DAY 1: To Begin, to arrive, to settle in, to make space.

  • Where you are with your writing?
  • What kind of writer are you? Where is your writing muscle? Where are you stiff?
  • Identify key areas you want to focus on during the week;
  • Identify a story or stories you’d like to write;
  • What are the elements of ‘story?’
  • Work out who your writing is for (your market) and identify the elements of the genre or story you’re telling;
  • Identify and challenge internal resistance;
  • Learning the process – how does writing ‘work’? The difference between the muse, the music, the mystery and the muscle;
  • The 24 essential questions you must answer when writing a book.


DAY 2: To Animate

  • Today we will look at an introduction on how to write character: how do I create characters that are engaging, conflicted and richly conceived? (Even if you’re writing memoir/non-fiction);
  • Who are the people in your head and why should anyone care about them?
  • What are the four elements of revealing character so that readers will care about them?
  • ‘Story comes through character’ – characters need obstacles, crises, conflict – what crisis or pressure do your characters face?
  • What are your characters’ backstories? What do you still need to know before you can write about your characters?
  • We will explore the secrets of constructing memorable, engaging sympathetic characters who generate story;
  • We will look at the two key elements of dialogue and action and explore how to write believable dialogue that helps pace the action;
  • We will look at how revealing personality helps drive the plot through character;
  • What is ‘point of view’ and how does it affect your story? (first, second and third – and when to use them).


DAY 3: To Construct

  • Today we will examine how the arrangement of story elements creates story flow, pace & tension (theme, plot, structure, pace, symbols, setting);
  • How does the setting or time-frame affect your narrative momentum and the significance and echoes of place and time in your story?
  • We will locate the drama/conflict in your story so that you are clear about what is driving the narrative;
  • We will find the turning points (the keys to character transformation);
  • We will explore the difference between plot and structure;
  • You will learn to think about what the best structure is for the story you are telling;
  • We will talk about the secrets of building tension or suspense, and how one structures the revelations that move your story forward;
  • We will look at how to create an outline or scaffold of your story as well as a time-line;
  • What are the techniques that build pace and tension?


DAY 4: To Own

  • Stripping away cliché to get real and authentic;
  • How do you find your signature style?
  • What makes your story unique?
  • What is voice? What is your voice?
  • What work do you still need to do to refine/find your voice?
  • Are you showing or telling (and what is the difference anyway?)


DAY 5: To Finish

  • Today I will introduce you to the editing and rewriting process and we will look at how to use silence, spaces and subtext to create narrative depth;
  • We will look at how to declutter our writing and bring back a startling simplicity;
  • What is the role of research in the writing process?
  • Beginning to think ahead about your market, manuscript assessments, the road towards finding readers;
  • We will look at what a writing platform is and how you can go about starting to create one now;
  • We will look at the road ahead – how to create good writing practice, how to commit to the process, stay on track and set goals.





And then we will celebrate!



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