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Density and Speed: Crafting Space and Time in Writing

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

This day-long masterclass is designed for writers of fiction or narrative nonfiction who want to go deeper in their exploration of practical skills, with a particular emphasis on intuitive techniques for creating evocative writing and telling well-paced stories. Drawing on contemplative approaches to creativity (e.g., don’t grasp; be patient), we’ll use exercises, readings and discussion to experiment with new ways to energise and focus our writing. The day will also include a Q&A on book publicity with PR Alison Menzies.


Program for the day

  • 10.00–10.45: Crafting Space: Building scenes with depth and texture - description, tone, narrative distance, stance, perspective, and scale (including word count)

  • 10.45-11.30: Playing With Empty Space: Working with gaps, stillness, subtext and the unsaid, including a brief meditation exercise

  • 11.30–11.45: Break (tea, coffee and cake provided)

  • 11.45–12.45: Crafting Time: Thinking about pace, suspense, speeding up and slowing down, jumps in time, tense, structure, and duration

  • 12.45–14:00: Lunch (we can offer recommendations for places to find lunch nearby at London Bridge and Borough Market)

  • 14.00–15.30: Experiments With Time and Space: Exploring different forms of time, going beyond the conventional narrative arc, and mining the workings of memory and desire

  • 15.30–15.45: Break (tea, coffee and cake provided)

  • 15.45–17.00: Industry speaker: Q&A with book PR Alison Menzies: bring your questions about book publicity and creating a profile as an author


Recommended reading:

A brief writing experiment as well as reading recommendations will be circulated a few weeks before the class. We shall look at ‘Brokeback Mountain’ by Annie Proulx, among other texts.


Workshop Leader

Andrew Wille is a book doctor and writing teacher. At Little, Brown and as a freelance editor he has published and edited many bestselling and critically acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. After studying and later teaching at University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, he introduced contemplative and intuitive approaches to creativity into his work. He writes fiction and nonfiction, and also blogs and offers resources on writing and publishing at www.wille.org.

Industry Guest

Alison Menzies: I have always worked in general trade publishing, beginning my career in the PR departments of Jonathan Cape, Picador and LittleBrown. For the past 15 years, I have been an independent publicist representing small publishers and individuals, and providing in-house support for the likes of HarperCollins, Hodder General Books, Penguin and Pan MacMillan. @alisonmenziespr