paragraph or so of published fiction they consider to be funny. Deborah Install has been writing fiction since childhood, submitting her first book to a publisher at the age of eight. Though ‘Sammy the Squirrel’ never saw the light of day the love of writing persisted, leading to a number of jobs, including web journalism at university and her most recent role as copywriter at a design and marketing agency. Deborah’s debut novel – A Robot in the Garden – was discoved at the 2013 Festival of Writing. After reading for Friday Night Live, writer Deborah Install, was approached on the spot by agent Jenny Savill and went on to become the proud owner of a six-figure publishing deal. Described by Alexander McCall Smith as 'A MOST UNUSUAL AND DELIGHTFUL BOOK. DEBORAH INSTALL HAS CREATED A ROBOT TO REMEMBER'.

3F) Kerry Fisher - Characterisation
Want to know how to create characters that your readers will miss when the book is finished? Or how to make the people in your imagination seem so real you feel as though you could bump into them at the school gates, in the pub, at the gym? Kerry Fisher writes character-driven commercial fiction and will talk you through the techniques to make a fictional person resonate with readers. Five years ago Kerry Fisher attended the York Festival of Writing as a delegate. Since then she has self-published her debut novel, which was picked up by Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins, and republished as The School Gate Survival Guide. Her second book, The Island Escape, was a Kindle bestseller, reaching number two in the Amazon charts. Her latest novel, After The Lie, was published by digital only imprint, Bookouture. 

3G) Debbie Taylor - How to write a synopsis (Limited to 10 places)
Debbie Taylor’s foolproof method aims to take the pain out of writing the most difficult page of text a novelist ever has to compose. This is a workshop for writers who have already started or completed a novel. We will be working with your established characters and plotlines to tease out the key features on which to concentrate.  Debbie Taylor is the founder and Editorial Director of Mslexia magazine.  She has written for Oxfam, UNICEF, Anti-Slavery, WHO and others about women and social issues.  Her books include My Children, My Gold (Virago), a travelogue about single mothers, and The Fourth Queen (Penguin), a novel set in a harem in 18th Century Morocco. Her latest novel, Herring Girl (Oneworld), a paranormal historical murder mystery, is out now.

 

 


Sunday Workshops

Workshop 4  • Sunday 10th Sept, 10.10 - 11.10


 

 


4A) Ruth Hogan - Grand Openings
GRAND OPENINGS – The importance of first impressions and opening paragraphs. How to hook agents, publishers and readers from page one of your novel. Ruth Hogan studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths College and then got a 'proper' job. After ten years in a senior local government position, she had a car accident which left her unable to work full-time and convinced her to start writing seriously. In 2012 she was diagnosed with cancer and when chemo kept her up all night she passed the time writing, and the eventual result was The Keeper of Lost Things. "This is the first book I read in 2017 - and if another as good comes along in the next 12 months, I'll eat my special gold reviewing spectacles. Hogan's touching, funny and romantic debut is that rare and precious thing: a real story with brilliant characters... Wonderful stuff" — Daily Mail

4B) Julie Crisp - Social Media: what works to help market your book?
With so many forms of social media we take a look at some of the ways it can help - or hinder - in marketing your book. What makes a good social media profile? What media platforms work well to address your audience? Does a good social media presence really help to sell a book? How much time should you spend on social media? Julie Crisp is an editor with over fifteen years’ experience working for three major houses across a broad spectrum of commercial titles within fiction, non-fiction and children’s. Julie's worked on bestselling and award-winning authors such as Ann Cleeves, Peter F. Hamilton, China Miéville, Neal Asher, Amanda Hocking, Naomi Novik and TV/Game partnerships including Halo, The Returned, The Walking Dead and Twin Peaks. 

4C) Julie Cohen - Make Shit Happen

How do you know if your plot is any good? Or if you’ve even got a plot at all? Award-winning, bestselling novelist Julie Cohen gives practical and plain-spoken tips for slashing backstory, killing darlings, and giving your novel an irresistible, page-turning plot. Award-winning novelist Julie Cohen writes emotional, character-driven women's fiction novels. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. Her latest paperback is Dear Thing, and her latest hardback is Where love lies, both published by Transworld. Dear Thing is a Richard and Judy 2014 Summer Book Club selection. Julie is also an experienced teacher, recently leading writing courses for the Guardian, Random House, and the V&A Museum.

