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NWS Member Development Day
4 July, 2015 @ 9:30 am - 5:30 pm
The NWS Member Development Day is a day for members of the studio to come along to courses, talks and workshops across a wide range of writing genres and topics. Sorry, unlike most of our workshops and courses, this event is for members only.
NWS members will run the classes and share their knowledge and skills of different aspects of writing. The day is designed for both emerging and established writers with aims to provide a balanced education in both the craft and the business of being a writer — all in an encouraging, inspiring environment.
For a mere £35 you’ll be able to attend five one-hour workshops (chosen from fifteen in total), hear a keynote speech from a prominent NWS member, and meet other members to talk about your own writing and experiences. Lunch and refreshments are included.
With focused tracks and targeted sessions, you can create your ideal experience. Whether you are seeking information and advice about what editors look for in writers, how to improve your writing skills, how to develop market awareness or create a proposal that will attract editors and agents, this day is designed for you to learn what you need to succeed.
10.15-10.30 Keynote speech
10.30-11.30 Session 1
11.45-12.45 Session 2
13.30-14.30 Session 3
14.45-15.45 Session 4
16.00-17.00 Session 5
17.00-17.30 Closing plenary
There will be five sessions, each of which will have three workshops running in parallel. Participants will be asked to choose beforehand which workshops they will attend.
1A: How to craft a query letter (Deborah Bailey)
Queries. The word alone can strike fear even in established writers—for good reason. You spend year(s) writing and polishing your novel, and selling it can come down to this one page. A mere 250 words that editors and agents will use to judge your entire book.
Don’t panic! Yes, a query is your introduction letter, but that means it has one job: grab an agent’s/editor’s interest. Make them want to read more.
With that in mind, this session will break down the components of a good query letter and give you straightforward tips to hit the right note for each. You will have time to work on your own query letter and get feedback so come prepared.
1B: Advanced world-building (Ian Douglas)
This in-depth look at world building examines a step-by-step guide used by published authors, including the event, the core, the why, the question and the expand. The workshop also introduces online tools and web sites to enhance your world-building journey. Finally, participants will have time to practice using the guide and share feedback.
1C: Self-publishing for beginners (Sarah Dale)
The publishing industry is changing rapidly. The opportunities for quality self-publishing have never been greater but it can be a bewildering process and can lack the status of traditional publishing. This session will give an insight into some of the pros and cons and some pointers towards useful help.
2A: Map and floor plan design (Sunita Samra)
In good novels, fantasy worlds are as interesting as the characters – and play just as important a role. This means you need to develop your work like you would a character – you need to pay attention to history and physical features and how they interact. Drawing a map for your fantasy world is useful in ensuring it works as a physical location your characters inhabit. What effects does the mountain ranges have on weather? Trade? Travel? This course will show you.
2B: How to apply for funding (Pippa Hennessy)
Ever wondered where to go to get a project you want to run funded? or how to find funding for your own personal development? And even when you find a source of funding, how can you make sure you’ve got the best chance of getting your hands on the dosh? This workshop will tell you where to start.
2C: How to critique other people’s writing (Deborah Bailey)
Getting feedback from other writers can help identify what is working or not working in your story. But once you have a list of issues, then what? What if people’s crits disagree? Even if you realise they are right, how do you know how to go about fixing the problems?
Learning how to critique well will give you the skills you need. By learning to see problems in other people’s work, you learn to see—and know how to fix—them in your own. This session will examine what makes a good critique, ways to critique, and how to apply feedback from others to your own writing. Whether you are new to critting or already a member of a group, this session will give offer tops and insights to help you help each other make your work shine.
3A: Writing as a career (Pippa Hennessy)
We all write because we love it. We have to get the words onto the page. And if we’re lucky, someone will want to publish our words, or we might give self-publishing a go. But even if that’s the case, the vast majority of us won’t be lucky enough to be able to make enough money to live on from our writing. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a career out of writing-related activities though. There are many opportunities out there to earn a living. This workshop will give you some ideas on how to develop your skills and find out which of those opportunities you might be able to profit from.
3B: Writing for a target market (Deborah Bailey)
The Internet is a vast, amazing — and terrifying — resource. It has led to an explosion of outlets for your writing — opportunities are seemingly everywhere. But if you want to actually make a living as a writer, you need to sell to markets that pay. The caveat? Everyone else has the same idea.
At the same time, nothing can sap confidence more than sending a story out again and again, only to receive rejection after rejection. But most stories are rejected not due to terrible writing, but because they are not suitable for the market. So how do you come up with story ideas (fiction or non-fiction) that are right for a target market?
This session will cover how to hone your pitch or story to a target market by going over how to analyse a market to determine types of stories they want, as well as how to use this to make your pitch irresistible.
3C: Steps to strong YA/NA novels (Kim Slater)
This session will cover how to develop a gripping and interesting YA idea, tips on improving your writing style, recent developments in YA writing and how to keep young readers entertained and engaged. We will look at examples of current popular authors and look at effective ways to make your work stand out.
4A: The life of a published writer (Alison Moore)
Alison Moore will be talking about her journey as a writer, touching on how she learnt her craft, how she met her agent, writing her first novel and getting it published. Now making her living as a writer, Alison will share some thoughts and practical advice on life before and since publication.
