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Crafting Character and Setting: A Masterclass

  • The London Bridge Hive 1 Melior Place SE1 3SZ London (map)

***SOLD OUT***
In this masterclass we’ll look at intuitive ways to bring characters and settings to life in our stories. We’ll use selections of readings from a variety of genres, and put some of our ideas into practice with writing exercises. We’ll end the day with an informal Q&A with industry speaker Christina Macphail, International Business Development Manager at Agatha Christie Limited, who has extensive experience in sales and rights for both adult and children's books.

Program for the day

  • 10.00–10.45: Playing Parts: Bringing characters to life with types and telling details

  • 10.45-11.30: Inner Landscapes: Digging deeper with character: desires, conflicts, and secrets

  • 11.30–11.45: Break

  • 11.45–12.45: Building Worlds: Creating foundations for our stories with settings in time and place

  • 12.45–14:00: Lunch (we can give recommendations for places nearby at London Bridge and Borough Market

  • 14.00–15.15: Mapping Our Journeys: Combining character and setting with point of view to find focus for our storytelling

  • 15.15–15.30: Break

  • 15.30–16.45: Industry speaker: Q&A with Christina Macphail of Agatha Christie Limited

  • 16.45–17.00: Final wrap-up:

Reading Prep

You don’t need to read all of the books below to take part in the class, but I may be using examples taken from them during the course of the day. Dip in to samples from at least the openings and continue with any that capture your interest.

Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr Ripley

Tove Jansson, Finn Family Moomintroll

Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City

Annie Proulx, ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (in her collection Close Range)

Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge

JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

Workshop Leader

Andrew Wille is an editor, book doctor, and writer. As senior editor at Little, Brown & Company in London and as a freelance editor, he has worked with many bestselling and award-winning authors. He studied and taught writing and publishing at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement, and is particularly interested in contemplative and intuitive approaches to writing. More info and his blog at

Industry Guest: Christina Macphail

After a degree in English Literature, Christina Macphail started her career in publishing selling rights for Macdonald & Co. (later Little, Brown UK) -  predominantly US, translation, book club, and serial.  This was followed by a move into Export Sales & Marketing at Little, Brown UK, representing the Little, Brown UK and US lists in Europe, Asia, the Indian sub-continent, sub-Saharan Africa, South America and the Caribbean.  A move to Universal Studios Consumer Products combined both Rights and Export Sales skills, managing film and TV tie-in publishing to Universal Studios and DreamWorks properties in international markets.  Several years at IP owner/manager Chorion focused on the licensing of children’s properties, such as Noddy and Mr. Men, in the UK, in addition to managing the Enid Blyton Estate in the English language.  Now International Business Development Manager at Agatha Christie Limited, Christina manages the international publishing rights to the Agatha Christie Estate, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. 

Earlier Event: November 24
The Craft of Voice