4D) Emma Darwin - Memoir, Life Writing and Biographical Fiction
Is your story based on part of your own or someone else’s life? Are you unsure if you should write it as a novel, or as the new and fascinating form best labelled as creative non-fiction? The latter includes travel-writing and memoir, but also writing based on other people’s lives, and it’s a very exciting, challenging and expanding field. In this practical workshop, we will think about the differences between biographical fiction and creative non-fiction, whether there are rules about either, and where the boundary lies between them. We will then explore different ways of researching and handling your material, and what that means for how you actually write your story. You should take away a clearer idea of the potential of these exciting forms, of your options among them, and what your next steps could be. Emma Darwin is that rare thing: an acclaimed literary author who's graced the bestseller lists. Her fiction has been shortlisted and longlisted for numerous prizes and sold extensively overseas. Her latest book, Get Started in Writing Historical Fiction, was published by John Murray Learning in March 2016, as part of the famous Teach Yourself imprint.

4E) Susan Yearwood - How to Attract an Agent
What are the initial steps to contacting a literary agent? How do you approach the idea of submitting to agent(s), the process and what are the next steps after this? Find out how best to start submitting and what to expect. Susan Yearwood is the sole literary agent at Susan Yearwood Agency (SYA). She has had previous successes with quality fiction and is looking for this and more (popular fiction and non-fiction as well as middle grade and YA).

4F) Harry Bingham - Gratuitous sex & violence
We all love a bit of sex and violence in our novels. But how to avoid cringe-making sex scenes? And how to write scenes of violence that are neither creepy nor puzzling? We'll find out. Please bring swords and sex-toys. Harry Bingham's work has been published in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Japan and numerous other territories besides. He has been short-and long-listed for major literary awards and his crime fiction has been critically acclaimed worldwide. He is also author of books on How To Write and Getting Published. 

4G) Debbie Taylor - How to write a synopsis (Limited to 10 places)
Debbie Taylor’s foolproof method aims to take the pain out of writing the most difficult page of text a novelist ever has to compose. This is a workshop for writers who have already started or completed a novel. We will be working with your established characters and plotlines to tease out the key features on which to concentrate.  Debbie Taylor is the founder and Editorial Director of Mslexia magazine.  She has written for Oxfam, UNICEF, Anti-Slavery, WHO and others about women and social issues.  Her books include My Children, My Gold (Virago), a travelogue about single mothers, and The Fourth Queen (Penguin), a novel set in a harem in 18th Century Morocco. Her latest novel, Herring Girl (Oneworld), a paranormal historical murder mystery, is out now.

  


Sunday Workshops

Workshop 5  • Sunday 10th Sept, 11.40 - 12.40


  

5A) Ben Clark - Letters of Note: How to write a perfect cover letter
Agents can receive hundreds of manuscripts a week and usually the first thing they look at is the covering letter, so how can you make yours stick out from the crowd? What will help you get noticed and what will have your book consigned to the bottom of the pile? What are the small things that start to annoy an agent after they’ve read them 2000 times. We’ll look at some examples of good covering letters, some bad and if we have enough time, critique each other’s. Ben Clark is an agent at LAW where he’s building his list.   Ben loves smart non-fiction, literary speculative fiction, books with a lot of heart and those that cunningly blend genres. His non-fiction tastes are varied but is particularly interested in the areas of philosophy, memoir, technology, science, business and nature writing.  He gets excited when a writer comes at an idea from a bizarre and unexpected angle.


