New Autumn 2016 Classes

For some it’s London, Paris, Milan.

For me it’s Perth, Guildford, Braemar. And I love it.

Listed below are my upcoming creative writing classes. Get in touch if you have any questions. I can be contacted through this blog or at

Perth College/UHI – Pathways Centre

Creative Writing for Beginners
1pm to 3pm
Starting Friday 23 September and running for 10 weeks (breaking during school autumn holidays)
This course is for those with loads of ideas but don’t know where to start, or those who haven’t written creatively in a while and need a bit of a push. We’ll cover everything from character and plot development to word choice. The class is a mixture of discussion and writing.

Creative Writing for Improvers
3pm to 5pm
Starting Friday 23 September and running for 10 weeks (breaking during school autumn holidays)
This course is for those who have taken a create writing class recently, and need the time and guidance to develop their writing. This class will include workshops and focused writing time.

Two Day Intensive
If you are interested in this course please get in touch. We are currently arranging a date.
The two day intensive creative writing workshop to allow you to focus on your writing goals. You may:

  • Rewrite and edit short stories to submit for publication
  • Work on already existing projects (like a novel)
  • Create new projects

No matter how you intend to use the writing time, each student will be guided by the instructor who will provide tips and feedback. This class is geared towards those who have had some form of creative writing instruction (as a leisure student or formally), as there will be a beginner’s class offered in September.

All prospective students welcome to contact the instructor in advance to discuss goals for the workshop.

The Guildford Book Festival
10am to noon
Monday 10th to Friday 14th October

£15 per session (or £60 for all five sessions booked in advance)
£14/£55 concessions
Guildhall (Mon-Thurs), Upstairs at The March Hare (Fri only)

Held over five weekday mornings during the Festival, each lesson will focus on a different aspect of the writing process. You can take part in as many lessons as you like, but if you sign up for the entire week in advance you get the fifth lesson free.

Classes are practical in nature so come prepared with paper and pen. For the last 30 minutes of each class there will be a special guest speaker, either an author or a publishing professional, offering top tips and advice, with a chance to ask questions.

Monday: Getting Started
Tuesday: Plotting Your Story
Wednesday: Writing Dialogue
Thursday: Defining Characters
Friday: Getting Published

Braemar Arts Festival
All day
21 and 22 October

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the Braemar Arts Festival. The town, the people, the activities, the landscape, the warmth of the community on cold nights. The Braemar Arts Festival makes me happy.

Every year I teach a two day intensive writing workshop that’s open to both returners and beginners. We spend the two days working as a team to help each person achieve their individual writing goals, and in the process learn a little about writing character, developing plot, and turning a phrase.

Come along and join us.

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A New Venture

1*5ztbgEt4NqpVaxTc64C-XAI’ve put my first piece on Medium. Not the usual teaching or writing stuff that you’d find here. Mostly lefty socio-political ramblings. If you want to read it go to: 

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Quick Post – Anonymity and Academic Blogging

For the academics who want to start blogging, but who are worried about anonymity, this post from ‘Shit Academics Say’ is an excellent piece about just that subject.

How I Lost My Voice by Psyc Girl

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You are a Writing God

Recently, I’ve repeatedly heard new creative writing students state variants of the following of phrase, ‘I didn’t know what to write next, so I just made this up’.

My response, ‘Of course you made it up. It’s fiction.’ Continue reading

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Another great Festival in Braemar


The River Dee passes through Braemar

For the past four Octobers, I have spent several days in Braemar working with creative writers as part of the Braemar Arts Festival. It is regularly the highlight of my creative year, and this Festival was no different. Continue reading

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Quick Post: Prepositions

Image from SheWrites Grammergency.

Image from SheWrites Grammergency.

If you’ve ever had a problem with the preposition, check out SheWrite’s piece ‘Preposterous Prepositions.’

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Quick Post: No age or gender limits

We know that men are dominating literary discourse, and we know that more men are nominated for literary prizes than women. However, there are two rays of sunshine in this murky publishing landscape.

In 2018, the small press And Other Stories will only publish books by women, and the Huffington Post has gathered a list of the top ten women who published after the age of 40.

The Huffington Post list is only as important as the actions of And Other Stories if you read the list, go out and buy these books, and continue to read the work of other women authors.

So, go and so that. Now.

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