The Workshops

Five Candles: Comedy Sketch Writing

with Mark Keegan

Duration: 2 hours

Mark will begin by giving an overview of sketch writing after which he will set a sketch writing exercise (this can be done if pairs if delegates prefer.)
Elements covered within the workshop will include:

  • What makes a good sketch?
  • Consideration of key elements.
  • How to create a sketch structure.
  • Location and Character.
  • Set-ups and punchlines.

How to Write a Killer Opening

with Erin Kelly

Duration: 2 hours

How to Write A Killer Opening will give you all the tools you need to make sure the first few pages of your book grip the reader. Erin will look at how to create a vivid scene, ask all the right questions and let the reader know what kind of ride they’re in for. We’ll look at current bestsellers to see what they did right – and Erin will teach you how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

Singing Narratives

with BK Duncan (Ruth Wade)

Duration: 2 hours

Writers write because we have something to say. But how do we ensure our characters also speak in authentic and distinctive voices? Good dialogue is tricky to pull off, but an essential skill to master if our readers are to fully inhabit the characters we work so hard to bring to life. Come and learn some tips and techniques, and a have a go at crafting dialogue that will make your narrative sing.

Creating High Concepts

with Lucy V Hay

Duration: 2 hours

Bang2write's Lucy V Hay, a script editor and author, shares her secrets for identifying an unforgettable concept and a killer concept in this hands-on workshop that identifies what makes a good idea for a story. Make sure you bring a pen and paper as we'll be putting your favourite movies and TV shows under the microscope! By the end of this workshop, you'll have crafted your own great idea for a story.

Creating Picture Book Text

with Lou Treleavan

Duration: 2 hours

Nail that picture book text with Lou Treleaven's ten tips for picture book success, including how to create engaging characters, a plot and a character journey all in less than 30 pages. Get inspired and create some draft outlines to test on the group before taking home to develop. Bring pen, paper and your favourite picture book.

Writing Ghost Stories

with AK Benedict

Duration: 2 hours

An exciting two-hour workshop delving into the history of the ghost story and the process of writing your own haunting stories. Looking at the structure of unsettling tales and considering how to use language to create lasting chills in the reader. Arrive with a copy of your favourite ghost story and leave with the stirrings of your very own.

Writing it Real - The Practicalities of Fiction

with Liesel Schwarz

Duration: 1 hour

For most readers, it is the little things that will make a story. As a writer, if you get it right, the prose will leap to life, but get it wrong and you will face angry emails from readers. From horses to guns, to potions and lavatories, this workshop is packed full of fascinating facts and practical titbits that will help you get it right.

Convincing Characters

with Toby Frost

Duration: 1 hour

What makes a character convincing? How do you go about creating characters that suit the world they inhabit - and who are changed by it? In this workshop Toby Frost looks at the ways in which characters can be designed, how they can be made to fit their surroundings, and how the setting both shapes and is changed by them.

Recreating the Past

with Emma Darwin

Duration: 1 hour

How do you root your fiction in history without getting stuck in the mud? How do you tell a compelling story when you have to look everything up? In this practical workshop we will explore the business of finding, imagining and writing stories set in the past. You should leave with a clearer sense of the riches and challenges of this exciting genre, and with some tools and strategies for making the most of them.

POV and Psychic Distance

with Debi Alper

Duration: 1 hour

Novels are the only narrative form that can go deep inside fictional characters' heads and see the world through their eyes. Sometimes you may want the reader to share your protagonist’s perceptions and fully empathise with them. At other times, you might choose to be more remote and objective. This session will show you how to manipulate your reader's engagement with your characters by distinguishing between a POV voice and a narrator's voice and deciding to what extent a character's voice should colour the prose. The workshop will also help with creating convincing characters and understanding the crucial difference between showing and telling.

Editing Your Writing

with Morgen Bailey

Duration: 1 hour

Editing isn’t just about chopping the dull bits. Editing is where you, and others, not only bring your writing to life but make it shine. Learn from this one-hour workshop what to keep, that it’s OK to ‘kill your darlings’, edit / rewrite a piece of flash fiction, and, from a checklist, improve your writing ongoing.

Flash Fiction: or how to give a reader the most story with the least words

with Lesley Mace

Duration: 1 hour

A workshop full of hints and tips on how to condense your fiction. It is imperative to hit the word limit requested by a particular competition or market and flashes often need a word-by-word edit to manage this. To help you with this, Lesley will be looking at filler words, which can so often be cut without changing the story you’ve written.

And with many flash fictions of her own published, Lesley can also suggest places for you to submit your writing. This workshop will give you inside information on the kind of writing a particular market might be looking for and there’ll be a fact-sheet to take away, with markets for you to try. By the end of the workshop, even if you’ve never submitted a story before, you’ll almost certainly have the confidence to give it a try.