5B) Shelley Harris - The Architecture of Stories: Plot, Structure and the Three-Part List
How do you shape your fiction? What’s the sweet spot between formless prose and a structural straitjacket? How can plotting transform a good story into a great one? This hands-on workshop offers you a number of approaches to plot and structure, from the one-page tool that reveals the dynamic of your story to the supercool stylings of the Russian Formalists (trust me – they’re ace). You'll leave with a range of techniques at your fingertips. Shelley Harris' debut novel Jubilee was ‘discovered’ at the York Writing Festival. It was a Richard and Judy Summer Book Club choice, a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second novel, Vigilante, is out in paperback now. Shelley has taught for Oxford University’s Adult Education department and Faber Academy. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.


5C) Jenny Geras - Traditional vs digital publishing: exploring different models
There are now many ways to get published: by a traditional publisher, a digital publisher or through self-publishing. Bookouture's Publishing Director Jenny Geras will talk through the different models, how they work, the advantages and disadvantages of each for an author and how to get the most out of any publishing deal. Jenny Geras is Publishing Director at Bookouture. Previously, she was Publishing Director at Arrow, the commercial paperback imprint of Cornerstone, where her authors included Dorothy Koomson, Donna Douglas, Debbie Macomber and Emma Kavanagh. Prior to that she was Editorial Director for women's fiction at Pan Macmillan.  .

5D) Andrew Wille -  Rocks and Arrows, Nouns and Verbs
This workshop on style takes a closer look at parts of speech. We’ll pay particular attention to the workings of nouns and verbs, noting how they affect the density and speed of our sentences, and bring texture and movement to voice and mood. This should be helpful for writers who want to sharpen their prose and refine their voice. Andrew was managing editor and then senior editor at Little, Brown UK, acquiring and working on many critically acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Subsequently he has freelanced for many of the industry’s most notable imprints, worked as a book doctor, and taught for Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Falmouth University’s MA in Professional Writing. His own fiction has been published in literary magazines.

5E) Amanda Saint - Creating Complex Characters
Creating characters that your readers never forget means you have to know them really well. But they don't always tell you everything so how can you make sure you know what's going on in their minds? Discover how you can use writing exercises combined with psychology to find out who your characters really are.  Amanda Saint is novelist and short story writer who founded Retreat West, which provides writing retreats, courses and competitions. Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was longlisted for the 2016 Guardian Not the Booker Prize and a Top 10 Book of the Month on Netgalley. Amanda's short stories have appeared in bestselling anthologies, a range of literary magazines and on the longlists of the Fish Flash Fiction Prize and Ink Tears Short Story competition. Amanda is also a freelance features journalist writing about environmental sustainability. 

5F) Tamsyn Murray - Steve Carell's Show Not Tell - What one actor can teach us about writing for Middle Grade & YA
Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall but now lives in Hertfordshire with her family. She writes mostly funny books for children of all ages, from picture books (Snug as a Bug, Simon and Schuster) to teen (the Afterlife series, Piccadilly Press). She is currently working on the cringe-along Completely Cassidy series, published by Usborne and featuring disaster-prone Cassidy Bond and her embarrassing family. Tamsyn writes for adults under the pen-name Holly Hepburn and her novella series, The Star and Sixpence, wpublished by Simon and Schuster. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at City University London, teaching their Writing for Children course.

 

  


Sunday Workshops

Workshop 6  • Sunday 10th Sept, 14.00 - 15.00


 

6A) Debi Alper - Facing the Fear
Ever been beset by Doubt Demons? Those evil whispers that tell you that you can’t write and have no hope of anyone ever wanting to read your stories? Of course you have. It goes with the territory and even the most successful authors have their own demons. So how do you deal with them and prevent them from paralysing you? In this interactive workshop, we’ll be calling out the most common fears and coming up with strategies to kick them in the teeth. Debi Alper is the author of gritty, funny, contemporary novels with Orion - and a hugely respected tutor and book doctor with the Writers' Workshop.

