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Creative Writing Flying Start Course

4 weeks

Aimed at:



18th September 2017
7 Places available.
6th November 2017
8 Places available.

Course Overview

Do you long to write but don't know where to begin? Dont worry. If you long to write, you're already halfway there. This is a course which aims to shed light not just on narrative, but on the whole creative process.

Our Creative Writing Flying Start course helps you get those words from head to heart, and onto page or screen. The first few exercises are designed to stimulate creativity and to get you into the writing habit. Above all this is about having fun, about letting your imagination fly.

This fantastic creative writing course, will help you:

  • Lose some inhibitions about going public with your creative work
  • Find out more about the creative process by offering comments on the work of others
  • Learn some techniques for communicating emotion in your writing
  • Practise putting into words your own precise observations of people and places 
  • Have a shot at writing a 1,000 word short story in which you'll be able to put on show all your newly-acquired skills!

We have had some wonderful feedback on this course:

I enjoyed the process of firing up my imagination to a brief. I enjoyed the camaraderie with the other students and I enjoyed reading the feedback on my own pieces and everyone else's. Basically I enjoyed everything about it!   E. Rutherford

I enjoyed most the interaction with the tutor and with other students. The fact that there was a deadline certainly made me focus and enabled me to prioritise writing above some other tasks that would otherwise got in the way. I learnt an awful lot, not only from the notes and video, but also from my and the others’ written work – both the things that worked well and the things that did not quite work. H. Driscoll

This course is an excellent way to ‘test the water’ and discover if you enjoy this wonderful world of writing. I would like it to be at least twice as long!   C. Harrison

Haydn was an excellent tutor. He obviously knows his stuff and he managed to give very constructive criticism. He was never harsh - but did point out clearly what could be improved and how. He came across as enthusiastic and interested  C. Curtis

Course Syllabus

Week 1 - Self

Where does writing begin? Staring at the blank page can be daunting. How do we keep the pen moving across the page? We’ll look at ways to silence the inner-critic and write through the scary part. We begin with ourselves: emotions, memories, experience. How can we feed this into our fiction writing?

Week 2 - Other people

Writing is about people. As writers, we need to understand what makes others tick. A character with a problem or goal to pursue is the starting point of all fiction. How do we create characters readers can believe in? We’ll think about observation: how to watch others with a writer’s eye; the importance of dialogue as a tool of character. We make the imaginative leap from ourselves to others, and see how to blend the two together.

Week 3 - Language (and making it sing)

The English language is a rich one. How can we use it to make our writing shine? In short fiction, especially, every word should count. We look at ways to avoid cliché and lazy writing, and we’ll think about imagery.

Week 4 - Writing the story

Here we look at how character makes plot. What is your character’s motivation? What does he/she want? What’s preventing him/her getting it? We see how this moves the story forward. We’ll also be thinking about story structures, and try writing our own short piece.

Course Tutors

Haydn Middleton

Haydn Middleton( Goodreads page here) has been an author for more than thirty years, and has lectured on and taught creative writing in Britain, the USA, Greece and Australia. His firm belief is that Flying Start's collaborative approach is the best way to encourage new writers to spread their wings. His own seven novels include The People in the Picture (described by Anthony Clockwork Orange Burgess as 'an astonishing fictional debut'), The Lie of The Land (reviewed in the Washington Post as 'a compelling story, brilliantly contrived'), and Grimm's Last Fairytale, which was a British Fantasy Society nomination for Best Novel and was translated into several languages. On the non-fiction front he has written over a hundred books for children on primarily historical subjects, as well as a number of historical and cultural works for British Foreign Office Publications.

Course Feedback

Here's feedback from our course users.

Average Course Rating:
(5 Customer Reviews)
5 Star
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Customer Reviews
Creative Writing Flying Start Course with Haydn Middleton, 6th September 20168th October 2016
By maria jurjevich
It was a true honour and extremely helpful receiving detailed feedback from Haydn (as well as others in the group). Through his unique, keen insightfulness, he was able to pinpoint exact details and elements for me to continue to enhance and develop with the given writing skills submitted and displayed per each and every exercise. Within such a short time during those four weeks, there were so many wonderful aspects that I was exposed to and made aware of, technically and creatively, along with many questions and matters to continually reflect on—it has all been profoundly invaluable. In particular, this fundamental concept and process of writing as communicating to the reader reiterated (rather than a task in and of /for itself…)--this will continue to reverberate with me. I feel this course would be highly valuable for true newbies, curious about creative writing, as well as those who’ve been dabbling in it on some level, or those who are already professional writers in a similar field such as academic writing or journalism but would like to explore her/his imagination and need a professional someone to help them get started, inspired, and nudge them to ‘unleash their imagination’, exercising and honing their ideas and skills.
An excellent push to make my writing a priority3rd December 2016
By Emma Bradley
A four week course was always going to be intense and we certainly hit the ground running. We were challenged to push our boundaries and comfort zones from the start but this was done in a safe environment with considerate feedback from fellow students and our tutor. Other students produced strikingly different pieces of work all within the same guidelines, which was particularly interesting. Giving feedback was possibly as challenging as the writing itself but really made me think about what it is that makes a piece of writing good and what needs to change to improve it, this will help me be a more critical reader and better able to critique my own work as well. As well as providing excellent material and feedback our tutor Hadyn supported and strengthened our group interaction, we were all rooting for one another to do well and that's a nice environment to work in. I have mixed feelings about the course coming to an end, but feel that I have made that all important but extremely difficult first step to becoming a successful writer.
Highly motivating3rd December 2016
By Enrique Climent
It was a great experience, and I mean to take into other writing courses as a result of this one. The tutor, Haydn did an excellent with his comments, very much detailed and encouraging. And it was very motivating to have your own works read by the other fellow students.
Fantastic course - loved it!13th March 2017
By Matthew Gibbons
I really can't speak highly enough of this course! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it utterly engaging from the word 'go'. I eagerly looked forward to each week's exercises and tasks, and really pushed myself to make what I produced as good as possible; it was very motivating, knowing that Haydn and the others on the course would be reading and commenting on my work. I found it fascinating to see how my course-mates interpreted the briefs each week, as a wide variety of styles and subjects would always emerge from what would turn out to be a deceptively simple brief! Finally, I really rated Haydn as a tutor, he was extremely encouraging and communicative, and gave very thoughtful, detailed and considered feedback on each piece I submitted - which I could then take forward to improve my work. A highly valuable experience indeed!
Really useful and worthwhile course5th March 2017
By Louise Lee
I enjoyed exploring my own skills and receiving useful, informative, constructive feedback from the course tutor. But also, sharing my writing for the first time, exposing my work to a like-minded group, a sense of group support, reading the work and subsequent tutor comments of others. I liked that there was a video each week, and not just course notes, as this allowed me to feel closer to the tutor

How our online courses work

Our courses are hosted on our own community site, The Word Cloud, which is a very friendly, intuitive and supportive writing community.

The tools and environment are very intuitive and easy to use: you won't have a problem. Each week, courses will include:

• A video introduction
• A written 'lecture'
• Interactive classroom discussion
• A writing exercise on the week's topic
• Feedback on your homework

All the course material can be accessed at any time of day or night. If you miss a few days, it will be easy to catch up. You are also warmly encouraged to interact with fellow-students - offer advice, give feedback and make friends. Find out more about how our courses work here.