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Past events, talks and workshops.

Festival of Writing, University of York

September 7-9 2018

Intensive Character Workshop: 3-hour course covering the essential ingredients that make readers engage with characters in fiction. An exploration, through hands-on exercises and discussion, of ways to build 3-dimensional, interesting characters who feel real.

Workshop: Fixing Problem Characters: an exploration of the reasons characters can seem to get stuck, or fail to come to life on the page. Tips and exercises to bring reluctant characters to life.

Workshop: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: a look at of the inherent difficulties of writing fiction, and the reasons we can become blocked. An exploration of some of the ways we can overcome these blocks.

More information and booking on the Jericho Writers website.

Masterclass: Principles of Style and Structure.

May 24th 2018 6.30pm

University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, London W1

Lecture: "Principles of Style for novelists" and book surgery Q & A. What is style and how do we develop it? We look at some of the rules and principles of prose style, and look at some of the tricky areas that tend to catch writers out, as well as exploring the more intangible aspcet of style in which it is the expression of the author's essence: a unique voice.

Masterclass: Build a Book.

February 15th 2018 6.30pm

University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, London W1

Lecture "Getting your story premise right" and book surgery discussion. This lecture will look at the central importance for the success of your novel of getting the basic story premise strong enough, and how to go about it. When a novel fails it is just about always because the central premise is not right. I find, in more than 90% of the manuscripts I edit, the story premise is simply not well enough constructed to make the novel a good read. A strong story premise is an absolute sine qua non of successful novel writing. It is the backbone of every novel and, if it's not strong, it simply won't stand up. Find out how to make sure yours is working properly and fix it if it isn't.

Author Jessica Ruston will also be lecturing on building story structure.

Learn to Write Day, Regent's College, London

October 27th 2018

Lecture, jointly with novelist Allie Spencer: How to plot a novel.

Lecture: What blocks us.

I will also be participating in a panel discussion and Q&A session.

Course: Writing Your First Novel, West Dean College, Chichester

January 18th-20th 2019

Intensive weekend course for anyone who is writing a novel, from beginners just starting out (or not even begun) to those who have been writing for years and wish to hone their skills to ready their work for publication. The course will cover all the essentials of novel-writing, including plotting and characterisation, structure and storytelling, style and voice, as well as looking at getting published.

More details and booking on the West Dean website.

Course: How to self-edit your novel: revising and rewriting fiction

May 24th-26th 2019

West Dean College, Chichester

Great rewriting skills are perhaps the most vital tool a writer can possess. During this weekend course we will go through each stage of how to edit a manuscript. We will explore how to identify and correct holes in the story and structure of your novel, how to make sure the pace and point of view are working properly, and how we can fix aspects of characters that may not be fully developed. We will also look at how to edit our own prose style to a high standard. The tutor will describe each of these areas in detail, and provide examples for discussion and practice so you can try out the different editing techniques for yourself. You will also be encouraged to share problems and examples from your own work-in-progress, although this is entirely optional.