I’m really excited to be involved with Write Mentor’s great new initiative – Writing Weekends! My Bristol workshops on the 18th and 19th of January are centred on writing fantasy for all ages. I wanted to tell you a little bit about what’s on offer and how I’m hoping to help you…

Firstly, what qualifies me to speak on the subject? Well, I’m the author of a YA fantasy novel myself – We Are Blood and Thunder – which was published April 2019 (a second fantasy novel is to follow in 2020). In addition, I’m Senior Editor at Chicken House, where I work on and acquire fantasy books (among others) for children – everything from the brilliantly cosy middle-grade Apprentice Witch series by James Nicol to Anna Day’s heart-pounding Fandom series, aimed at YA readers. In addition, I’ve paired up with bestselling historical fantasy author and creative writing tutor Natasha Pulley (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, The Bedlam Stacks) who’s agreed to offer 1-2-1 sessions with all attendees. She’s an inspirational and razor-sharp writing tutor who really understands not only fantasy in general, but the mainstream fantasy market.

What all successful fantasy has in common, regardless of the age-group it’s aimed at, is absorbing, entrancing world-building, believable heroes and villains and a brilliant plot. But if you’re trying to write a fantasy novel of your own, all of this is easier said than done! Sometimes it’s difficult to find the space and time to explore new and exciting ideas – and that’s part of what I wanted to offer writers in my workshops. I’ll be encouraging all of my attendees to develop a totally new idea during the weekend and to let their imaginations run wild. There will be plenty of writing time built into the sessions – as well as prompts, insights and helpful tips. It’ll also be an opportunity to share your writing with like-minded people – as an editor I know that sometimes it’s in talking about your work that you find your best ideas. Here’s a little preview of what we’ll be looking at…

Discovering your world: How to find and map a unique fantasy universe

This workshop will revolve around one of my absolute favourite exercises: drawing a map! Mapping involves so much more than simply a physical environment – there are obstacles, world-building elements and mysteries hidden in your world. As part of this I’ll be showing you how I approached the task of building my own fantasy world of Valorian (including some of my own original, terrible maps…!).

Meeting your characters: How to create a compelling hero/villain dynamic

This workshop is all about character and will involve a few smaller exercises designed to build up a hero and villain rivalry. We’ll be exploring how flipping the perspective of a scene can add complexity to your characters – and discussing what makes a really terrifying and convincing villain.

Fantasy elements and magic systems: How to cast a spell over your reader

I’ll be leading you through some of the most unique and compelling fantasy elements I’ve come across – why do they work so well? You’ll come up with quickfire ideas about your own fantasy elements and I’ll lead you through some intense but hopefully very productive writing sprints!

Plotting a fantasy novel: How to structure your story

Plotting is a word that sends lots of writers (including me!) into a right tizz. But I’ll be drawing on my editorial experience to show you there’s nothing to be frightened of. I’ll use the five-act structure to take you through creating plot plan including all the elements you’ve already gathered from our other sessions.

You’ll be leaving Bristol, I hope, with a bunch of great material which will help form the foundations for your fantasy novel – as well as some feedback from a truly inspiring bestselling author, Natasha Pulley. I want you to go away feeling energised and reading to begin your New Year, New Novel!

Hope to see you there…

BRISTOL – #WriteMentor Writing Weekend Workshops

Kesia Lupo studied History at Oxford and Creative Writing at Bath Spa. She is the author of YA fantasy novel We Are Blood and Thunder and also works as Senior Editor at Chicken House, a children’s book publisher based in Somerset.

Kesia also offers a self-editing course via WriteMentor. Click here for more details:

Self-Editing with Kesia Lupo