4B: Creating authentic and compelling characters (Sunita Samra)
Great stories begin with compelling characters. Learn how to create fresh, vivid and memorable characters and take your writing to the next level. This workshop will use some of the best examples from both classics and contemporary literature, as well as highlight the most common errors that writers make in creating characters and how to avoid or correct them.
4C: Getting poetry published (Pippa Hennessy)
If you’ve been writing poetry for a while, you’ll have built up a collection of work that really ought to be out there with the poetry-reading public. This workshop will take you through the various routes to poetry publication – magazines, online publishing, pamphlets, collections, and self-publishing.
5A: Bookselling for writers (Ross Bradshaw)
Published, by Martin Figura
The local bookshop said
they’d take one for now.
It stood thinly on the shelf
between all of Eliot
all of Heaney
A discussion about how to work with the book trade to sell your work better or at least to recognise certain limitations!
5B: Writing your memoirs (Victoria Villasenor)
In this short taster workshop, we’ll discuss the nature of memoir writing. We’ll talk about how to begin, what topics and issues you may need to delve into, and what the next steps are.
5C: Blogging for beginners (Shreya Sen-Handley)
For anyone who’s thinking of starting a blog, have a relatively new or even a fairly established blog. If you’re looking for inspiration to get started (or get back into the swing of things), as well as good ideas on what to write, how to write, how often to write, and whom to write for, then this session is for you. It is primarily about writing the blog, but in that one hour we shall also touch upon a handful of other blogging basics, like drumming up readership and even catching the eye of a traditional publisher. There’ll be lots of talk (from everyone, not just me), some writing and plenty of laughter too (there usually is)!
Pippa Hennessy is Development Director for Nottingham Writers’ Studio, Project Director for Nottingham’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature, Five Leaves Elf, and many other things besides. She has published poetry, fiction, graphic short stories, and creative non-fiction.
Alison Moore was born in Manchester in 1971. Her short fiction has been included in Best British Short Stories and Best British Horror anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. The title story of her debut collection The Pre-War House and Other Stories won a New Writer novella prize. Her first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the National Book Awards 2012 (New Writer of the Year), winning the McKitterick Prize 2013. Her second novel, He Wants, was published in 2014.
Sarah Dale is an occupational psychologist and has self-published two non-fiction books – Keeping Your Spirits Up and Bolder and Wiser. She is a Director at the Studio and is keen to share her experience and explore ideas for innovative ways of reaching our readers.
Kim Slater is a YA author, published by Macmillan Children’s Books. Her debut novel, Smart, has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and is winner of the St Helen’s Book Award (BASH) and the Leeds Book Award 2015. Smart has also been shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award 2015. Kim lives in Nottingham and holds a first-class honours degree in English & Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing.
Victoria Villasenor is a full time development editor for a publisher in New York and also runs the social enterprise Global Words, based in Nottingham. She and her partner are often off gallivanting around Europe, when she isn’t chained to her desk working.
Shreya Sen-Handley is a columnist, fiction writer and illustrator. She has written for The Guardian, CNN and The Hindu amongst other publications, and is currently a columnist for the Times of India, the Daily Mail, the Nottingham Post and the National Geographic. She illustrated a children’s book for Hachette in 2014 and her memoirs are being published by Harper Collins in 2016. She is one of a select seven writers featured in an anthology showcasing Nottingham writing, published by Five Leaves in 2015. Her short fiction has also been published in Australia and India.
Ian C Douglas is the author of the Zeke Hailey series of Sci-fi YA novels. His short sci-fi and fantasy stories have been published in magazines, online and even by a multi-national corporation. He contributed to the Eisner-nominated anthology of graphic WW1 stories. Ian is a MA in Creative Writing (Distinction) with a background in Education.
Deborah Bailey is a full-time freelance writer and editor. She teaches writing and serves as a writing mentor as well as co-chairs the Board of the Nottingham Writers’ Studio. Her fiction has recently appeared in Mirror Dance, This Dark Matter, Luna Station Quarterly, Wicked Words Quarterly, The Red Volume fundraiser anthology, and MicroHorror. Her story “Mission Critical” was selected for inclusion in Luna Station Quarterly’s first Best of Anthology. She attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop in 2012. She blogs at http://fourgreensquares.wordpress.com/ and you can follow her on Twitter at @4GreenSquares.
Ross Bradshaw runs Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham, the only city centre independent bookshop to open this century. The bookshop grew out of the longstanding Five Leaves Publications.
Sunita Samra has been a member of the Nottingham Writers Studio for four years and has worked as an acquisitions editor. In September, she will start an internship with a major TV Network. She’s attended a vast amount of writers workshops throughout the globe and therefore has a vast amount of knowledge to share. She is currently editing three novels in preparation to send off to agents. If only she’d get over her perfectionism.
How to book
Numbers are strictly limited, so it’s worth booking early. To book your place, either bring a cheque into the Studio (payable to Nottingham Writers’ Studio) for the appropriate amount, or use the paypal button below.
Standard price ticket