Writing and Poetry Workshops

Join us in our stunning studios where you can take time to explore your creative flair, develop new skills or enhance your skills whilst meeting new friends in our bespoke small classes. (max 6 people per workshop)
Download our programmes below…

Click on the link below for a full list of dates, information and to book your workshop. www.ticketsource.co.uk/secret-garden-studios

We offer a wide range of workshops at the Stable Studios including; calligraphy, digital drawing, poetry, typesetting and writing. Click on the titles below for more information.

A beginners’ guide to writing your first poetry collection with Leanne Moden

Turn a folder full of poetry into a cohesive collection of work, suitable for submission for publication, or self-publishing! “A Beginner’s Guide to Building Your First Poetry Collection” is a collaborative, ideas-based workshop for poets who are thinking about taking their first steps towards publication.

Using your own poems as a template, you’ll learn how to identify theme and narrative in your work, how to place your poems in an order, how to critically assess poems for inclusion in a collection, and how to consider your writing as part of a wider narrative for production of a pamphlet or a short collection.

Please bring ten of your own poems to this session in order to take part in editing exercises. These ten poems need not be thematically linked, but you will benefit most if the poems you bring reflect the poetry you want to publish.

£30 Click here to book

Adventures in poetic form with Leanne Moden

One of the wonderful things about poetry is the freedom it gives us to write whatever we like, and free verse is more popular than ever before. But, are we missing something by not engaging with traditional poetic forms? Sometimes, constraints allow us to break free of our usual writing ruts, and push our writing into new places, making us better, more versatile writers, and giving us the space to articulate ourselves even more clearly.

If you’re keen for a new challenge, then join poet and workshop leader Leanne Moden for “Adventures in Form”. This workshop is great for writers of all genres, looking to discover new ways of writing by playing within the traditions of poetic form. Forget stuffy classrooms and boring textbooks – this workshop is all about learning by experimenting, trying new things and having fun with your writing!

£30 Click here to book

Baubles and Faux Calligraphy with Laney’s Lettering

Learn the art of faux calligraphy in this 3 hour festive inspired workshop. Use your new found skills to adorn a Christmas bauble with lettering of your choice. Select from a range of colours and take your very own faux calligraphy bauble home to hang in pride of place on the tree, or gift to someone special. Additional baubles may be purchased on the day if you would like to create another one to take home (time permitting).

Hosted by Bonnie from Laney’s Lettering, guests will be taught how to create the basic formations of faux calligraphy letters and practise some quotes before applying chosen lettering to the baubles. Groups will be small and intimate to ensure everyone has ample tuition time and a lovely experience.

Held at The Secret Garden in the Stable Studio, guests will be welcomed into a cosy festive environment overlooking the walled garden – look closely and you may spot a resident robin from the warmth of the cobbled Stable Studio.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts.

What’s included in the price?

A calligraphy toolkit and a bauble is supplied to each guest along with ample practise sheets and friendly guidance. The heating will be on and you can expect some twinkling lights and a very warm welcome.

Light refreshments, coffees and teas are also provided. There are many local cafes in the market town of Newark if lunch is required prior to/after the workshop. We highly recommend Gannets Cafe on Castle Gate (around the corner from the studios).

Various dates available. £45 Click here to book

Battling writers’ block with Leanne Moden

Are you looking for new ways to kick-start your creative writing? Perhaps you’d like to brush up on your skills, or improve your writing, or try writing again after an extended break? Maybe you’re stuck in a rut, or struggling with writer’s block, and you’d like to find new ways of approaching your writing? Or maybe you’ve never written creatively before, and you’re a little bit curious?

This workshop is suitable for all ages and abilities, from those just starting out on their writing journey to those who are already writing regularly. Forget stuffy classrooms and dusty textbooks – this workshop is all about learning by experimenting, trying new things and having fun with your writing!

£30 Click here to book

Book Marketing on a Budget with Kristina Adams

In this workshop, we’ll look at the different ways you can market your book on a budget. We’ll explore if you should bother with blogging, the right – and wrong – ways to use social media, and how to engage with your audience using an email list.

£30 Click here to book

Clotheslines with Fiona Theokritoff 

Have fun using clothes (and shoes) as your inspiration for writing and sharing poems. With prompts and images to get you started, Fiona will guide you through a series of light-hearted writing activities to create sartorially-inspired works. Everyone is welcome: beginners and those who write already.  

