Registered charity 1059047 (unmaintained legacy site – official site: www.nawg.co.uk)

The National Association of Writers' Groups

HomeEventsNAWGFest ♦ NAWGFest 2017: Workshops

NAWGFest 2017: Workshops

Please note that the information given here relates to a previous event.

You can visit our NAWGFest main page for the latest information.

Here are the details of the workshops for NAWGFest 2017.

Also on the site are mini-biographies and photos for the festival tutors and speakers.

Bookable Workshops

There are twenty four workshops to choose from, all of which will add to and compliment your writing skills…

Here's a quick summary of the workshops. Click the name links for workshop details.

Tutor Workshop Sat Sun
Anita Loughrey Biog Writing Children's Books Starting with Theme AM
Writing Children's Books Starting with Character PM
Creating Conflict in Children's Books AM
Creating Emotion in Children's Books PM
Stephen Booth Biog Let's start at the beginning AM
Don't tell them a thing! PM
Meanwhile, back at the station… AM
Where will it all end? PM
Cressida Downing Biog Mistakes in Creative Writing AM
Submission overview PM
Synopsis masterclass AM
Working with an editor PM
Tim Wilson Biog Writing Historical Fiction: Background and Structure AM
Writing Historical Fiction: Character and Language PM
Make Your Short Story Stand Out AM
Short Stories: Economy and Pace PM
Alison Chisholm Biog Devise your own poetry form AM
Underground poetry PM
Season's greetings AM
Your life in a poem PM
Steve Bowkett Biog Learn Self-Hypnosis to Develop Your Creativity AM PM
with Fran Flint Biog AM PM
Anita Loughrey
Saturday AM (Loughrey) Writing Children's Books Starting with Theme

This workshop will give you the opportunity to explore writing a picture book looking in depth at picture book structure, layout and theme as a basis to writing your own picture book. The aim is to plot and start writing a new picture book idea by the end of the workshop to take home and polish.

Saturday PM (Loughrey) Writing Children's Books Starting with Character

The focus of this fun workshop is to create a children's book character and get to know them thoroughly by looking at dialogue and finding your character's voice through role play and games. The aim is to come away with a new idea for a children's story.

Sunday AM (Loughrey) Creating Conflict in Children's Books

Conflict is a storyteller's best friend. The stronger the problem, the stronger the story. This workshop will suggest ways of developing conflict in your children's stories using real life case studies as a way to develop your plots.

Sunday PM (Loughrey) Creating Emotion in Children's Books

This workshop will give you an opportunity to write a wide variety of emotional scenes by exploring your own senses. Play with all five senses to keep your readers involved, maybe off balance, but always interested in what is coming next.

Stephen Booth
Saturday AM (Booth) Let's start at the beginning

This workshop looks at creating a gripping opening for a crime novel. How do we grab a reader's attention and draw them into the story? And what other purpose does the opening serve? When is it right to use a prologue?

Saturday PM (Booth) Don't tell them a thing!

What exactly does "Show, Don't Tell" mean for your crime novel? This workshop considers the importance of point of view, how much information you should give away, and how to make full use of the reader's own imagination.

Sunday AM (Booth) Meanwhile, back at the station…

Looks at the types and sources of authentic background information, and how to make the best use of them. Just how much procedural or forensic detail should you use in a crime novel? And how important is it to get those details right?

Sunday PM (Booth) Where will it all end?

Readers and publishers all love a series. But how do you build characters and situations which have the potential to run and run? Do you need to plan story arc for your series? And exactly what is it that keeps readers coming back for more?

Cressida Downing
Saturday AM (Downing) Mistakes in Creative Writing

Common mistakes overcome in simple exercises covering Dialogue, Characters and Descriptions.

We all start by making very similar mistakes but it can be hard to spot them when it's your work, and even harder to know what to do about them! A very hands-on workshop with practical tips and exercises to improve everybody's writing.

Participants need: No prior experience, no homework, just paper and pen.

Saturday PM (Downing) Submission overview

How to submit your work to agents and publishers – all the top tips for when and how to get your writing considered in its very best light. Advice from someone who often sifts through the slush pile – what makes me keep reading?

Detailed handouts on submission techniques and a bonus guide on using apostrophes correctly!

Sunday AM (Downing) Synopsis masterclass

Bring your synopsis for an on-the-spot response to how well you've summed up your book, and thoughts on your plot. What a synopsis is and what it isn't. Why they are important.

Bring your synopsis and there will be detailed handouts.

Sunday PM (Downing) Working with an editor

Workshop on how to get the best out of using an editor at any stage of your writing. Presentation followed by a question and answer session.

Handout on different sorts of editing and a flow-chart on working out where your writing is and what editing you need.

Tim Wilson
Saturday AM (Wilson) Writing Historical Fiction: Background and Structure

How to integrate historical background authentically and without 'info-dumps', and create an effective story structure from historical material.

