Saturday, 30 April 2016

Today at Cleckheaton Literature Festival - Saturday 30 April 2016

In the penultimate day of Cleckheaton Literature Festival 2016, attendees can look forward to:

Saturday 30 April 2016

10-12 Barbara Henderson Writing for Children Masterclass £6
12-1 Kirklees Loves & Dough Family show - Cooking and performance FREE
1-3 Julie Pryke Telling Tales Workshop £3 adults children FREE (Heckmondwike Library)
1-3 Alison Lock Author and Publishers talk: with Dr Teika Bellamy of MothersMilkBooks £6
3-4 Kirklees Loves & Dough Family show - Cooking and performance FREE
4-6 Julie Pryke Telling Tales Workshop £3 adults children FREE

All events take place at Cleckheaton Library unless otherwise specified

Please be aware that the following events have been cancelled:

10-12 Patricia Duncker Beginning Writing Masterclass
1-3 Patricia Duncker Author talk: Sophie and the Sibyl
7-9 Crime Panel with David Mark, Nick Quantrill and James Nash

Please be aware the following events have been cancelled for Sunday 1 May:

11-12 Horatio Clare Author talk: Aubrey and the terrible Yoot
1-3 Martyn Bedford Short Story Creative Writing Workshop
4-6 James Nash Author talk: Cinema Stories

We hope to reschedule these at a later date.

Tomorrow, Sunday 1 May, don't forget Andy Kershaw at Cleckheaton Town Hall 7-LATE

To pre-book tickets:

To view full information on all our events, see our website:

Friday, 29 April 2016

Today at Cleckheaton Literature 2016 - Friday 29 April

Today at Cleckheaton Literature Festival attendees can look forward to:

Friday 29 April 2016

10-12 Jason Hewitt Building Characters 10 practical steps £6
1-3 Noel Whittall Poetry Workshop £5
4-6 Barbara Henderson Short Fiction Masterclass £6

All events take place at Cleckheaton Library, Cleckheaton Library, Whitcliffe Road, Cleckheaton, BD19 3DX .

The Mark Grist solo performance due to take place at 7pm has now been moved to later in the year, details to follow in a future post.

To pre-book your tickets: or buy on the door

To get further information on all our great events:

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Today at Cleckheaton Literature Festival 2016 - Thursday 28 April

Jason Hewitt and Stephen Michael Moore

Today at Cleckheaton Literature Festival attendees can look forward to:

10-12 Stephen Michael Moore Structure and Introduction to a Story's Principal Characters  £6
1-3 Jason Hewitt Author talk: Devastation Road £6
1.30-3 Threshold creative writing workshop in association with Creative Scene FREE
4-6 Stephen Michael Moore Author Talk: The road to publication: The Washington Adventure £6
7-9 Threshold Performance £5 with cake

Details of all our great events:

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Cleckheaton Literature Festival Iain Pattison Short Story Workshop review - 21/4/16

On 21st of April Cleckheaton Literature Festival 2016 started with a Short Story Workshop with Iain Pattison.

Iain has been writing for 42 years for a living, 20 years in newspapers then in fiction, specialising in short stories and horror/dark fantasy under the pen name Jay Raven.  He judges 6 competitions a year, including Writers Bureau competition and also teaches creative writing and written/marked distance learning courses for short stories.  He explained how he came up with his pen name and revealed that he writes from 9am - 4pm in the afternoon and churns out stories, but he replicates again, again and again every day.  The reader does not see the formula, just the shiny story at the end.

He asked which of the attendees had been published and then dealt with Headings. He believes there are parameters, two lengths women's magazines, 800 and 2-2.5k words per episode.  More than 4k is a novella and if you write more than that, there is something wrong, e.g. too many characters.  He likes 2k words as it is short in timescale. 

Iain gave the analogy of a short story being a snapshot of a view from against a glass window and recommended aiming for real time.  If it's more than days it is heading towards a novella.  It's one persons' story, e.g. a group of people meeting together, but who's story is the key.  For example if it is an expedition, is it the leader of the exhibition, the head of the tribe or the 12 year-old boy enlisted in the army not understanding what is going on?  Your Main Character is the person who has the most emotional attachment/most to lose/at stake/affected by events that take place.  Go inside their head, share their thoughts/feelings and see through their eyes.  If someone is going to die before the end, they are a bad choice for the Main Character.

Don't overload your story, four characters maximum, usually three.  If you do, no-one gets enough stage time, you may confuse the reader in who you want them to root for as it should be the Main Character, and not enough time and space to inhabit/own the story.  One person gets dull after a while as no scope for conflict, e.g. argue, fall in love etc. as you can't on your own.