£65 Click here to book (Free writing gift with this workshop)

Consequences and Limitations – In Fantasy Writing and Beyond with Kristina Adams

When we do stupid or dangerous things in real life, there are consequences. Why should our characters’ lives be any different just because they don’t exist? Grounding characters’ actions with real-life consequences can make your characters more realistic and your stories more page-turning, whatever genre you’re in. On the other hand, when your characters don’t suffer the consequences of their actions…readers can put your book down faster than you can say ‘bad marketing’.

Limitations increase the stakes for your characters. Whether they exist from the start, or you add to them as you write, they can add a sense of claustrophobia and urgency to your story. If you use internal limitations like mental health conditions, they help to normalise the conversation around these conditions and make those going through said conditions feel less alone.

You’ll learn:

  • How to increase the stakes in your writing
  • The impact of external – and internal – triggers
  • Ways to get unstuck on your plot
  • Why we need to torture our characters

    £30 Click here to book

Creating a fictional therapist: the how and why with Anne Goodwin

Have you ever wondered how realistic the therapists you encounter in fiction really are?
Have you ever wanted to create one of your own but been unsure how to go about it?

Through discussion of therapy facts and fictions and analysis of extracts from novels, Anne Goodwin will introduce you to the pleasures and pitfalls of fictional therapists and therapy. She will guide you through the various roles a therapist can play in a story and steer you away from the errors authors commonly make. She will show you how you can write a therapy story in only 99 words.

As a former clinical psychologist, Anne Goodwin has experienced therapy from both sides of the “couch”. As a book blogger, she has reviewed over eighty novels featuring a fictional therapist, and has published articles in print and online magazines.

£30 Click here to book (various dates available)

Creative Confidence Class with Kristina Adams*

Would you like to improve the confidence, resilience, and focus skills you need to succeed as a writer? In this workshop, we’ll cover the focus, mindset, and productivity techniques you need to achieve – and even surpass – your writing goals.

Whether your goal is to finally finish that book, publish it, or something else entirely, these transferable skills will help you in every aspect of your life. You’ll feel more confident in your skills, happier with your progress, and inspired to keep writing.

Whatever you write, these skills will arm you with everything you need to succeed.

*includes free writing gift £65 Click here to book

Designing a Book Cover for Self-Publishers with The Book Typesetters

Are you looking for help to design a cover for your book? Then join Nat and Rachael from The Book Typesetters for two sessions on designing a cover. We will help you set the size, bleed and spine width, adding your ISBN as a barcode, choosing images and selected fonts.

Bring along your images and we will help you create a cover, looking at different effects you can use to blend multiple images together. This course will teach you the basics of using Affinity Designer, design software by Serif, a Nottingham-based company.

On registration you will be sent a 30 day trial access code.

£60 Click here to book

Dialogue and Description: How to Make Them Work Together to Bring Your Book to Life with Kristina Adams

Many of us love writing dialogue…or description. Some genres are heavy on one or the other. But what if it didn’t need to be an either/or thing? What if we could look at the relationship between them and how they can bring each other – and your book – to life?
You’ll learn:

  • How to add world building to your story without overwhelming your reader
  • How to bring your character’s voice to life
  • The different types of description and how to use them
  • Ways to balance description and dialogue in your story
    £30 Click here to book
Editing 101 with Alex Davis

While getting that first draft down is crucial, the editing phase is every bit as important for an author.

In this workshop, we’ll explore some of the key things to be looking out for in editing your work to make sure you are improving from one draft to the next, with practical exercises to go alongside a range of advice and guidance from an experienced copy-editor.

£30 Click here to book

Free writing with Janey Harvey

We will explore how unconscious thoughts can give rise to story ideas. Taking the form of free writing to kick start longer writing pieces which we will focus on during the workshop.

We will swap and share ideas – it’s amazing how someone else’s random thoughts can inspire your writing. Suitable for beginners.

£30 Click here to book

Fundamentals of scriptwriting with Alex Davis

In this session, we’ll be exploring some of the most important elements of scriptwriting for those new to or wanting to find out more about the form.

