The Writers' Greenhouse

Follow-on course

for people who've completed the 12-week Story Elements course and are committed to writing a particular novel or regular work

The novel-writing group supports people working on a novel or short stories, with feedback and with 3 strands of input: practical, masterclass writing, and keeping the creative well stocked. It uses the same activities-based approach to learning as the Story Elements course and workshops.

The group is ongoing and runs fortnightly, so people have time to write. Students sign up for 6 sessions at a time, over 3 months, for as long as is appropriate for them.

Each week, 3 people receive feedback from the whole group, with me leading the discussion. Writing is sent out in advance, so everyone can read it carefully, and the author specifies what kind of feedback they'd like. For the first 10-15 minutes, the author keeps quiet, and then joins the discussion for the last 5-10 minutes. Each term, each person submits up to 3000 words three times.


The second half of each session is input, treating each of the three strands in turn. The topics vary according to each group's needs.

Practical nuts and bolts

This is the practical and business side of writing. Topics include: goal-setting and managing your progress; document layout, styles, and formatting; writing synopses, blurbs, and cover letters; submitting to agents, publishers, magazines, and competitions; finding your genre's tribe & contacts through magazines, conventions, and societies; websites & your online presence; and tax, ALCS, and money matters.

Masterclass writing

This extends topics covered in the Story Elements and introduces other aspects of writing. As well as the elements of novel building from the Story Elements course, topics include: making it literal to show not tell; writing dialogue; editing your work; making time pass; using flashbacks; pruning dead space and filler scenes; choosing section breaks and chapter breaks; orientating the reader.

Stocking the creative well

As you start writing more, and using more of your free time to write, it's important to keep your creative well of ideas stocked. Each term ends with a session devoted to creativity. Activities include: playing with language; using lyrics to generate ideas; trying out other genres and forms of writing; mixing writing and art; developing one's other creative outlets; valuing "non-time"; exploring the creative process.

Register your interest

If you've completed the Story Elements course and are interested in the follow-up course, please email me to register your interest. Enrolment is limited: people currently on the course get first dibs, then people returning to it, then people joining it in first-come first-serve order. However, if enough people are on the waiting list, I can open up another class on a different day.


Exploring premises Premise storm Characters Discussing characters Location, location, location Sharing characters' stories Point-of-view place Mapping out characters' story arcs Collaging a sense of place Collaging a sense of place Finished collage  – a sense of place Rapid writing


1 Wednesday evening a fortnight, in batches of 6 sessions, ongoing. £180 per 6 sessions.

Next starts 8 February 2017 (short course of 4 sessions, at 120 for the term)

Book a place

If you've been on the 12-week course, email me about spaces in the next batch of sessions. £30 booking deposit.


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