The Writers' Greenhouse
Starting Points: an introduction to multiple forms of creative writing

 

Everyone is allowed to do creative writing – this is something humans do and it's open to everyone. Likewise, all types of writing belong to everyone: stories, poems, very short 'flash' fiction, bits of memoir, experimental writing - it's all your playground and it all belongs to you. This eight-week course offers multiple starting points into creative writing and the many shapes it can take, writing technique to make it better and more fun, and lots of lovely creative practice.

Imagine your life is a building, and there's a whole WING of the building that you don't know exists, or which you only visit one room of, and then you open the door to that wing and there are corridors everywhere, gleaming floors, shafts of sunlight through unexpected windows, and so many doors, so many rooms to explore... That's the aim of this course: to fling open all the doors.

Course overview

What the course covers

  • a variety of forms: the different shapes writing can take - try your hand at stories, flash fiction, memoir, experimental fiction, free verse, and poetry forms such as haikus or sonnets
  • developing writing skills: techniques and craft that make writing better and more fun, from the ingredients for a scene to using more tangible imagery and stronger words to the musicality of language
  • exploring creativity: exploring what increases your creativity or shuts it down, many different places to find ideas, how to let ideas germinate and how to grow them, and creative practices that improve your creativity while making your life a more fun place to be. This is the path of joy.

Who's it for?

The course is designed with beginners in mind, and equally open to writers who'd like to explore fresh avenues and forms.

  • people who want to try creative writing but don't know where to start
  • people who used to enjoy creative writing but were told they couldn't, or shouldn't, or have let it lie fallow a long time
  • people who're already writing but want to play with other forms and explore their writing creativity more widely

Weekly topics

1 Playing with the alphabet & the art of play

2 Short stories & the ingredients of a plot

3 Scenes & memoir & writing description

4 Free-verse poetry & tangible language

5 Genres & how to redraft

6 Flash fiction & haiku & giving the reader space

7 Free-writing & letting ideas brew

8 Poetry forms & the music of language

Each week also introduces...

  • a starting point – different things to use as a source of ideas
  • a writing maxim – helpful sayings to keep hold of
  • a creative activity voucher – something to nurture your creativity by making your life more relaxing, more fun, and more interesting

 

Email megan @ thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk to put your name down for the next Starting Points course.

Reviews of Starting Points

These reviews come from the Daily Info, where you can also read reviews of the other courses and workshops.

I took Megan's Starting Points course in Oct-Nov and Meddling with Poetry in Feb-Mar 2019 and both were wonderful. Each class is well thought out, well resourced, fun, practical, engaging and social in a creative, cosy environment. All led by Megan, knowledgeable and ever-encouraging. In all courses there are opportunities to give and receive feedback on your writing which is incredibly valuable.

Each lesson is designed to spark inspiration and creativity in various ways, and they succeed. I miss being there each week and I suppose others do too as so many people attend course after course.

Starting Points was perfect for me, a person with will but no direction - an introduction into various writing forms and creative activities to keep you writing forever.

Meddling with Poetry was running for the first time ever when I joined. I hadn't really written any poetry since school but I never felt discouraged. The message was just to keep on writing, playing, observing and enjoying language.

I would recommend any of Megan's courses to anyone at any level of writing ability.

JK 30 Apr 2019

I took the Starting Points course. It was such a treat to spend an evening a week creatively exploring one or two aspects of writing. I signed up to dislodge some of the crust on my writing practice, to open up a few new perspectives, and have fun trying some new things. Megan's course delivered on all counts: light-hearted yet serious, well-paced as well as relaxed, depth of content plus plenty of frivolity, fairy lights, and laughter. There was room to get to know other participants a little bit, share some work, and also focus on an unfolding personal creative process.

The course is really packed with material and activities yet the evening does fly by all too quickly. Megan is great at creating, holding, and motivating the space for people at multiple levels simultaneously-- she is right that this course works equally well for beginning writers and those with more experience. She structures 'homework' activities so as to help you bring creative practices into your life as habits in a persisting way. I wholeheartedly recommend The Writer's Greenhouse & hope to take another course in the future.

fw 14 Dec 2017

I attended the 8 week creative writing course Starting Points this autumn. It was fantastic! I haven't done any regular creative writing in over 10 years and wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe I imagined the process to be serious, hard work and instructive, which would be helpful and interesting, but I hadn't anticipated how much fun it would be, or how vibrant the people on the course I would meet were. Megan is a dynamic teacher with plenty of ways to help you improve your writing but her real skill is making the whole process inviting, fulfilling and fun which allows all the information, hard work and learning to happen painlessly.

Each week focused on a different starting point and includes things like genres, flash fiction, poetry, ingredients for a plot and so forth. This meant that we were exposed to a wide variety of types of creative writing and I learnt about forms I didn't know were recognised. It was a wonderful opportunity to experiment with styles and forms of writing that you would normally avoid or hadn't previously considered. I enjoyed the chance to practice free writing and explore poetry-things that I had not paid attention to before. This course really was a great starting point that has got me writing again.

I attended the course after a prolonged period of ill health, advised Megan that I was still recovering and was not sure how good my stamina would be. I found her to be extremely thoughtful and considerate of my needs. Therefore, don't let health concerns deter you from finding out if the course is suitable for you!

RD 14 Dec 2017

Iíve just completed the Creative Writing Starting Points course which I found very helpful and enjoyable. I was very nervous about going, whether I wrote well enough to participate and the possibility of getting confidence-crushing criticism. I actually sat in the car before the first lesson wondering if I was brave enough to go in. (Heart of a lion, this oneÖ) I had been put off other courses demanding to know if I was SERIOUS about my writing and ready to work HARD? Quite honestly, no, because I have a full-time job and a young family. I am SO glad I went that first week, and every week since. Megan is a fantastic teacher, the atmosphere is friendly, uncompetitive and fun. Feedback is constructive. Week after week Iíd leave the class with others, all of us commenting on how quickly the time had gone. Iíve learned a lot, and am determined to keep writing regularly. This course really has opened a door!

Sal 5 Dec 2017

Email megan @ thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk to put your name down for the next Starting Points course.

When

Tuesdays 7pm–9:30pm
4 Feb – 24 Mar 2020

If the Tuesday fills up, a second class will open on Thursday evenings 6 Feb – 26 Mar 2020

Where

Upper Wolvercote (North Oxford). There's free parking, a great bus route (#6), and beautiful canal-side walking routes.

Cost

£250 total for 8 weeks, payable in instalments with a £50 deposit

To book

Email me for a booking form and let me know whether you'd prefer the Tuesday or Thursday evenings.

 

 

 

 

 

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