The Writers' Greenhouse
Summer of Writing: Saturday workshops

What the workshops are like

(Scroll down for reviews)

University Parks avenue Hollyhocks at Freud Coffee and writing in pub gardens Swan on the Cherwell University Parks pond Shadow of a fountain pen Perch bench Poetry at the Perch Salad packed lunch with a little jar of dressing Sunlit sheltered pub garden Writing equipment by the riverside The Perch boat University Parks pond table Michaelmas daisies Writing on a drizzly day Perch meadow gate Swan on the Thames University Park daisies University Parks avenue Hollyhocks at Freud Coffee and writing in pub gardens Swan on the Cherwell University Parks pond Shadow of a fountain pen Perch bench Poetry at the Perch Salad packed lunch with a little jar of dressing Sunlit sheltered pub garden Writing equipment by the riverside The Perch boat University Parks pond table Michaelmas daisies Writing on a drizzly day Perch meadow gate Swan on the Thames University Park daisies University Parks avenue Hollyhocks at Freud Coffee and writing in pub gardens Swan on the Cherwell University Parks pond Shadow of a fountain pen Perch bench Poetry at the Perch Salad packed lunch with a little jar of dressing Sunlit sheltered pub garden Writing equipment by the riverside The Perch boat University Parks pond table Michaelmas daisies Writing on a drizzly day Perch meadow gate Swan on the Thames University Park daisies University Parks avenue Hollyhocks at Freud Coffee and writing in pub gardens Swan on the Cherwell University Parks pond Shadow of a fountain pen Perch bench Poetry at the Perch Salad packed lunch with a little jar of dressing Sunlit sheltered pub garden Writing equipment by the riverside The Perch boat University Parks pond table Michaelmas daisies Writing on a drizzly day Perch meadow gate Swan on the Thames University Park daisies University Parks avenue Hollyhocks at Freud Coffee and writing in pub gardens Swan on the Cherwell University Parks pond Shadow of a fountain pen Perch bench Poetry at the Perch Salad packed lunch with a little jar of dressing Sunlit sheltered pub garden Writing equipment by the riverside The Perch boat University Parks pond table Michaelmas daisies Writing on a drizzly day Perch meadow gate Swan on the Thames University Park daisies University Parks avenue Hollyhocks at Freud Coffee and writing in pub gardens Swan on the Cherwell University Parks pond Shadow of a fountain pen Perch bench Poetry at the Perch Salad packed lunch with a little jar of dressing Sunlit sheltered pub garden Writing equipment by the riverside

The people Each workshops runs with 6–12 people at my home in Upper Wolvercote. All the workshops are multi-level: some people are complete beginners, others have been writing for a long time, are returning to an old love, or have decided they want to pursue it more. Small classes mean I can give more attention to everyone and help create a friendly, supportive atmosphere.

The teaching My teaching style is based around discussion, activities, and games designed to introduce the various ideas and principles, and allow you to try everything out. You'll do some activities on your own and others in pairs or small groups, depending on what's appropriate. I never put anyone on the spot and you don't have to read any of your writing aloud to the group. In some workshops, you do have the opportunity to share your writing in your small groups of 3-4, but this is always optional, and you can feed back on how you found the esperience instead.

The day structure I ask people to arrive 10-15 minutes early, so you can have time for a coffee or tea, and to meet the other students - you'll also get to know each other through the activities. The workshop is usually divided into four sections, each with its own focus and set of activities. We have a break mid-morning and mid-afternoon, for tea or coffee and biscuits, which I provide. We take an hour's break for lunch (usually 12:30-1:30) which we eat in the conservatory or the garden, weather depending. I suggest people bring a packed lunch; there's also a Londis and M&S garage nearby. I provide plates, cutlery, and napkins, as needed. You're welcome to bring something that needs heating, but do note that I don't have a microwave!

The handouts Because the workshop time is very active and hands-on, there isn't much time to take notes, so at the end of each workshop I give you a little booklet covering everything we've done, including the writing prompts. You'll also take home the assorted handouts you've used, as well as your own writing of course.

Workshop space The workshops are held in a cool airy room (north-facing), and arranged for students to work in small groups. After each break, I rearrange students so everyone gets a chance to work with everyone.
Creativity writing workshop A creativity workshop in full swing, with all the felt-tips out, exploring Tom Phillips style creations
Plotting writing workshop A plotting workshop, playing Plot Layering Snakes and Ladders, with prompt cards - and of course, grapes!
Handouts for the Magical Realism workshop Handouts for the Magical Realism workshop - the Ideas Menu, the handouts for different sessions in jars with their instructions tied on, and the booklet with all the multicoloured handouts.
Decor for the Magical Realism workshop Wild decor for the Magical Realism workshop - partly to set the mood and partly because people always look around a room for ideas, and magical realism needs lots of ideas, so I filled every available surface with unexpected stuff.
Conservatory leading to garden The conservatory leading to the garden, with seating space inside and outside for the breaks and lunch, with shade for those who want it. I also give you a little map of short local walks along the canal or through the little woods and meadows, if you want to take a breather in nature at lunch time.

Reviews of Summer of Writing workshops

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

Fantastic, engaging, interactive courses. I attend as many as I can. So much better than other courses I've been on and met fabulous, interesting people who I now meet with regularly.

Sophie 5 Sep 2018

Beyond First Draft: This is the hardest part of the writing process for me, and Megan's workshop was absolutely fantastic at providing ways to make it easier - lots of practical tips and processes were presented in a fun, invigorating and motivating way. I'm really enjoying getting to the second draft now, and I never thought I'd ever say that!

