Write a Book in June. It’s doable!

30 days

30 Days of Writing is a practical online course for writers who’d enjoy the challenge of putting together a book in a month.

The course is especially suited to anyone who’d like to take on a short story project not necessarily linked to a book project you’re working on. It’s an opportunity to create that passion project you’ve been mulling over for years, and to explore different concepts of what consitutes a book.

The course is run by the writer Shaun Levin, who is also the editor of The A3 Press, a new chapbook press, and the creator of Writing Maps.

The online course is devised so that you can start a project from scratch and complete a first draft by the end of June. The course is a month-long commitment, and will benefit anyone who’d like the inspiration and support to write daily for 30 days alongside other writers from around the world.

To find out more about the course, please click here.

Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, hybrid writing, creating comics or illustrations, we’ll look at how to create a layered and dynamic work. Some of the elements we’ll focus on will include: movement in time and place, conflict and tension, chronology and tone, as well as ways to enhance your text through research and the inspiration of genre companions.

The primary focus throughout the course will be your daily practice of writing and the creation of your book.

Dates: 1 June – 1 July 2019

Fee: £260 (£200 early-bird rate before 30 April)

limited to 15 participants

About the tutor: Shaun Levin is the author of Snapshots of The Boy, A Year of Two Summers and Seven Sweet Things, amongst other books. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years and has worked closely with writers at all stages of their journey towards publication.

 

London Lit Lab: Write and Edit a Story in a Weekend 7-8 Oct

We had so much fun teaching Write and Edit a Story in the spring that we’ve brought it back again this autumn. Only this time we’re not only dissecting the short story, but also the personal essay.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses as writers. For some, getting a first draft down is a necessary torture before the fun of editing begins. For others, editing is the agony after the ecstasy!

This two-day course is designed to get you both writing and editing, by combining dedicated creative time with an intensive tour through ways to improve your craft.

On day one, we’ll kick off by exploring ways to turn our ideas into full stories, whether we’re writing fiction or creative nonfiction, 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. Think of these as a series of editorial experiments that will throw new light on plot, style, characterisation, setting, dialogue, openings and endings. We suggest that you bring your draft from the previous day (or another story or essay if you prefer), in multiple copy or on a laptop, so that you can test out approaches even if you choose not to apply all the editing techniques we teach in the session. We’ll discuss the results and share our work if we wish. In the spring both Zoe and Lily shared a very rough draft of their own writing, to be pulled apart by the group, but it was a great learning curve for everyone. So we’ll most likely do this again as well. Eek!

You don’t have to come up with an idea on the spot. You might have an idea you’ve been wanting to write, or a piece you have already started. Please bring this with you, to draft on day one. For those who want a new idea, we’ll provide optional idea-generating material to get you going.

This course is suitable for both beginners and committed writers. For both those writing fiction and creative nonfiction. Whether you’re dabbling in your first short stories or personal essays, or you’re compiling a short story collection, or writing a memoir, we welcome you. By the end of the course we’ll endeavour to help you have a new draft of a story or essay, and a range of editing skills to help get it into shape.

Course fee: Early Bird £189. Full fee £229

Date and Time: Weekend of October 7th & 8th, 10am-4pm

Location: Clapton Laundry, London – a luxurious, inspiring space in East London, where you will have plenty of space to spread out and find a quiet spot during the first day of writing. Lunch will also be provided

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.

Places are limited, so if you would like to reserve a place, or for more information, please get in touch at info@londonlitlab.co.uk

We have one place on this course available at a 75% discount for a writer who would struggle to pay the full fee. If you, or someone you know, would like to apply for this place, please write to us at info@londonlitlab.co.uk, by 23rd September. In no more than 200 words, please tell us why you would like to come on the course, what you write, and why a discounted place would be valuable to you. We won’t be fact-checking but we really want to give this place to someone who genuinely needs it, so please be honest. Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you.

http://www.londonlitlab.co.uk/

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.

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.

London Lit Lab writing courses

London Lit Lab Logo

London Lit Lab is offering two creative writing courses:

‘Beginning to Write: putting pen to paper‘ is a six-week course starting in June, on Thursday evenings at Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch. It’s designed for those who have just started writing fiction – either short stories or a novel – or those who want to develop their skills. In each session we’ll use writing exercises to explore one of the following aspects of fiction: plot, character, place, point of view, dialogue and description. The course is taught by writers, and we aim to provide a friendly, home-from-home experience, where you’ll feel comfortable putting pen to paper. You’ll leave the course with a toolbox of literary skills, a few new friends, and the confidence to keep on writing. Click here for more info.

‘Continuing to Write: developing your work’ is an eight-week course starting in September, also on Thursday evenings at Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch. This course is for writers with some experience (e.g. our Beginning to Write course) , or have a body of work, such as a short story collection or novel, that you would like to develop. The course is also ideal for students who have recently finished a BA or MA in creative writing, and want a bit of a refresher, or further support to complete work. Likewise, if you are considering applying for a Creative Writing MA, we can help you hone your portfolio. In each session we will discuss texts in relation to characterisation, place, plot and voice. We will be looking at openings, endings and everything in between. The second half of each session will be dedicated to critiquing work in progress. Click here for more info.

Feel free to get in touch at info@londonlitlab.co.uk or find us on Twitter @LondonLitLab!

Turn Me On

By Julie Mayhew

It started off as an argument on a short story course.

Men tend to put sex into short stories when it isn’t relevant at all to the plot, characters or mood, I said.

It was a sexist line to take. I know.

Adam Marek our brilliant tutor at Berko Writers had urged us to read the latest Murakami story in The New Yorker.

I had and then I had scrolled through other stories in the archive, with The Berko Speakeasy in mind. Could we read this story aloud at a future event?

Often the answer would be ‘no’ because a story would be ticking along nicely, brilliantly, and then there would be a gratuitious and graphic sex scene.

There’s no rule to say we won’t read sex scenes aloud at the Speakeasy – we’re not prudes and neither are our audience – but there’s a certain dynamic in that room, with reader making eye contact with audience, that asks that if we are going to describe graphic sex it has to mean something. In a lot of these stories I felt it didn’t.

I brought this argument to the table at our next workshop.

It got heated.

Don’t female writers write bad sex in their own unique ways too? suggested one.

Probably.

Is sex ever any good when it’s on the page? asked another.

Oh, it must be, sometimes, surely…

BadLiterarySex_Feb15

So that’s what led us to organising Turn Me On, a night to discuss the sex scene, good and bad, from Lady Chatterley to Christian Grey.

We’d love you to come and join the debate – and bring along your favourite sex scenes from literature.

Let’s put this argument to bed.

Turn Me On: A night of good (and very bad) literary sex
7pm, Tues 10th Feb, Upstairs at Here Cafe, Berkhamsted
For more information and to book go to the Berko Writers website.