Saturday PM (Wilson) Writing Historical Fiction: Character and Language

Looking at the special challenges of characterisation in a historical setting, how to make people of the past come to life, and how to avoid 'gadzookery' in language.

Sunday AM (Wilson) Make Your Short Story Stand Out

With competitions galore for the aspiring short story writer, this workshop will show you how to make your story grabbing, individual and satisfying – and above all, what to avoid.

Sunday PM (Wilson) Short Stories: Economy and Pace

The most demanding of forms, the short story highlights the importance of what you leave out. This workshop will concentrate on cutting, sharpening, and cutting again.

Alison Chisholm
Saturday AM (Chisholm) Devise your own poetry form

The pattern in which your poem presents itself is as much a part of the artistry as the words you select. This workshop will look at the options available to you; and everyone will have the opportunity to demonstrate how combining these elements and setting the 'rules' can produce a dynamic new structure to give to the world.

Saturday PM (Chisholm) Underground poetry

Poets usually seek inspiration from their memories, the world around them, and the broadest reaches of their imagination. In this workshop we go digging, and explore the poetry sources beneath our feet. From mole to coal, from tube to tuber, we'll 'root' exciting new poems under the earth.

Sunday AM (Chisholm) Season's greetings

How to write original poems for Christmas. Set your pen jingling and create fresh, new poems to replace the round robin letter, present to your local radio station, perform at concerts or parties, and give the children in your life a fascinating Advent challenge to rival the best chocolate calendars.

Sunday PM (Chisholm) Your life in a poem

The techniques of pinpointing a period of your life, and writing a long poem or a poetry sequence to celebrate it. Whether you want to leave a record for your family's interest or the world's fascination, this workshop will show you how to go about the preparation, writing and self-publication of your story.

Steve Bowkett with Fran Flint
Learn Self-Hypnosis to Develop Your Creativity

Steve and Fran are offering two sets of two workshops. To complete the course you must book either pair:

(Bowkett – 1) Saturday morning and afternoon.


(Bowkett – 2) Sunday morning and afternoon.

Each session will begin with a guided meditation; mindfulness based stress reduction, by Fran Flint; lasting 20—30 minutes.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us.

While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it's more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.

Whenever you bring awareness to what you're directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you're being mindful.


Mindfulness based stress reduction is a wonderful way to build self-awareness and resilience. It can also help you connect fully with the present, and so feel grounded and able to manage day to day life decisions and opportunities.

Fran will offer you meditations and tips to help you be fully present in this moment, relaxed and ready to work with Steve.

Hypnosis is a normal and natural state of mind very like daydreaming. In hypnosis your attention is turned inwards to some degree and the mind is settled. It's much easier in this state to notice the drift of your thoughts. These can be consciously constructed or you can as it were 'just sit and watch' images arising spontaneously from the subconscious part of the mind, where the roots of our creativity lie. The skill of self-hypnosis can be quickly and easily learned. Being in hypnosis is in itself profoundly relaxing (though it is not sleep!) and you return to normal everyday consciousness feeling refreshed. More importantly, the state of hypnosis allows access to the subconscious and our amazing resources of memory and imagination.

The course will include:

  • An overview of how creativity can be developed when the conscious and subconscious parts of the mind work together.
  • An explanation of what hypnosis is, how it can be used therapeutically (i.e. a brief discussion of hypnotherapy) and how learning the skill of self-hypnosis can benefit writers.
  • Sessions where hypnosis is used with a particular emphasis on writing – visualisations, imagined conversations with your fictional characters, putting yourself into locations that feature in your work, generating ideas for future projects etc.
  • Steve can offer hypnotherapy to help resolve writing related issues such as writer's block. These sessions can be on a one-to-one basis if preferred or as a demonstration to the group.
  • One-to-one sessions to discuss aspects of your writing are also available. Note however that you can book either a one-to-one hypnosis session or a writing consultation (due to constraints of time). Bookings taken at the festival.
  • Each course member will receive a pack of handouts and also a self-hypnosis relaxation CD so that you can practise your newly learned skill after the course has finished.

This course is completed within two workshop sessions, two on Saturday or two on Sunday. They will be identical – do not book all sessions.

Article Actions
Article Information
Posted by: Kevin Machin Date: January 31, 2017 11:29 am
Categories: NAWGFest Tags: NAWGFest 2017, past
Comments: 0 – permitted Article: 5438 – public
Legacy copy – all further commenting is disabled site-wide.

article as:

Get Creative logo

Competition & Mentorships

We are proud to be associated with the Highlands & Islands Short Story Association.



  • Book Printing
  • Self Publishing
  • Anthologies
  • Hard and Soft Back Book Production
  • Free guide and sample book

CMP (uk) Ltd

G3 The Fulcrum, Vantage Way, Poole, Dorset, BH12 4HU

Telephone: 01202 739993