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Northamptonshire Writing Courses

May 2014 torso*** NEW SATURDAY COURSES
FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2014/15
(run at various venues around Northamptonshire):
Poetry for Beginners
Crime Fiction for Beginners
Chick-lit & Women’s Fiction for Beginners
Editing Your Fiction ***

I currently teach eleven different topics for Northamptonshire County Council’s Adult Learning Department at various venues around Northamptonshire, England.

If you are local (or are not but can’t get to them) and are interested, do email me. The courses are listed below (and I shall be running them online from late spring 2015). I have been teaching writing groups around Northampton since 2005 so it’s especially exciting to bring my skills to a wider audience.

The Saturday courses are one-offs (creative writing and I.T.) but the others (creative writing) are 10-weekers, starting from the dates shown below. The main difference between a one-off and 10-week course is that you will create a larger body of work over the 10-week period (at least ten new pieces / starts per course) rather than two or three than on a one-day (creative writing only), as well as receiving feedback on up to 1,000 words a week on the 10-week courses… so that’s up to 10,000 words!

You can book the forthcoming courses* via NCC’s website: here for the creative writing courses and here for the IT courses+. The 10-week courses (10 x 2 hours) are currently £95 and the one-day Saturday courses (6-hour) are currently £32 (slightly more, around £44, where food is provided), bookable via the Council’s website (links also on each course title in the tables below). There are remitted fees for unemployed etc. and these run at £14 and £7.70  (more where food is provided) respectively.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a maximum places of 16 for the creative writing and 12 for the IT courses with a minimum number of students (five) required for each course to run, with the decision (by NCC) made two weeks before the course starts, so please do book early. If you have any queries before booking, please do email me.

I have been writing (and studying) for eight years, have written 400+ short stories (mostly flash fiction), seven novels (will be doing my eighth this November for NaNoWriMo), some poetry and non-fiction writing-related articles. See Morgen With An ‘E’ and Books: mine for more details. I am also a freelance editor.

The courses, venues and dates are below but first a little about each course (these are based on the six-hour Saturday courses, so the ten-week courses will vary, especially upon the needs of the class, with part tuition, part reading and feedback, and I will be setting homework between each two-hour session). Every course I run will have handouts so you wouldn’t spend time worrying that you’ll miss something or get distracted writing every word down. So, without further ado, here are the details:

  • Creative Writing – Ideas & Inspiration*: Ideas: avoid writer’s block by learning a variety of ways for creating new ideas. Implement those ideas into your writing. Various exercises using handouts, interactive games etc. Writing tips, advice on editing etc. Produce a short piece in a style and form of the student’s choosing. Review own work and that of others with a critical eye. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Advice of ongoing support including online and in-person writing groups.
    This will be repeated (as one-day courses) in the 2014/2015 academic year from 10th January 2015 (details and booking links in the grid below)).
  • Creative Writing – Beginners*: Identify different writing styles, techniques, genres and forms; including novels, short stories, flash fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, monologues, dialogues, and non-fiction. Writing tips, advice on editing etc. Produce a short piece in a style and form of the student’s choosing. Review own work and that of others with a critical eye. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Advice of ongoing support including online and in-person writing groups.
    This course will run (as 10-week and one-day courses) in the 2014/2015 academic year from 22nd September 2014 (SOLD OUT) and 28th February 2015 respectively (details and booking links in the grid below).
  • Creative Writing – Intermediate*: Develop new (and existing if appropriate) prose works-in-progress and writing techniques (grammar, punctuation, dialogue, description, narrative drive etc). Discuss other areas of fiction pursued or aspired to. Writing tips, advice on editing etc. Review own work and that of others with a critical eye. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Advice of ongoing support including online and in-person writing groups.  In summary, the intermediate will cover various formats (novels, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, scriptwriting), depending upon the requirements of the group, with a mixture of writing-on-the-spot, tuition and in-class feedback. Although some of the topics will be the same as the beginners course, we use different prompts and examples, especially where there are students who attend both courses.
    This course will run (as 10-week and one-day courses) in the 2014/2015 academic year from 7th January 2015 and 28th March 2015 respectively (details and booking links in the grid below).
  • Short Stories – Inspiration & Creation*: Identify the elements needed to create a good short story or piece of flash fiction. Utilise different strategies for sparking inspiration to write stories. Write a story or flash fiction utilising plot and characters. Learn how to edit a story so that it says what you really want it to say. Writing tips, advice on editing etc. Review own work and that of others with a critical eye. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Advice of ongoing support including online and in-person writing groups. The aim of the 10-week course is to write a new short story each week so enough for a collection with feedback during the sessions, improving the writing as the weeks progress.
    This course will run as 10-week and one-day courses in the 2015/6 academic year (details and booking links will be below when available).
  • Plan & Write a Novel*: Identify different writing styles, techniques, genres and forms. Produce a synopsis, book jacket blurb and tagline for your novel. Discussion of planning / plotting your novel. Look at beginnings, middles (and how to avoid a saggy one!) and endings. Software used to write a novel and other helpful aids. Write the beginning of your novel and discuss its impact (one day course) or write the first draft (10-week course). Review own work and that of others with a critical eye. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Advice of ongoing support including online and in-person writing groups. In summary, the novel course will be concentrating on that format of fiction writing only, from planning to writing; the opening on the one-day course or potentially the first draft of the whole novel on the 10-week course.
    This course will be repeated as a 10-week only in the 2014/2015 academic year from 12th January 2015 (currently just 7 places remaining) and 29th April 2015 respectively (details and booking links in the grid below).
  • Blogging for Beginners*: An overview of some of the available blog sites including WordPress, Blogger / Blogspot, Weebly, Google Sites, Tumblr – free and payable options. Identify different blogging techniques (finding the right site for you) and applying content within the social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc). Design your site, create new posts / website pages, and answer reader comments.
    This course will run as a one-day course (tuition alongside practice) in the 2014/2015 academic year from 21st February 2015 (details and booking links in the grid below).
  • eBooking for Beginners*: Design your eBook text format and cover. Learn how to upload your eBook on to Amazon and Smashwords (including iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader). Price and promote your eBook including Amazon’s KDP Select Program and on the social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc). Tax issues for UK-based authors. Options for self-publishing your book in paperback format.
    This course will run as a one-day course in the 2014/2015 academic year from 7th February 2015 (details and booking links in the grid below).

*Then, in addition to the first seven courses listed above, there will be four new Saturday courses running in the next academic year from September 2014 to July 2015:

  • Writing Chick-lit & Women’s Fiction*: To assist learners (students) interested in writing the genre of women’s fiction, encouraging learners to produce their own pieces. Identify genres of women’s fiction (inc romance, erotica, historical, contemporary, hen-lit etc.). Utilise different strategies for sparking inspiration to write women’s fiction. Identify the elements needed to plan and create a piece of flash fiction, longer short story or novel. Write a short piece utilising characters, dialogue, plot and setting. Learn how to edit a story so that it says what you really want it to say. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Taught through tutorial and exercises, with an emphasis on learners tapping into their own creativity. Group work and discussion encouraged. Handouts distributed.
    We will be looking at established chick-lit and women’s fiction (historical and contemporary), types of heroes and heroines, writing strong female primary and secondary characters, Mills & Boon and Fifty Shades of Grey, using humour in your romance writing, romance vs erotica, levels of conflict, beginnings and endings, target readerships etc.
    This course will run as a one-day (Saturday) course in the 2014/15 academic year starting 24th January 2015 (details and booking links in the grid below).
  • Writing Crime Fiction for Beginners*: To assist learners interested in writing the genre of crime fiction, encouraging learners to produce their own pieces. Differentiate between crime, thriller, mystery and suspense genres. Utilise different strategies for sparking inspiration to write crime stories. Identify the elements needed to plan and create a piece of crime flash fiction, longer short story or novel. Identify crime story beginnings and varieties of endings. Write a short piece utilising characters, dialogue, plot and setting. Learn how to edit a story so that it says what you really want it to say. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Taught through tutorial and exercises, with an emphasis on learners tapping into their own creativity. Group work and discussion encouraged. Handouts distributed.
    We will be looking at established crime writing and techniques for writing crime e.g. pacing and suspense, consistency, convincing plots / outcomes, beginnings and endings, clues, police vs criminals, research inc. forensics, true crime etc.
    This course will run as a one-day (Saturday) course in the 2014/15 academic year starting 17th January 2015 (details and booking links in the grid below).
  • Editing Your Fiction*: To assist learners who have written fiction in editing their pieces to a submission standard. Identify the elements needed to fine-tune flash fiction, short stories or novels. Edit a previously-written piece so that it says what you really want it to say. Write a short piece utilising characters, dialogue, plot and setting, then edit it (group participation). What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Taught through tutorial and exercises, with an emphasis on learners tapping into their own creativity. Group work and discussion encouraged. Handouts distributed.
    This course will run as a one-day (Saturday) course in the 2014/15 academic year starting 14th March 2015 (details and booking links in the grid below).
  • Poetry for Beginners*: To assist learners interested in writing short pieces of poetry, encouraging learners to produce their own pieces. Differentiate between forms of poetry including rhyming, free verse and prose poems. Utilise different strategies for sparking inspiration to write poetry.  Write short pieces utilising strict forms of poetry. Learn how to edit a poem so that it says what you really want it to say. What to do next; publication, competitions etc. Taught through tutorial and exercises, with an emphasis on learners tapping into their own creativity. Group work and discussion encouraged. Handouts distributed.
    This course will run as a one-day (Saturday) course in the 2014/15 academic year starting 31st January 2015 (details and booking links in the grid below).

***

All courses are taught with a practical approach encouraging learners (students) to take notes, practice new skills, ask questions and explore the topic. Group work and discussion encouraged. Handouts distributed. If you have any queries or need more information, please complete the form below (then below that is a breakdown of what I’m teaching when).

And now for the venues and dates. Booking links for later courses will be added as soon as they are available.

***

2014 / 2015 Courses in Date Order
(booking links added when available):
NB. Mon / Wed are ten-week evening sessions, Sat are one-off one-day courses.
Do email me for specific venue details.

Course Title Date Day Start Finish Town
C/W Intermediate 07/01/2015 Wed 19:00 21:00 Northampton
Ideas & Inspiration 10/01/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Wellingborough
Plan/Write a Novel 12/01/2015 Mon 19:00 21:00 Northampton
Crime Fiction 17/01/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Northampton
Chick-lit & Women’s 24/01/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Northampton
Poetry – Beginners 31/01/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Northampton
EBooking 07/02/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Northampton
Blogging 21/02/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Northampton
C/W Beginners 28/02/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Brackley
Editing Your Fiction 14/03/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Daventry
Short Stories 21/03/2015 tbc Sat 10:00 16:00 Kettering
C/W Intermediate 28/03/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Wellingborough
C/W Beginners 27/04/2015 Mon 19:00 21:00 Northampton
Plan/Write a Novel 29/04/2015 Wed 19:00 21:00 Northampton
Ideas & Inspiration 09/05/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Oundle
Crime Fiction 16/05/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Greens Norton
Chick-lit & Women’s 30/05/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Kettering
Poetry – Beginners 06/06/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Daventry
EBooking 13/06/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Northampton
Blogging 20/06/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Northampton
C/W Beginners 27/06/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Kettering
Editing Your Fiction 04/07/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Wellingborough
Short Stories 11/07/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Brackley
C/W Intermediate 18/07/2015 Sat 10:00 16:00 Corby

Do email me if you have any queries or need more information.

 

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