Silver, Gold, and Some Hard Cash

gold thingsWe’ve got a silver-themed contest with a looming deadline; six new themes for Issue 8: The Gold Issue; and an increase in our cash prizes.

There’s still one last chance to be part of The A3 Review‘s Issue 7, The Silver Issue. This month’s theme is SILVER THINGS, so make sure to get your sparkly work in by Saturday the 26th August. Click here for glittery inspiration and to submit. The issue will also include a story by guest flash-fiction writer Kathy Fish alongside the winners of the last 5 months of contests, and this month’s winners, too.

In other news… The A3 Review‘s founding editor, Shaun Levin, is launching a new online writing course, How to Map Your Book. The course is suitable for writers at all stages of a book project, so if you’re putting together a collection of short stories, you might want to check out the details here.  There’s an early-bird rate for bookings up until the 20th August.

Do please spread the word about our new themes for Issue 8: The Gold Issue. Naked and Nude, Windows, and Betrayal are just some of the dramatic themes coming up! And, because our submission numbers are up, we’re able to increase the prize money from this issue. Click here for inspiration and more details.

Play With Words

Words are meant to be fun!

Join us at this creative writing workshop for adults; a space in which to explore storytelling, learn new techniques, stimulate ideas, channel your creativity – and put some words on paper. Open to all levels and experience, the session will include exercises, prompts, activities and discussion to help get your imagination and pens flowing. After the session you’ll have plenty of sparks to form the beginnings of some short stories – and longer ones!

Date & Time Wednesday 31st May 7-9pm

Location Happy & Glorious, 47 High St, Cranbrook TN17 3EE

Cost £25 per person or two tickets for £35 – price includes a glass of wine/tea and coffee and nibbles.

Tickets are available here.

Francesca Baker is a word lover, book geek, literary enthusiast… Armed with pencils, coffee, headphones and a spring in her step, she likes to explore and scribble her way through life. Find out more at her website and follow her in a legal way on Twitter here

Seven Days of Story Inspiration from Writers’ HQ

writers' hq seven ideas in seven days online writing course

SEVEN IDEAS IN SEVEN DAYS – 1 WEEK ONLINE WRITING COURSE – STARTS 5th JUNE (£20)

Learn how to see, hear and think like a writer with Writers’ HQ’s 5-star online creative writing course, Seven Ideas in Seven Days.  Designed to fit around every day life and a busy schedule wherever you are in the world, we’ll give you techniques and exercises for generating ideas and turning them into usable outlines for brilliant stories.

If you’ve ever sat down with good intentions to write a short story but find your brain (and the page) utterly blank, then this is the writing course for you. Ideas are the bedrock of story writing. Sometimes they come thick and fast, and sometimes they seem to languish in the dank cellar of your subconscious and refuse to come out to play. Seven Ideas in Seven Days will help you to turn into an idea-generating machine using inspiring exercises, forum discussions, writing prompts, feedback and support.

Over the course of the week, we’ll teach your brain to germinate those idea-seeds. (Seedy ideas? Something like that.) We’ll give you techniques to spot ideas in both the fantastic and the mundane, exercises to encourage them to grow and bloom, ways to record them for when you need them, and generally help you get into the habit of THINKING.

By the end you will have: seven ideas that can be grown into fully fledged stories, or inserted into existing stories to make them even better. Book your place HERE!

WHAT YOU GET

  • Seven ideas that you can use, grow, nurture, or throw on the floor in frustration (then pick up again and hope no one saw)
  • Daily inspiration, whip-cracking, writing exercises and prompts
  • Top tips from tip-top authors
  • A private student forum to discuss ideas, techniques and get advice from your tutors and fellow writers
  • Dedicated support by email from your fantastic tutors
  • Feedback and writerly conversation from the LOVELY social media community of Writers HQers

STARTS MONDAY 5th JUNE (and costs just £20!) – BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW!

Still not convinced? Check out just a few of the 5-star reviews from previous students:

“More ideas than you can shake an inspiration stick at! Fab exercises for toning up your idea muscles. A fun, inspiring week.”

“Super splendid idea generating joy! I’d been feeling like I’d lost the ability to generate ideas but this course gave me my confidence back. You’ll get the chance to play around with some really fun exercises and just see what happens! I got at least seven really decent ideas to develop further. It’s great value for money and will really give you a great big creative kick. Five gold stars from me!”

“A mysterious benefactor gives you a task a day and – shazam! – by the end of the week you’re a-fizzing with ideas. Tis witchcraft. Do it.”

“Inspiring! A really varied crash course in ideas generation. It was great sharing the course with a small group of fellow students and Sarah is a wonderful course leader. I’ll definitely use the ideas I came up with and the techniques I learned in my writing. Five gold stars!”

” Just a fab way to work. Really enjoyed myself and discovered so many aspects of the writing process I didn’t know or ignored. They throw you in at the deep end but best way to question your process and the way you work. We are so easily stuck in a rut. And this course is a real encouragement to define a box and then think outside it.”

Folk Tales in New Fiction – 1-day workshop

Sara Maitland wrote that folk tales speak deeply to us because they are ‘filled with the reverberations of everyone’s dreams’. On this course, we will explore the different ways in which we can harness the strange power of folk tales in our writing.

Folk tales have long been borrowed by writers, from Charles Perrault’s first ‘literary fairy tales’ in Mother Goose, to Angela Carter’s subversive and riotous remixes in The Bloody Chamber, to Lucy Wood’s Cornish folklore-infused Diving Belles.

Such writers have engaged with folk tales in myriad ways, from full-blown rewrites, to weaving in recognisable characters and symbols, to using tales as jumping off points for completely new work.