Write it long and then edit, like a sandwich with too much butter.  For example, you can take out long descriptions of place because people will have seen most things you could describe, e.g. stately home, you don't need more than that and three words should suffice with most things.  Only describe things if they vary from the norm, e.g. letter in a pillar box you don't need to say it is red, but if it is purple with a flashing sign mention it, but only if it is relevant to the plot.  Mention it only if it crops up later.

The difference between a character and a prop is vital.  A character has a name, talks, plays a meaningful part in what takes place and a prop does not, e.g. a postman who brings a terrible letter is a prop, but the one who gets the letter is the character.

Stick to the mood/style throughout the story, i.e. if it is supernatural, it has to be at the start for the mood.  The plot = Set up versus plots, series of events.  A set up is a jumping off point, e.g. Benjamin Button, the people born old and get younger is a set up, people trapped in a lift, plot is what happens next.

An easy-peasy plotting technique A B C. A: Introduction  B: Middle  C: Ending

The introduction is when something dramatic happens, Main Character faces a crisis/upset to his/her life, e.g. someone threatens to reveal a secret.  Pack it with menace/jeopardy.

The middle - Iain likes to use flashbacks to the events that lead up to the crisis, e.g. blackmail, I wish I hadn't done x, y and z that lead up to this.  He gave the example of 'Do you save the drowning person?' if the MC almost drowned as a child, the someone drowning is an enemy and this is his dilemma and the decision is the end.

The ending is how this problem/dilemma/crisis is resolved/factors that the main character uses to make it happen brings it to a resolution.

Story also needs urgency, for example someone is drowning.  He prefers the story to finish abruptly and if possible, with a twist.  People have to care and so does your Main Character.  You can get emotion into the characters in two ways, one: cast yourself as the MC, think what would I do in this situation and it suddenly comes alive or two: don't waste your dialogue on the mundane, only have them talking when they have something dramatic to say as this helps to bring them alive. 

Be original or try to be original.  You can do this by taking the world and turning it on it's head.  Iain gave the example of an updated Dickens - Scrooge is the only one that likes Christmas and so the ghosts were pointing out everything he should hate about it.  Stories have to be dynamic.  Theatre is restricted to the set design as stage is a limited space, but we're not bound by that, we can set it anywhere, so aim for an unusual setting.  Never have people sitting down talking, have them going somewhere/doing something, don't have it static.

Titles - Dead before the Dawn is a title, The letter is a label, not a title.  The title needs to grab you, so don't use 'the' or 'A.'

Iain gave out a hand-out on the power of three and Openings and Endings.

He feels you have thirty words to grab the reader at the beginning, which includes the title, so needs to be baited with a hook.

"I didn't murder him."

"Yes, I am an assassin, but it was my day off."

This leaves the reader wanting to know who has been murdered, who the assassin is and even the day off is intriguing.

A bad introduction tells the editor it will only go one way and the editor will only read this and reject it.  No matter how great the twist at the end is, you've lost the reader. 

Plot is everything.

He likes flashbacks, but use sparingly/carefully and not too high up in the story.  Where the story is taking place, who Main Character is, 6/7 paragraphs is the earliest he would introduce a flashback.

Endings should be the highlight, don't blow it at the end.  Has to be logical and have a satisfying conclusion to the events, for example, bank robbers shoot each other because they fall out trying to decide how to share the money.  You have to get some emotional response from them.  Any reaction is good.  Like a joke, a story should have a punch-line/a reason for it to have existed.  A journey through a short space of time and can't leave it to the reader to supply the ending.  He likes an upbeat ending but it doesn't have to be happy.

Main Character faces a dilemma then resolves it at the end, the journey makes them re-evaluate themselves, the journey makes them learn something from the lesson, e.g. Tracy gets sacked, landlord about to throw her out and decides to throw herself of a bridge when a car pulls up and mate from school days offers her a job - this is just dumb luck and readers wouldn't accept it.  She could decide the water is too cold and decide to start an accounts firm, followed by success and then she sees her former employer and shows off.  You can pile on the agony for the Main Character but s/he has to resolve them all.

Do not use: 1) Woke up, was a dream if you are aged over 8, 2) Can't write any more, time for a medications and men in white coats, 3) Didn't happen to me, notes for a short story I am writing, or not really killing each other, just rehearsing a play.