6B) C.M Taylor - Common Mistakes
Having written almost two hundred editorial reports on novels in progress, I have seen the same costly errors crop up again and again with fictional works in progress. Join me as I rattle through the most common, costly errors to save you having to make them. Craig (writing as C M Taylor) is the author of five novels. Premiership Psycho (Corsair 2011) and the Amazon best-selling Group of Death (Corsair 2012) form two thirds of a savagely satirical trilogy about contemporary celebrity culture described as 'Brilliant' by The Sun, and 'Horribly entertaining' by The Mirror. He's also the author of Light, Cloven and Grief, the latter a dystopian fantasy described by British Science Fiction Association as a work of 'breathtaking originality' and nominated for their 2005 Book of the Year.

6C) Deborah Install - Sidekicks and second tiers
You put a lot of work into your characters, but what about your support characters? This session looks at the many uses of sidekicks, second tier and minor characters, and how to both create them and develop them, so they shine as brightly as your protagonists. Deborah Install has been writing fiction since childhood, submitting her first book to a publisher at the age of eight. Though ‘Sammy the Squirrel’ never saw the light of day the love of writing persisted, leading to a number of jobs, including web journalism at university and her most recent role as copywriter at a design and marketing agency. Deborah’s debut novel – A Robot in the Garden – was discoved at the 2013 Festival of Writing. After reading for Friday Night Live, writer Deborah Install, was approached on the spot by agent Jenny Savill and went on to become the proud owner of a six-figure publishing deal. Described by Alexander McCall Smith as 'A MOST UNUSUAL AND DELIGHTFUL BOOK. DEBORAH INSTALL HAS CREATED A ROBOT TO REMEMBER'.

6D) Hal Duncan - The Fatal Flaws of Action 
Action: high octane or low key, in epic conflict or quiet drama, action is your story's flesh. If it's a dull slog or desultory sketch, an aimless digression or daft contrivance, action that falters will kill your story dead. At worst, there will *be* no story, no setting or character, no conjuring in your reader's head, just the author's drone reciting a pointless, plotless litany of events. Here then, we'll look at four basic principles and attendant pitfalls. We'll look at skimwriting and deposition, faffing and fudging, kit you out with broad ideas, tells and tips, a conceptual arsenal to hunt down these fatal flaws of action and save your story from their deathly grip. Hal Duncan has over twenty years critiquing experience as a member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, and a half dozen years writing for a living, mainly fiction and poetry but also a considerable amount of literary criticism and commentary via his regular 'Notes from New Sodom' column for BSC Review. A blend of pulp and postmodernism, his first novel, Vellum, was described by Lucius Shepard as 'the Guernica of genre fiction', and shared awards shortlists with everyone from Neil Gaiman (BFS Award) to Brett Easton Ellis and Haruki Murakami (World Fantasy Award).

6E) Carrie Plitt - Perfecting your pitch.
You’ve probably heard agents and editors talk about the importance of an intriguing ‘elevator pitch’, but what do they really mean? How do you write a good one? In this seminar, we’ll be looking at examples of successful pitches and you’ll be given some tried and tested tips on how to improve your own. This will be followed by a chance to read your pitch to the audience. If you’d like to participate, it might be helpful to bring a pitch prepared of no more than 3-5 sentences, though you will also have a chance to work on it during the workshop. Carrie Plitt is a literary agent at Felicity Bryan Associates where she is building a list of award-winning non-fiction and fiction with a focus on literary and upmarket commercial titles. Prior to joining FBA, she worked as a junior agent at the literary agency Conville & Walsh Ltd and in the rights department at Penguin Books. She also hosts a monthly books talk show and podcast on NTS Radio called Literary Friction.

 6F) Joanne Phillips - Marketing Essentials for Authors

Getting your book in front of readers is arguably as important as writing the thing in the first place - and no longer can you rely on a publisher’s marketing department to do it for you. Publishers love marketing-savvy writers, and readers expect you to be accessible in the age of social media. This course is for published and unpublished authors, and will show you the best methods of marketing brand YOU and selling those books or landing that publishing deal. Joanne Phillips is an Amazon bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary mysteries, romantic comedies, and women’s fiction. She has a Masters degree in creative writing and is a high-profile indie author, and a champion of quality in self-publishing.

 

Speakers / talks are subject to change, but we do aim to replace like with like - or (if you prefer) rebook you for a different event.