With a look at formatting your work, the balance of actions vs dialogue, ‘stage directions’ and much more, this session will give you a broad overview of the form for you to build upon and try with your own work, taking in film and TV, radio and stage writing.

£30 Click here to book

Getting short stories published with Alex Davis

Short stories present a great way for authors to get their first publication, and many well-established writers found their first break in the field.

This workshop will explore the key elements to getting your work accepted, including the research process, submission guidelines, response tracking and much more.

£30 Click here to book

How I wrote my novel with Maria Dziedzan

Join local author Maria Dziedzan as she shares how she wrote her novels. When Sorrows Come was her first novel. It won The Big Bingham Book Read in 2015 and was one of the finalists for the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016.
This discussion and Q&A will be followed by a few writing exercises, using examples from Maria’s work.
You’re invited to bring along any ideas/work in progress to discuss with Maria.
Maximum 6 attendees in the workshop.

£20 Click here to book

How to get an agent with Alex Davis

In most cases, getting a literary agent is a pivotal part of landing that publishing deal with the mainstream presses – but how do you make the approach and maximise your chances?

This session will explore the key elements of the cover letter, synopsis and sample text, as well as looking at what you need to research to make the right approach to the right person! We’ll also explore what happens when an agent takes you on and what to expect from the partnership.

£30 Click here to book

How to write a novel with Alex Davis

While many workshops focus on the important creative aspects of writing a novel, often some of the practical elements get sidelined – but not in this session!

This two-hour slot a host of practical tips and advice for anyone looking to write a novel, looking at how to keep your project going in the face of both creative and real world obstacles with the likes of writing routines, deadlines, how to beat ‘writer’s block’ and more!

£30 Click here to book

How to write a novel with Clare Stevens

Do you have an idea for a novel but don’t know where to start? Have you got part way into your manuscript and become stuck? Or have you completed a first draft but don’t feel it’s quite there yet?
From nailing your idea to getting that first draft down on paper, this course will equip you with tools and techniques to help you bring your project to fruition.
Through a series of fun, practical exercises, Clare Stevens will take you through the steps you’ll need to develop your story.

Topics include:
• Creating characters
• Establishing a setting
• Developing voice
• Choosing a point of view
• Building tension
• Use of dialogue
• Plotline/Structure
• Beginnings and endings

Whether you’re a first-time novelist with an idea for story or a more experienced author looking for ways to bring your fiction to life ‘How to write a novel’ is the course for you. (various dates available)

£65 *Includes free writing gift.

Click here to book

Clare Stevens is an author, journalist, and Creative Writing tutor living in Nottingham. Her first novel, Blue Tide Rising, was published in 2019 by Inspired Quill. She is currently working on her second novel.

How to Write Amazing Blog Posts with Kristina Adams

Blog posts sit somewhere between teaching, writing, entertaining, and science. In this workshop, we’re going to break down each element of writing an amazing blog post so that you have a replicable structure you can use again and again whether you’re writing for yourself, your day job, your readers, or clients.

£30 Click here to book

How to Write Realistic Characters with Kristina Adams

Are you struggling to write realistic characters?

Do you want to know your characters better than you know your best friend?

Would you like to craft characters so realistic, your readers remember them – long after they’ve turned the final page?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this workshop is exactly what you need.

You’ll learn:

  • How psychological techniques can bring your characters to life (without using tropes or archetypes)
  • How to connect with your character (even if you have nothing in common with them)
  • How dialogue brings characters to life
  • Techniques to develop your character’s personality
  • Ways description can make characters more realistic, believable, and relatable
  • Methods to get inside your character’s head
  • Your character’s fatal flaw

    £65 Includes free writing gift Click here to book
Introduction to digital painting with Herb Wiersma– 4 week evening course.

Learn the basics of making digital paintings with free software.  Over the sessions you will make a picture and in the process set up and use layers, colours and brushes. Provided you are able to use simple apps you will have the opportunity to explore free tools which can expand your range of artistic skills.

You will need to bring a laptop (PC or Mac) . If you have a graphics tablet bring it along too, although there will be some available for you to try. Worksheets will be provided for you to take away and practice with.

Please download and install ‘GIMP’ from https://www.gimp.org/downloads/ before the starting the course.

If you have any technical enquiries please contact Herb on 07970659984
Click here to book

Introduction to fiction writing with Clare Stevens

Ever fancied writing fiction but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you have an idea for story but are unsure what form it should take, or you may have written some opening lines and become stuck.