Plant ambiguous seeds throughout the story and let the reader jump to the wrong conclusion, e.g. lots of noise, bikers bringing down the neighbourhood, but turns out to be a barbershop choir turned up on penny farthings.  You can't lie or you will just anger your reader.  For the sting in the tale, keep one fact hidden, i.e. the age, gender, location, era set in but not that the Main Character is a dog/cat.

Iain goes beyond the twist with a comedy line.  Normally the last sentence is the twist, preferably the last word.  Don't be crude, shocking or offensive just to get a reaction.  It's a cheap trick and people won't like it. 

He gave his story 'Crowning Glory' as an example.  You need to grab in the first nine words.  Don't describe an alley, because she's terrified, reader is too.  No description of the underpass or takeaway.  It is a three act drama with middle flashback and a twist in the last line.  The MC sorts out her own problem.  Iain uses a lot of three beat sentences and in his dialogue too.  Took up classic defence pose, let's the reader fill in the blanks.  He used the friend in the story as he wanted a 50/50 split between exposition/dialogue.  Too little and you don't engage the reader, too much and it reads like a script or can make it bland.  The reader will do the work for you, you don't have to put loads of info on the character as it is not needed.

Story is mechanical, technique pays the bills not ideas.  He was a sub-editor and came up with those terrible headlines.  Well-known sayings and give them a twist, e.g. walk like a man change to wok like a man, great expectations to grate expectations (young couple arguing over whether to bid for a fireplace for their new home, auctioneer takes it as a bid and win it anyway) or grim reaper to grime reaper.  These can spark a story idea, e.g. crate expectations.  Iain gave an example of a story about Pandora's box and a crate that has magical powers and the story was all about the expectation the people in the story would have about the crate.  Iain does horror stories with a 19th century Wild West, witches etc.  Uses this theme, carriages arriving with four black horses with plumes, so looks like a hearse and back of horse box with painted on magical symbols.

Iain finished the workshop by giving out hand-outs on Writing for Women's Magazines, his business card and a sign up address for his FREE monthly newsletter. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Festival of Writing, York, September 2016

Bookings for the 7th Annual Festival of Writing is open in Mid-April, full details below:

Festival of Writing News. And grab a place at one of our London evening events for the bargain price of £45! Expert tutors. Special industry guests (to be announced).
April 29th: The Transformational Arc.
Using one simple writing tool to add meaning and urgency to character, plot and theme. In this talk C.M.Taylor will be using a tested, jargon-free writing process to show you how to identify your theme, then to use that theme to get your plot and your character development working together to give emotionally powerful meaning to your story.

May 27th: Showing and Telling and Storytelling.
Show, don’t tell – or so we’re told. But once upon a time we told stories, didn’t we? And in practice, any successful piece of storytelling needs to balance both showing and telling. In this workshop we’ll look at examples of both narrative modes, and find ways to blend them into our own writing.

June 24th: Point-of-view: The Writer’s Invaluable Friend.
Point-of-view may be one of the less frequently discussed elements of the novelist and short story writer's process, but there’s no doubt that it’s also one of the most significant. It might even be the most significant, given that it tends to be the component of the prose that binds all the other elements (e.g. plot, voice, character development) together into a psychologically consistent whole. Relevant to writers in all genres and to beginners and more experienced writers alike.

July 29th: Self-Editing Your Novel.
Encapsulating their acclaimed online Self-Edit Your Novel course, Debi Alper and Emma Darwin will discuss how you can make your plot more compelling, your characters more vivid and their voices more engaging, so that every word counts.


We are delighted to announce that bookings for our 7th Annual Festival of Writing will open in Mid-April, with the event itself taking place from the 9th to the 11th of September.

For those of you who have either not heard of our annual event or have yet to attend, let us explain why it’s our favourite weekend of the year...

For three days in September we lay claim to York University campus and fill it with aspiring writers, best-selling authors, book doctors, top agents and publishing legends. It’s a very special gathering filled with serious, professional advice as to how to start writing, how to improve the manuscript(s) you have, and how to get yourself published  - it's also bursting with warmth and fun. We’ve yet to run one which hasn’t resulted in at least several delegates landing themselves with agents and publishing deals, everyone else has gone away happy and energised.

To get a feel for the weekend, see our video here.

Same as last year, we've decided to launch festivities early with a series of Festival of Writing 'taster' sessions in London, to allow new people to experience some of what we offer at the main event, and to provide an opportunity to catch up with familiar faces.

These sessions will take place at Waterstones Piccadilly from April 29th, with one a month thereafter until July 29th. Tickets are on sale at £45 (cost includes a glass of wine on arrival)

Spaces will be limited so you'll need to book early to avoid disappointment. Grab a place today and let the fun commence!

