I run day courses on novel writing at RISC, London Road, Reading, Berkshire UK. I am currently planning to run several courses in 2013.
The price for the day is £80 per person, which includes tea or coffee and a sandwich lunch. There’s a £5 discount (so you pay only £75) if you bring homemade cake to share!
If you’re interested in any of these, or in the retreat, or have any questions, please email me using the ‘contact’ link above.
BEGINNING NOVEL WRITING (group limited to 15 people only)
Saturday 9 March, 10-6
Have you always wanted to write a novel, but don’t know how to start? Have you started writing a novel, but don’t know how to finish?
This one-day course introduces you to the basics of novel writing: creating character, structuring your plot and developing your writing style. It will give you tips on how to carve out time for your writing and, once you’ve finished, how to start revising and looking at markets for your work. It is suitable for writers working on any kind or genre of novel.
This course is limited to 15 people and includes many practical exercises (and cake). Although primarily aimed at absolute beginners, it could also be a useful refresher for someone who has started on their second manuscript.
ADVANCED NOVEL WRITING with Julie and guest tutor LEE WEATHERLY (group limited to 15 people only)
Saturday 15th June, 10-6
If you’ve finished or nearly finished at least one novel and are ready to learn more, this is the course for you.
This course will help you revise and polish your novel and get you ready to submit it to an agent or editor. It covers advanced conflict, pacing and story structure, writing your synopsis and putting together your submission package. Activities are a mix of discussion, workshopping, critique, and hard serious work (fuelled by cake).
The price includes a written critique of either the first page of your novel, the one-page synopsis of your novel, or your submission cover letter.
It is suitable for writers working on any kind or genre of novel, and it’s a useful follow-up to the Beginning Novel Writing Course.
About guest tutor Lee Weatherly (15 June course): Lee Weatherly is an award-winning children’s author of over 40 books in more than 10 different languages. Her bestselling YA dark romance trilogy, Angel, is currently under option for film; the final book in the series, Angel Fever, is due out in 2013. Lee is the co-author of Write a Blockbuster and Get it Published, and is an experienced writing coach, editor and tutor.
WRITING SEX with Julie and guest tutor ALANA JAMES (group limited to 15 people only)
Saturday 18th May, 10-6, RISC
Sexy writing is big business, but many people feel uncomfortable or don’t know where to start.
You may want to write sex scenes as part of a longer mainstream or genre novel. Or, you may want to look into a career writing erotic short stories or novels. Either way, this course will help you improve your sexy writing. We’ll look at character, conflict, language and setting in sex scenes; talk about using your story’s erotic potential, and how to get the words down on the page. And how to learn to ignore your inner mother. There will be practical exercises (and cake) and a frank talk about the market.
This course is open to experienced and new writers, but it does require participants to have a sense of humour and adventure, and be open to reading and writing graphic language and imagery. It’s fun and informative and we won’t be talking about actual sex at all: only writing it.
About guest tutor Alana James: Alana James runs a local erotic book-club. Her erotic fiction has been published in print and online, by Xcite, Scarlet magazine, and the Erotic Readers and Writers Association amongst others. She won second prize in the Erotic Review 2011 competition, and her stories are featured in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 11 and the upcoming Mammoth Book of Erotic Quickies. Alana’s mother has described her erotic writing to her grandmother, “It’s porn, Nana, porn!”
ADVANCED NOVEL WRITING RETREAT (5 people) This has now been FULLY BOOKED.
Date: 8-10 November, 2013, Retreats for You, Sheepwash, Devon. £250 for single room, £230 for shared room, including accommodation, all meals, and tuition
This is a two-day writing retreat/course for a strictly limited number of people, for intensive work on an ongoing project.
Julie will work with each writer individually on their book, offering critiques, brainstorming and advice. The group will also work together to help each other. And there will be quiet time just to write or reflect.
This retreat is quite intense, so advanced writers only. Julie will have to be familiar with your work before you are accepted on the retreat, so if you have not worked with her before, you will need to discuss your writing with Julie before you make a booking.
All writers will be expected to share the first three chapters and synopsis of their current novel in progress in advance of the retreat.
Here are some comments from writers who have taken my courses:
I found the content excellent and your methods have encouraged me to keep going.
You are a truly inspirational teacher!