From creating convincing characters and setting to building up tension in your story, this short taster session will take you through some of the basics you need to develop your idea and craft your narrative. You’ll have an opportunity to practice techniques through a series of fun, guided exercises. 

£30 Click here to book

Reading as a writer with Anne Goodwin

Every writer is a reader first, learning our craft through indulging in what we enjoy. With a little more focus on the building blocks of a strong story, we can get more from our reading without turning it into a chore. 

In this workshop, we’ll explore some of the questions we can ask ourselves as we turn the pages in order to help us write the kind of books we ourselves would want to read.

£30 Click here to book

The art of the 99-word story with Anne Goodwin

Do you have a story to tell but fear you lack the skill, stamina or patience to fill a page? Perhaps it would feel less daunting if you had to find only 99 words.

Are you an experienced writer so in love with language you struggle to cut your stories down to size? The discipline of the 99-word story will hone the editing skills you need.

Suitable for writers at all levels of experience or none.

£30 Click here to book

Typesetting (formatting your text) for Self-Publishers with The Book Typesetters – Nat and Rachael Ravenlock

Are you self-publishing? Would you like help setting your text to a professional standard? Then join our two session typesetting course.

Nat and Rachael from The Book Typesetters will teach you step-by-step how to format your book, set margins, generate a contents page, and more.

This course teaches you the basics of how to use Affinity Publisher, desktop publishing software by Serif, a Nottingham-based company.

On registration you will be sent a 30 day trial access code. THIS COURSE WILL HELP YOU FORMAT YOUR BOOK READY FOR PRINT (NOT EBOOK).

£60 Click here to book

Using prompts with Janey Harvey

Exploring the use of photos, objects, food, quotations etc to inspire and motivate a piece of writing. You can bring in an object you wish to form a piece of writing around or use the inspiration within the studio and garden.

£30 Click here to book

Writing a novella with Alex Davis

Novellas have established a firm place in literary history, and this shorter form of story remains popular with readers. However, writing in the form is entirely different to any other – so what do you do to create a great tale in the medium?

This session will explore the structure and style of the novella, helping you approach the form in the right way as a writer, with practical advice and discussions throughout.

£30 Click here to book

Writing about diversity from the outside in with Anne Goodwin

Many writers want to reflect a diversity of identities among our characters but causing offence if we get it wrong. Drawing on her background in psychology and experience of publishing a novel about a woman with a marginalised identity, Anne Goodwin’s workshop provides the building blocks to write empathically about “the other” from the outside in.

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and highly praised by readers with a similar lived experience to the main character.

£30 Click here to book

Writing for wellbeing with Clare Stevens

Creative writing is proven to have therapeutic benefits. It can help relieve stress and anxiety and boost wellbeing. Through a series of gentle, guided exercises, you’ll develop tools and techniques for mindful writing to help you process emotions and find a sense of peace.

This workshop provides a safe space to explore thoughts and feelings in a supportive environment.

No writing experience is necessary.
Clare Stevens is an author and Writing for Wellbeing practitioner who has worked with refugees and cancer patients.

£30 Click here to book

Writing from memory with Janey Harvey

During this workshop we will explore how an object or memory can be used to as a stimulus for a piece of writing.

Why how you remember it might not be the best way to write it and how to cherry pick for interesting angles and focus. 

Suitable for beginners.

£30 Click here to book

Writing sensitively about mental health matters in fiction with Anne Goodwin

How can writers capture the reality of mental disturbance without perpetuating negative stereotypes such as “the mad woman in the attic” in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre?

Through discussions of texts, experiential exercises, a myths and facts quiz and, of course, some time to write, this workshop assists participants to approach mental health issues with empathy and sensitivity. Suitable for those with some experience of writing.

Saturday session £65 – free writing gift and refreshments provided. (bring your own packed lunch) Click here to book

Writing short stories with Alex Davis

Short stories have provided meaningful first publication for many successful authors, and are an exciting form in their own right as well as being a potentially exciting launchpad into publication.

This workshop will explore the essentials of short story writing, taking in story structure, characterisation, the ‘hook’ and the ‘twist’, and more besides!

Ideal for writers looking to start out in the form.

£30 Click here to book

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