** If you fancy signing up for more than one class, do get in touch with the office to discuss bundle bookings.**
Copyright © 2016 The Writers' Workshop, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
The Writers' Workshop
The Studio, Sheep Street
Oxford, OX7 3RR
United Kingdom



Monday, 25 April 2016

Tickets now on sale for The Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival - July 2016

Tickets are now on sale for The Raworths Literature Festival, 7-10 July 2016, full details below:

Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival

The Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, picked by Harper’s Bazaar as one of the UK’s Best Literary Festivals, has become the hot ticket on the national Festival circuit thanks to its stellar line up of literary names in a beautifully intimate setting. Spend a long weekend in the Victorian grandeur of Harrogate’s Crown Hotel, and experience inspiring talks and stimulating debate. Socialise with fellow book lovers and soak up the eclectic programme designed to enthral and inspire.

Weekend Break Packages

With a history spanning over 300 years the Crown Hotel Harrogate is experienced in looking after guests. After a multi-million pound refurbishment programme, the hotel has created a contemporary environment which complements its historic architecture and pays homage to its heritage as a great town centre property.

Weekend Break Packages, include 3 nights’ bed & breakfast accommodation at the Crown Hotel, tickets to all events excluding the Business Lunch, Festival Goody Bag, Lunch at the Crown on Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus limited Tea and Coffee throughout the weekend.
Packages start from £429 per person for two people sharing a double or twin room and from £509 per person for singles.
To book, call 01423 562303

All Tickets Go On Public Sale
10am Tuesday 29th April


Thursday 7 July


Raworths Business Lunch in association with Yorkshire Life Know Your Neighbour?

Weekend Rover Tickets


12pm - 2.30pm Tickets: £35 includes two course dinner and a glass of wine.

All Weekend excluding Business Lunch Tickets: £220


Dickie Arbiter - On Duty with The Queen: My Time as a Buckingham Palace Press Secretary

Mary Portas Shop Girl


3.30pm Tickets: £12


Tickets: £12


John Rowlinson - The Boys of 66: The Unseen Story Behind England's World Cup Glory

Charles MacLean Whiskypedia


6.30pm Tickets: £9


Tickets: £12


Friday 8 July


Friday Rover Ticket

Mark Thompson - A Space Traveller's Guide to the Solar System


All Day

Tickets: £60


Tickets: £9


Einstein's Universe

Laura Dawes - Fighting Fit: The Wartime Battle for Britain's Health



Tickets: £12


Tickets: £9


Mail Obsession: A Journey Round Britain by Postcode with Mark Mason

Lucie Green - 15 Million Degrees, A Journey to the Centre of the Sun



Tickets: £9


Tickets: £9


MindFOLDness Workshop: Learning the art of Mindful Origami

Jack Liebeck

St Wilfrid's Church



Tickets: £9


Tickets: £18


Satuday 9 July


Saturday Rover Ticket

On Shakespeare's Sonnets in association with the Royal Literary Fund


All Day

Tickets: £65


Tickets: £9


Rock and Roll Confidential

Jon Savage - 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded



Tickets: £9


Tickets: £9


John Suchet - A Tale of Two Composers

Roald Dahl - A Life in Letters with Donald Sturrock



Tickets: £18


Tickets: £9


Julia Bradbury's Unforgettable Walks

Fretwork: The World Encompassed

St Wilfrid's Chuch



Tickets: £12


Tickets: £21


Sunday 10 July


Sunday Rover Ticket

Tim Marshall - Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Ecplain Everything About The World


All Day

Tickets: £60


Tickets: £9


James Naughtie Paris Spring

Vince Cable - After The Storm: The World's Economy and Britain's Economic Future



Tickets: £12


Tickets: £12


Ian Fraser in conversation with Hugh Pym - Inside The Banking Crisis

Liam Byrne - Dragons: 10 Entrepreneurs Who Built Britain



Tickets: £9


Tickets: £9


Erwin James - Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope

Jeremy Bowen War Stories



Tickets: £9


Tickets: £15


Harrogate International Festivals is also proud to present


Click For More Information


Title Sponsor



With special thanks to our Premier Partners...


With special thanks to our Community Partner...

Copyright © 2016 Harrogate International Festivals, All rights reserved.

Harrogate International Festivals is a registered charity. Charity No. 244861.

Our mailing address is:
Harrogate International Festivals, 32 Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate, HG1 1DB