A brilliant and informative day.
You’re very good at encouraging students to find their own conclusions rather than just telling them the answer. I had a couple of big revelations about my WIP during the day that came out of exercises or conversations you had set up, but felt as if I’d completely worked it out for myself.
I do a variety of writing workshops for groups, and I’ve delivered them to professional writing groups, students of creative writing, aspiring authors and creative writing associations, teachers, secondary school pupils, and reading groups, in libraries, classrooms, conferences and universities, in the UK and the US, and even on television.
My most popular workshops are:
Creating Character. This is a hands-on, practical workshop on creating a character from scratch. Participants start with a blank piece of paper, and by the end of the workshop they have a fully-rounded character and have practised several techniques on how to best create character.
Writing Sex Scenes. This is a fun, practical and slightly raunchy workshop on creating sensual sex scenes that have real emotional depth. It involves strawberries and chocolate and is by far my most popular workshop.
First Hundred Words Challenge. Editors, agents and readers say that the first few hundred words of a novel can make them decide whether to read on or not. Are your first hundred words as good as they can be?
Learning Story Structure from Pixar Films. Yes, they’re kids’ films, but they can teach writers a lot about storytelling. I break down techniques in the films using examples and clips. (This is the workshop that reduced 80 romantic novelists to tears.)
In addition, I have already-prepared and well-received workshops on Getting Published, Self-Editing, Pacing, Story Structure, and Creating Point of View (the latter specially designed to fit in with current A-level English Literature and Language and Literature curricula). And I can often adapt or create a new workshop according to a group’s needs.
Please contact me using the “contact” link above if you’d like to discuss my giving a workshop to your group.
2013: My new book, DEAR THING, will be out in hardback in April 2013. This is my first book with my new publishers, Transworld, and it’s a departure in content as well—a heartbreaking, emotional story about two women and one baby.
2012: THE SUMMER OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY is out in mass-market paperback in March 2012. A cross between a contemporary novel and a Regency romance, it’s the story of a failed would-be novelist who gets a job as a historical interpreter in a stately home, where they’re re-creating the summer of 1814. ‘Wonderful…moving and heartbreaking and funny and real’
Also, look out for my short stories in S Magazine (March) and Your Cat magazine (March) and my article in RWR Magazine (May).
GETTING AWAY WITH IT is published as DE STUNT VAN HAAR LEVEN by de Kern in the Netherlands, and as MIT DEN AUGEN MEINER SCHWESTER by Diana in Germany. Both are out in May 2012.
Please click the links for more information and tickets.
- 6 March, 2012: Girls’ Night Out at Essex Book Festival with Jill Mansell and Sasha Wagstaff. 8 pm, Maldon Library, Maldon More info here
- 15 March, 2012: I’ll be on BBC Radio Berkshire’s culture panel with Sarah Walker at 2 pm Listen here
- 16 March, 2012: 14/4 Literary Dinner. 7 pm, The Harte and Garter Hotel, Windsor More info here
- 17 March 2012: I’ll be signing copies of The Summer of Living Dangerously in Waterstones, The Oracle, Reading
- 21 April, 2012: I’m giving a workshop on Writing Sex Scenes at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. 2 pm, The Chequers Inn, Chipping Norton More info here
- 26 May, 2012: Advanced Novel Writing course, 10 am to 6 pm, RISC, London Street, Reading. More information in ‘Courses’ below. FULLY BOOKED
- 30 May, 2012: Orange Prize Night panel at Windsor Library, 8 pm
- 28 June, 2012: Girls’ Night In with Adele Parks and Nicola Doherty, Gosport Discovery Centre, 7 pm.
- 13-15 July, 2012: The Romantic Novelists’ Association conference at the University of Cumbria in Penrith. I’ll be giving a talk on ‘Learning Story Structure from Pixar Films’. More info here
- 7-9 September, 2012: The Festival of Writing, York University. I’ll be giving workshops (titles TBC) and taking appointments as a book doctor. More info here
- 13 October, 2012: Advanced Novel Writing course, 10 am to 6 pm, RISC, London Street, Reading. More information in ‘Courses’ below.
If you sign up for my newsletter (hint hint) by using the form on the bottom of this page, you can get news of my contests and books straight into your inbox.