Writing a novel can be like navigating an unknown landscape without a map. You're all alone and, after a while, supplies and morale are low. You know the destination you want to reach; you're consulting your compass and making progress, but it's proving harder than you thought. Landmarks are missing and instructions are vague - what you need now is a wise, kindly guide to show you the way.
Together we've helped hundreds of aspiring writers along the road to publication. Perhaps you're just at the beginning, with a good idea but no idea of how to spin it into a book. Perhaps you're in the middle but have stalled. Perhaps you're close to the end, looking for that next level of polish. Wherever you are in your journey to publication, we have the perfect tools to help you taking your writing to the next level!
What we offer:
We provide insightful, motivational, and interactive small-group dayschools to support you in honing your writing skills and to jump-start your next fiction or non-fiction project. Our classes are led by internationally published authors and University of Cambridge tutors in creative writing Menna van Praag and Emily Winslow. All are held in-person in Cambridge’s historic city centre.
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or pause here to see reviews from inspired students:
What are your creative strengths and struggles? Are you superb at characterisation, but struggle to make your dialogue sing? Or perhaps you write beautiful description, but find creating page-turning plots a bit of a challenge. Whatever aspect of the creative process you want to perfect, we’ve got a class just for you! Pick and mix from these five illuminating classes, or take them all for the full experience. You can register on our events page.
Skills and Style: Setting and Senses
How do you make the world of your story as vivid as the one you’re living in? Learn to use details strategically and employ the five senses to create a richly atmospheric and plot-relevant setting.
Recently taught on Saturday, 17th September 2022
Next class: Saturday 23rd September 2023
Skills and Style: Point of View and Characters
How do you write characters as complex and contradictory as the people you know, love, and loathe in your life? Learn to create characters that are vivid, fascinating, and active, and take control of the powerful effects of point of view.
Recently taught on Saturday 15th October 2022
Next class: Saturday 14th October 2023
Skills and Style: Critique and Editing
You have a good scene, good chapter, maybe even a good book—but how to make it great? Learn what to prioritise in improving your own work, and how to constructively receive critique and editing from others so that you’re able to polish your work to perfection.
Next class: Saturday 18th November 2023
Skills and Style: Plots and Beginnings
How do you ensure your readers won’t want to put your book down? A compelling plot not only urges readers to turn pages, it helps writers fill pages. If the blank page is frustrating you, a strong plot statement can kickstart your engine then keep your readers transfixed.
Next class: Saturday 13th January 2024
Skills and Style: The Practicalities of Publishing and the Writing Life
What to do with your wonderful writing when it’s done? Let us help you sort through the many options and pitfalls of pursuing publication and support you in deciding the best path for you and your book. We’ll also address the challenges and joys of making room for writing in your daily life, and teach you our tips and tricks for keeping inspiration alive.
Next class: Saturday 9th March 2024
Want to try us out?
We have a one-off class, separate from our five Skills & Style days, which focuses on tips for making your scenes active and engaging from the first draft. It's designed to be a helpful lead-in to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), during which participants from all over the world try to reach 50,000 words in their personal writing projects, but it's suitable for anyone writing fiction or personal stories.
Next class: Saturday October 28th 2023
A weekend manor-house retreat:
On the 11th & 12th May 2024 we're holding a retreat weekend consisting of Saturday and Sunday dayschools at beautiful Madingley Hall just outside Cambridge. Save the date--more info to come!
Read what students have to say on our Reviews page
For more details and to register, visit our Events page.
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