Taunton Writing Weekend

We’re so excited to meet you and work with you at our Taunton Write Mentor Weekend on 15thand 16thFebruary. What a great way to launch into 2020!

We thought now would be a good time to tell you a little bit more about what we’ll all be doing on the days and about how we’re hoping to help you.


Hello, writers! I’m Sophie. I write mostly for middle grade readers and my debut novel The Wild Way Home will be coming out with Bloomsbury in July, with another to follow in 2021. I also write poetry for children. Alongside my own creative work, I love helping other writers shape their writing and I’ve been doing this for over twenty years. I’ve led workshops for adults and for young people in all kinds of crazy places – from the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh to Thomas Hardy’s Cottage in Dorset. In my supportive and fun workshops I aim to strike a happy balance between inspiration and crafting – I want writers to come away buzzing with new ideas but also with a reinforced tool-kit of ways to bring these new ideas to life on the page. Here is some feedback I’ve had from my previous work with writers: “An amazing workshop!” A.C. “Sophie is nothing short of brilliant.” C.V.  “It is creative, exciting and fun…my writing has really benefited as a result.” A.L.


Hello, writers! My name is Damaris, author of The Switching Hour, a story about a girl who must rescue her brother from a terrifying dream-eating creature before she forgets her brother exists! My second novel will be published this year. I write middle grade books, although I am also interested in writing for younger readers and young adults in the future. I wrote my debut on the acclaimed Writing For Young People MA at Bath Spa University, where I was given the tools to unlock my storytelling potential. Since then, I have led writing workshops where I explore how to build exceptional and believable worlds, as well as focusing on the villains of the story, who are just as important as the heroes!

In our Write Mentor Weekend workshops we’d like to help you to develop flexible skills which can be adapted to suit whatever age, stage or genre your writing is grounded in. These workshops are all about reciprocity and sharing – we’ll all learn from each other throughout the weekend as we hone our writing in an open-minded, warm and supportive environment.


SAT AM: Workshop One: Damaris – A Whole New World!

Creating a world where your characters can live and your story can develop is incredibly exciting. The possibilities are endless! It could be a world where gravity doesn’t exist, or where money doesgrow on trees, or where the kingdom is ruled by giant lizards, imagine that! BUT (and this is a big but) your world has to be believable, and certain rules must be followed. If there’s no gravity in your world, whyis there no gravity? How has life adapted to the lack of gravity? In this workshop, we’ll be delving into our worlds though map drawing, research, mood boards and supportive discussion, resulting in worlds that our readers are going to want to experience for themselves!


SAT PM: Workshop Two: Sophie – Poem Power!

Sometimes writers (and readers!) are scared of poetry; this workshop seeks to take those fears by the horns and throw them all out the window! In our session we’ll explore different kinds of poems (funny, lyrical, poignant, playful); we’ll experiment with finding our very own poetry flavours through a series of fun writing activitiesand we’ll also look at how to harness the poetry writing skills we’ve developed and use these productively within other forms of writing. Poetry is your friend and poetry is powerful!


SUN AM: Workshop Three: Sophie – ‘Heaven in a Wildflower’

Through writing we take our readers to brave new worlds, opening others’ eyes to the things we perceive. This multi-sensory workshop will focus on our natural world, on noticing what exists around us and writing it anew. We’ll do some activities which involve writing big to capture wider settingand some which involve writing small, to focus on tiny details. We’ll then experiment with ways to weave these techniques together to create a written world which feels atmospheric and convincing and true.


SAT PM: Workshop Two: Damaris – Getting To The Heart Of Your Villain

Every story needs a great villain! Think of Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil, and Count Olafin A Series of Unfortunate Events. Villains should be as complicated as the protagonists, with a backstory, motivations, fears and flaws, but in they can often get overlooked. In this workshop, we will delve into the dastardly hearts of our villains and expose their true selves, through writing activities, discussion and character building. By the end of the workshop, we will have created antagonists that are so multifaceted they could get their own spin-off movie.


You’ll be able to really personalise your Writing Weekend too with a 1:1 session with the brilliant C.J. Skuse. C.J. is not only a best-selling author of fiction for both adults and young people, but she’s also a tutor on the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University AND she hasworked in publishing from 2008, most recently as head reader for The Chicken House. Thanks to all her expertise, C.J. will be able to discuss your own writing with you from a variety of really constructive angles.


We want you to leave the Taunton Write Mentor Weekend feeling refreshed, inspired and full of new skills which will guide you onwards on your writing pathway.


We look forward to seeing you there!

Damaris, Sophie and C.J.




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