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Summer of Writing: Saturday workshops

Five one-day creative writing workshops for adults in Oxford on Saturdays in August

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Your Summer of Writing

Create yourself a Summer of Writing: book a selection of workshops to inspire and develop your writing – and if you can, some time off for writing. It's the perfect time of year for writing in parks, gardens, pub gardens, and meadows - treat yourself and make it fun.

These one-day writing workshops are filled with creative, practical exercises. Each workshop can stand alone and the five together create a natural flow-through. All the workshops are multi-level (suitable for both beginners and experienced writers) and for most workshops you can choose to create new ideas or to develop a work in progress.

To book, use the booking form below the workshop descriptions. You can also read what the workshops are like, my Tips for a Summer of Writing, and suggestions for accommodation.

NB: There is no overlap between the Summer of Writing workshops and the other courses I run: they cover different topics and use different materials.

Workshop fees

The workshops start at £75 each; the more you book, the less you pay per workshop. One workshop is £75, two workshops are £70 each, and three or more workshops are £65 each.

Booking deadlines

The end of the Thursday before each workshop.

Places left & Waiting lists

Workshops are maximum 12 people. Once a workshop has 4 or fewer places left, I'll update that under the workshop title below. If a workshop you're keen on is waiting-list-only, do still book it and I'll add you to the waiting list. Spaces can come available and only get re-advertised on the site once the waiting list has been cleared. Last updated: Thurs 11 July 2024.

Dates and Times: All the workshops run from 10am–4pm, on Saturdays from Sat 3 August to Sat 31 August. Dates for individual workshops are below.


The Workshops

Planning a Novel workshop Saturday 3 August: Planning A Novel

1 place left

Hands-on practical strategies to manage the process of planning a novel, whether you’re starting from scratch or reworking raw draft.

Planning a novel can feel like walking through fog or into a maze of brick walls – but much of that mystification or frustration can be solved with practical principles of how to approach it.

In this workshop, using your own story or story ideas I’ll give you, you’ll discover how to explore and capture your ideas so you don’t get stuck and nothing is lost. You’ll look at key aspects to consider in the planning, practical ways to approach those, and how to break the novel and process into manageable chunks. You’ll also cover what computer documents to start building early and handy tips for managing those.

By the end of the workshop, you’ll have tried out an array of novel-planning strategies, identified the organisation techniques that work for you, and created a clear pathway that leaves your mind free for the actual invention.

NOTE: This workshop doesn’t cover structuring the narrative itself; Page Turners addresses that. This is the practicalities of what to do before and after that.

Story Poems workshop Saturday 10 August: Story Poems (NEW)

2 places left

How to tell stories through poems, use musicality to make them memorable, and keep them lively, for children, Young Adults (YA), and adults.

From Beowulf to ballads to the Big Bad Wolf, stories have always been at home in poems, with the added delight that the music of poetry gives them.

In this workshop, you’ll browse famous examples for all age groups to discover different possibilities of rhythm and rhyme that work well for storytelling. You’ll experiment with those, and try out the different approaches in writing for adults, YA, and children. You’ll map out a story for a longer poem, to highlight its drama, and discover how to avoid the sluggish bits that narrative poems can trip us into. You’ll also learn how to avoid ‘cheating’ the rhythm, so the reader never stumbles, and enrich the musicality that adds so much delight.

By the end of the workshop, you’ll have tried out a range of narrative poetry forms, written snippets for all three age groups, and substantially created and enriched a longer story poem.

Characters Unlike You workshop Saturday 17 August: Characters Unlike You

Explore a range of ways to write characters unlike yourself and vary a story's cast, while you develop new characters to take home with you.

When we’re creating a "villain", we can gleefully invent all sorts of unusual traits. When we’re writing a positive character, we often make them just "normal" – not characterised, undifferentiated, or clones of ourselves. But creating main characters who aren't us is what really sets our stories free.

In this workshop, you’ll explore different systems of personality types to gain insight into your own traits, understand how other people tick, and create likeable characters who are fundamentally different to you. You’ll also try out a range of tools to separate yourself from your characters and make them more distinct, while ensuring they’re still characters you have respect and affection for.

By the end of the workshop, you’ll have created three new characters you like, with strengths and foibles distinct from your own, and explored how their personalities play out in relationships and story.

Page Turners workshop Saturday 24 August: Page Turners

Map out a story and every scene to keep the reader engrossed.

What keeps the reader hungrily turning each page? Whether we’re writing quiet literary fiction or genre fiction, we want to keep the reader reading – and the principles of how to do that work across all types of fiction.

In this workshop, you’ll explore the underlying principles of gripping storytelling, rather than a fixed model. Using your own story or story ideas I’ll give you, you’ll examine the key elements of your story’s narrative drive and develop an overall plot structure which sustains that drive across the whole story. You’ll also explore how to structure tension within scenes, using strategies common to both literary and commercial fiction, so that every page is compelling and engaging.

By the end of the workshop, you’ll have created a clear detailed outline of your narrative tension, learnt a range of practical techniques to identify and deepen what makes your story compelling from macro to micro tension, mapped out a scene’s interior, and written 3+ snippets of gripping prose.

Multiple Viewpoints workshop Saturday 31 August: Multiple Viewpoints (NEW)

Waiting List
Tick this workshop in the booking form if you'd like to be added to the Waiting List.

Create stories through multiple characters’ perspectives, hone their unique points of view, and use shifts to delight the reader and enhance the story.

Multiple viewpoints add richness and resonance to a story: they can deepen and reflect your theme, let you explore more of the story’s world, and create shimmering narrative tension. But how do you weave them together, keep them distinct, and not tangle yourself in knots?

In this workshop, using your own story or story ideas I’ll give you, you’ll start by honing your characters’ points of view. You’ll explore what’s unique about their perspective and what signifies it for the reader. You’ll develop ways to keep them distinct and avoid a hive-mind, and strategies to shift your own mind into each character’s. You’ll then look at choosing points of view for scenes: finding the right balance and using shifts to delight the reader rather than frustrate them. You’ll also cover how to handle unavoidable recaps and which key types of points of view add a fresh layer. Throughout, you’ll collect practical strategies to track your characters’ perspectives, signpost point-of-view shifts, and manage your cast.

By the end of the workshop, you’ll have gathered a range of helpful new techniques for handling point of view, written distinctive point of view for 2–4 characters, and chosen significant points of view for pivotal scenes.


Book your workshops

Note: If you don't like online forms, you can email me to book instead:

Fill out my online form.


Summer of Writing: Saturday workshops


Summer Saturdays in August, 10am – 4pm:
3 Aug, 10 Aug, 17 Aug, 24 Aug, and 31 Aug


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


The workshops start at £75 each; the more you book, the less you pay per workshop.

1 workshop £75 each
2 workshops £70 each
3+ workshops £65 each

Contact me

Email me with any questions.


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