I am so excited to be teaching one of the Write Mentor writing weekends – this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for as an emerging writer living in the north – and I’m really looking forward to it.
Let me offer some background now about my experience: I’ve been writing for fifteen years or so. I’ve written contemporary realist YA – Eden Summer – and middle grade fantasy – Dragon Daughter, both published by David Fickling Books. I previously worked as a commissioning editor in the children’s book industry, and I also ran Lumb Bank, one of Arvon’s creative writing centres – so all of my working life has been about children’s books and supporting writers. I now teach Creative Writing in universities, in schools and on residential courses, and I love meeting new writers and helping them take the next step on their writing journey.
I hope the weekend will generate some new material and new ideas, but I’m also happy to answer questions about your current writing project. The overview looks like this:
SAT AM: Workshop One: Creating Character.
I love working in a visual way, and I’ve collected a huge file of interesting photographs of people – using these, you will build a new character and start imagining their lives, leading to a short piece of writing. You can take this away for developing a new project, or weave it into your own work-in-progress.
SAT PM: Workshop Two: Landscape and Memory.
One of our richest resources is the stuff of our own lives, all the memories we don’t even realise we have. I’ll invite you to remember a place from early childhood where you felt content, and then, by drawing, doodling and talking about it, this will spark a brand new scene. Again, this could be woven into a longer piece, or used as a launch pad for a new story.
SUN AM: Workshop Three: Story Structure.
Our brains are wired in a way that seeks story everywhere. We all consume stories in many many forms, and this fun workshop aims to show writers how much we already know about structure. Whether you’re a planner or a pantser, at some point we all need to get to grips with the shape of our story – this workshop will offer some tips about how to do that.
SUN PM: Workshop Four: Folktale and Myth Revisited.
Folktale and myth are constantly retold, borrowed and recycled, reappearing everywhere from ads to films to novels. By focusing on tales we love, we can add richness and colour, taking risks and reinventing familiar characters and scenarios to make something new and unique.
I hope that sounds tempting to you! Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. I look forward to meeting you in Leeds in February.
One-to-ones will be run by Mark Illis, a hugely experienced writer, who has written for television, for adults, and now for young people. He combines years of teaching and writing expertise with a gentle and supportive manner. A fantastic opportunity to work with an expert with a real breadth of knowledge.
Liz Flanagan is an award-winning author based in West Yorkshire. Her books include Dragon Daughter and Eden Summer. She has completed a PhD in Creative Writing, and now divides her time between teaching – currently at Newcastle University – and writing. Previously, Liz was Director of the Ted Hughes Arvon writing centre, and before that worked in children’s publishing. Her passion for reading, writing and children’s books has been a constant thread throughout.
Mark’s Young Adult novel THE IMPOSSIBLE was published in 2017. The sequel came out last year. He has previously had three novels for adults published by Bloomsbury, and two by Salt – including THE LAST WORD, which was shortlisted for the Portico Prize. His short stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies. Mark’s also had three radio plays broadcast, and has written extensively for TV – including episodes of EastEnders, The Bill, Peak Practice and Emmerdale. He is currently working on the CBBC show JamieJohnson and is developing an original drama with Lime Productions. He lives in Yorkshire with his wife and two children.