Linenhall Library, Belfast. May 13 & 14, 2019. 10am–5pm, both days.
Claire Keegan will direct this fiction writing course using works by John McGahern to explore and demonstrate the mechanics of writing and narrative structure.
1. The Leavetaking
4. “The Conversion of William Kirkwood”
How do stories begin? How and why does an author make an incision in time and build tension? How is a reader drawn into a narrative? Why is a reader sometimes not drawn in at all? Keegan will discuss the structure of a narrative and go into what she calls the much-neglected middle, the trunk of the story. Are endings natural? Why do stories need to end, to find a place of rest? The discussion around endings will focus on falling action, emotional consequences and inevitability. Participants will also examine the differences between the short story and the novel. This course will be of particular interest to those who write, teach, read or edit fiction — but anyone with an interest in how fiction or reading works is welcome to attend. To book your place, contact email@example.com Tuition is £300. A 50% deposit secures.
Claire Keegan’s story collections include Antarctica, Walk the Blue Fields and Foster (Faber & Faber). These stories, translated into 17 languages, have won numerous awards. Her debut, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. “These stories are among the finest stories recently written in English,” wrote the Observer. Walk the Blue Fields, her second collection, was Richard Ford’s Book of the Year in 2010, and won the Edge Hill Prize, awarded to the strongest collection published in the British Isles. Foster won the Davy Byrne’s Award, then the world’s richest prize for a single story. New Yorker readers chose Foster as their story of the year. It was also published in Best American Stories is now on the school syllabus in Ireland. Keegan has earned an international reputation as a teacher of fiction, having taught workshops on four continents.
If the short story is like a photograph and the novel is like a film, the novella is like a fever.
In six weeks, we will aim to start (or finish) drafting a novella. What you work on may be only slightly longer than a short story or slightly shorter than a novel. You may have an idea to explore, or a short story that’s growing, or something resembling a novel in progress. On the course, we will look at what gives this particular form its power. We will think about the value of the instinctive in our writing. We will discuss the general shape a story of this length this may take. In intensive weekly sessions we will workshop both writing and story ideas. All levels welcome.
6-week course, Wednesday Evenings 645pm-915pm; starts 30 Jan
The Unthank School is pleased to announce that we have a new, online and ongoing Short Story Workshop with Tom Vowler now taking enrolments for January.
Following a successful first run of Tom’s Short Fiction Masterclass, the Short Story Workshop is designed to provide continuous bespoke feedback and a community for short story writers with some experience or who are working on a collection and would like the support and input of an experienced short fiction writer and editor.
For more details or to enrol click here.
If you have any other questions or queries, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to hear more about Tom’s philosophy, have a look at Kick, Bite and Voltage.
What our students are saying
“Masterclass is an exceptional course which has seen me writing seriously again. Regular deadlines, top-quality teaching and peer critique provided a doorway back into the discipline of writing fiction with passion and a sense of taking risks.
Tutor feedback was outstanding: incisive and well-considered with that very rarely found sentence-level analysis, which opened up my story’s potential, and really pushed the writing on.”
“Made us all strive to do better as we attempted Tom Vowler’s challenges to think more, welcome others’ opinions, to look up the word ‘obliquity’ and make use of our new understanding. And don’t expect the course to take only 2-3 hours a week. It’s worth a lot more.”
Short Story Masterclass
The introductory Short Story Masterclass is also running again in January after an invigorating and successful first session.
- Explore the elements of successful short fiction with prize-winning writer and experienced editor, Tom Vowler
- A friendly and relaxed course to unravel (some of) the mysteries of this demanding form
- Discover how great stories are crafted
- Join lively discussions about writing with your tutor and other students
For more details or to register, click here.
The A3 Review hosts a monthly writing contest, and this month’s theme is Naked and Nude. We read here that Agatha Christie wrote in the bath while eating apples. We googled for images, but there weren’t any, so we’re wondering: Who’ll write the story of the bathing novelist who said she specialised in “murders of quiet, domestic interest”? We like a good title, so how about: “Agatha Christie in the Bath”? Click here for more naked inspiration.
Deadline is 23rd September. 150 words max, or if you’re sending us artwork, it should fit nicely into an A6-sized panel. Click here to see all the new themes for Issue 8, The Gold Issue.
In the meantime, Issue 7 is almost here. The Silver Issue. We have 12 contributors, plus a story from flash fiction writer extraordinaire, Kathy Fish. There’s a maritime theme running through the new issue. Flowing through it! Whales and shrimp, to be precise. As well as stories and poems about a nun who steals a cross, a boy scout who’s unprepared, a teacher who learns, and some people who revel in their own dirt! From the depths of the ocean to the moon and space, with some complicated earthly relationships in between. If you haven’t pre-ordered already, you can do that by clicking here.
Some details about the two online courses… New dates are up for The A3 Review editor, Shaun Levin’s How to Map Your Book online course. The current one filled up pretty quickly, so you might want to grab a place for the course starting in November. If you’re eager to join a course now, there are still a few places on the Write Around Town online course that starts next week. Both courses are practical and focused on your own writing. It’s a great chance to get detailed feedback on your work, too. Check out both courses by clicking here.
Any questions about the courses or The A3 Review, please contact maps [at] writingmaps [dot] com
We’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.
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 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.”