As well as exploring folk tales themselves, we’ll look at a range of published fiction that demonstrates this range of approaches. This might include short stories from writers such as Angela Carter, Marina Warner, Sara Maitland, Donald Barthelme, Joyce Carol Oates, Kirsty Logan, Lucy Wood and more.

We will try out these methods for ourselves, using folk tales, themes, characters and objects in writing exercises throughout the day.

If you have a favourite folk tale, or folk-tale inspired short story or novel, please feel free to bring it along to discuss.

This course is aimed at new or established writers, who are either already experimenting with using folk tales in their writing, or who would like to learn about this approach for the first time.

This one-day workshop will be led by London Lit Lab’s Zoe Gilbert, who is currently completing a Creative Writing PhD on folk tales in new short fiction. Her own book of folk tale-inspired stories will be published by Bloomsbury in early 2018. You can read her award-winning stories online here and here.

Course fee: £99 early bird bookings. £129 full fee.

Date and time: 20th May 2017, 10am-4pm (please arrive 15 mins early)

Location: Clapton Laundry, London, E5 8DJ – a luxurious, inspiring space in East London, where lunch will also be provided. For more info, look here.

Places are limited to 12. To reserve yours, or for more information, please contact us at info@londonlitlab.co.uk. Find out more about London Lit Lab here.

Try a FREE taster of the Writers’ HQ Short Story course!

The next round of Writers’ HQ’s 6-week online Writing Short Fiction course starts on the 20th of March but you can try out a FREE taster week HERE!

writing-short-fiction

Writing Short Fiction

6 Week Online Course from Writers’ HQ

Starts 20th March, £140 (Get 10% off when you use promo code SHORTSTOPS10 before the 12th of March!)

Short stories aren’t just easier versions of the novel. They’re a broad, complex and rewarding art form in their own right. Writers’ HQ’s new online writing short story course will help you see the bigger picture and compress it into short stories with real punch.

Short stories have been here since the dawn of time. Based in the oral tradition (stop sniggering at the back), they’re the apocryphal family legends our grandmas/weird uncle used to tell us over Christmas dinner; they’re the school-yard urban myths; the sleepover ghost stories; the soliloquies in our diaries; the wine-soaked rants to that random person you cornered in the kitchen at that party after so-and-so dumped you. Short stories are all around us. <cue X-Files theme>

But super short stories are not super easy for writers, natch. In fact, the shorter your story becomes, the harder it is to distil what really matters onto the page. I would have written a shorter letter, so the famous quote goes, but I didn’t have the time.

So what makes truly great short fiction? The kind that leaves you dribbling, slack-jawed, slap-faced when you finish it. The kind you remember forever, like some weird dream-memory. Well. We can’t write it for you, but we can give you a nudge, a shove, and a poke with a sharp stick (whatever floats your boat) to help you on your way. With the help of writing prompts, advice from award-winning short fiction writers, inspiring exercises, and our awesome little online community, you’ll come out the other side at least one fully formed short story to call your very own.

TRY OUT A FREEBIE WEEK HERE AND BOOK YOUR PLACE! (Don’t forget to use promo code SHORTSTOPS10 to get 10% off when you book before 12th March.)

rebecca-makkai-1

Write and Edit a Short Story in a Weekend

This two-day course (8th-9th April) from London Lit Lab is designed to get you both writing and editing, by combining dedicated creative time with an intensive tour through ways to improve your draft.

On day one, we’ll kick off by exploring ways to turn our ideas into full stories, from getting first words down to finishing a draft. You will then have ample time and space (and tea and cake) to write, in the quiet company of fellow scribblers.

On day two, we will work through a series of editing approaches, which you will be able to apply to your own work.

This course is suitable for both beginners and committed writers. By the end of the course you will have a draft piece of work, and a range of editing skills to apply to it!

We’ll be based at a beautiful, luxurious location in East London, and the course will be led by two writers, Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert.

For more information about the course, and to read testimonials from previous London Lit Lab course attendees: http://www.londonlitlab.co.uk/?page_id=343

London Lit Lab: 1-day intensive beginners’ workshop 28th January

This one-day workshop is for anyone who would like to start writing creatively in 2017, or who wants to kickstart a lagging writing habit! Whether you want to finish a short story you’ve started, or face down the blank page for the first time, this friendly course will get you writing and improving.

We’ll cover five key areas during the day:

  • Generating ideas: how to pluck ideas from the world and turn them into stories
  • Building strong characters: creating characters that feel real, and how much character dictates plot
  • Creating a sense of place: analysing those settings that come to life, and looking at ways to reflect your characters’ inner states
  • Writing great dialogue: looking closely at how dialogue works best on the page, and how it differs from ‘real life’ conversation
  • Developing plot and story: giving your story a satisfying shape, and figuring out where to start and end.

For each topic we’ll look at great examples from published short stories and novels, discuss techniques, and do some writing exercises together. There will be plenty of time for questions and trouble-shooting along the way, and of course to stop for tea and cake.

Location: Keynes Library, Gordon Square, London – originally the home of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.

Date and time: 10am-5pm, Saturday 28th January 2017. Please arrive 15 mins early for a 10am start.

Cost: Full price £169. Special offer: book two places together and each receive 20% off.

Tutors: this course will be taught by both Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert of London Lit Lab. By leading workshops together, we are able to bring two perspectives to everything we teach, and therefore everything is up for discussion! Sharing our differing approaches to writing helps to create a richer learning experience, which we believe benefits everyone who comes on our courses.

To read testimonials from our past courses, learn about Lily and Zoe, and see all the London Lit Lab courses available in 2017, go to http://www.londonlitlab.co.uk/

To contact us directly with queries or to reserve a place, please email info@londonlitlab.co.uk.