Sam S. 4 Sep 2018

Megan's Summer Saturdays are fun-filled, and packed with focussed activities, tailored to participants' special requests, so they are unique. I'd happily recommend these for beginner writers, or anyone who is looking to improve or fine tune their work. The 3 I attended were:

Writing in Scenes (Saturday 28 July 2018)
I'd written plenty of scenes in my story without really realising they were scenes, or how to get the best out of them. We learned the ingredients of a good scene; how to tweak it and make it special. The workshop also covered handling important scenes and constructing convincing action scenes. I now understand that there is a kind of underlying structure to a scene and can see why parts of my story sometimes weren't quite working. I'm now much better able to increase the tension, drama and excitement.

Honing Your Style (Saturday 25 Aug 2018)
We learned that there were different kinds of prose, all of which were great in their own way, but I could see how I could tweak my style in a slightly different direction. It was a choice, and I could be just as subtle or dramatic as I liked. We worked on imaginative ways of describing ordinary things, and creatively tackling the dreaded clichés that tend to creep in all the time. I realised that my style was actually better than I thought, but now have a good sense of the some of the pitfalls and why some of my writing either felt really right, or really wrong!

Beyond the First Draft (Saturday 1 Sept 2018)
We learned about the levels and layers of editing, and what to tackle when. We tried out creative and colourful ways of organising content, tightening things up, cutting things down and expanding thin parts. Because we worked on our own stories (though Megan will supply material for anyone who hasn't got that far!) I was able to see how quickly and how dramatically I could improve my first draft. I'm delighted to say that pulling it together and working on the flow and the impact could now become addictive. This day is perfect for anyone who has written enough of a first draft that it begins to need editing - you certainly don't need to have completed a whole book.

You will not find another workshop like this anywhere!

Judy 3 Sep 2018

A fantastic day workshop on how to write characters not like yourself. It was full of interesting ways to help think through, develop and write other characters. It was also a great opportunity to meet other people who are writing and feel inspired. As always, Megan's teaching style is fun and informative without anything scary for us shy people :-)

Rhiannon 16 Aug 2018

I attended one of the summer Saturday workshops - on writing in scenes - and it was a revelation. There were twelve of us, some of whom had already worked with Meegan, and some - like me - first-timers, and the whole day was beautifully structured. It was also friendly and not at all scary, while also being full of new (to me) ways of thinking about what a scene is and what goes into it. It confirmed all my worst fears about what I have just been writing but in a way that is enabling me to enjoy re-drafting what I had thought was an impossibly knotty passage. I shall be back for the workshop on style at the end of the month.

Jessica O. 6 Aug 2018

I attended two of Megan's one-day summer-writing workshops and absolutely loved them. I desperately wanted to attend them all, frankly, because I knew just from one phone conversation that she is a rare gem of a teacher: the kind of person who imparts inspiration, wisdom, expertise and hard-headed advice in equal diplomatic measure. She brings out the very best in each student on the course, and we all benefited from the interactions with each other, the games and the brain-busting exercises that Megan had devised.

What a buzz in the room! So much creative energy! I think every one of us left with the impetus and resolve to write more and write better, and Megan's courses certainly delivered the tools for this in spades. I speak as a publishing professional - having been involved in fiction editorial for more than twenty years - and also as a published author. It was so humbling and fantastic and brilliant to discover how much more there is to the world I've inhabited for so long.

If I lived in Oxford, I'd be a regular student, and will certainly be keeping an eye out for more of Megan's weekend workshops. Her passion and vitality translate into the most innovative and informed writing programmes I've ever seen, and her generous spirit will leave you completely inspired to achieve whatever you drives you - whether it's just having fun with like-minded people, or completing the next bestseller.

Sam 31 Oct 2017

Expand Your Repertoire - Genuinely Inspirational!

I came to the Expand Your Repertoire one-day workshop having not written anything for 5 years. I left with a booklet full of ideas, renewed confidence in my writing, and some good friends to boot.

Megan is an excellent teacher, and every second of the full-day course was used to brainstorm, plan, introduce new ideas and angles, and then play around with them in our own writing.

I've been on a number of courses in London and Oxford, and this was certainly the best value-for-money of them all. So much so that, once I've finished this review, I'm going to carry on writing ;-)

I would heartily recommend Megan's courses to anyone considering creative writing; the mixture of people range from people who are new to the discipline, to people who have published several novels. Everyone got a lot out of the day. I can't wait for the next one.

Robin 21 Aug 2017

I've now been to three Writer's Greenhouse workshops and each turned out to be a really fun day, filled with playful, thought provoking and inspiring activities.

I'd not been on any writing workshops before, but after these I will definitely look to doing more in the future. As well as meeting new people from a whole mixture of backgrounds, each session left me with interesting ideas and new ways of working to take away.

I would say the summer of writing workshops are great whether you already write or are just thinking about beginning and want some fun exercises to give you food for thought or a gentle push.

On top of all this I've discovered some great new books and new writers through the extracts Megan uses - I'm looking forward to doing lots more reading and writing!

Katherine 17 Aug 2016

If you want more detail about what the workshops are like, you can read more about my teaching style. You're also welcome to email me at megan @ thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk with any questions you have.

* Vote for which workshops will run this year *

When?

Summer Saturdays in August, 10am – 4pm

Where?

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

Fees

The workshops start at £60 each; the more you book, the less you pay per workshop.

1 workshop £65 each
2 workshops £60 each
3+ workshops £55 each

Contact me

Email me with any questions.

 


Back to Top

Get occasional emails about interesting, useful things




I won't share your email with anyone else. You'll get emails from me only, about upcoming courses, writing competitions, publishing opportunities, interesting articles about writing, new blog posts, and creative events in Oxford. All emails are sent via MailChimp and you can unsubscribe at any time. Add megan @ thewritersgreenhouse.co.uk to your address book if you want to keep the emails from vanishing into spam.