Fri, 15 January 2021

10:00 am - 11:00 am GMT

How To Find Stories | A Three Part Masterclass

Erica Wagner

You want to write: but what are you going to write about? Led by author Erica Wagner, this course will teach you techniques to uncover new sources of inspiration and liberate your writing.

“The imagination is a muscle. If it is not exercised, it atrophies.” – Neil Gaiman

Even the most experienced and accomplished authors suffer from writer’s block from time to time – but nothing about the condition is inevitable. There are many ways to find subjects to explore, and over the course of three weeks this course builds your skills so that you feel confident discovering material and telling a story.

Taught by Erica Wagner, whose career as a writer has encompassed short stories, journalism, literary criticism, novels, live performance and biography, and drawing on her insights as one of the UK’s pre-eminent tutors of creative writing, you will learn how to mine the riches of autobiography, current affairs and historical events for narrative materials.

Whether you are an experienced author or a talented stylist who wants to make use of their voice in a serious long-form work for the first time, this course will ensure you’re never short of a subject again.

Join us and discover how to free your writing with techniques to fire and sustain your imagination.

Week 1:

Change one thing: an adventure in autobiography

Every story begins with your own story. Who are you as a writer? In this first class, we’ll explore the ways in which you can tap into memory to find characters and events that can be transformed into fiction. Everyday life always contains the seeds of real drama: we’ll work together to plant those seeds and watch them grow.

Week 2:

Read all about it! In the news

Building on the skills developed in our first week, we’ll look into the news for tales that can be remodelled into fascinating fiction. We’ll work to discover the kind of news stories that leave space for the reader’s – and the writer’s – imagination. We’ll hone techniques to dig out the kinds of stories most amenable to further exploration and foster the craft you can use to build fiction from fact.

Week 3:

Lessons from history: using the past to make new stories

World history is a rich seam from which to build new stories, and historical fiction is hugely popular. But where do you start finding stories from history? We’ll head down the avenues of the past to find stories to bring into present. We’ll discover some swift techniques to use so that research can be fruitful and enjoyable rather than overwhelming or a dead end, and we’ll look for hidden tales ready to be brought into the light.

Erica Wagner

Former literary editor of The Times, author and writer for the New Statesman.

Erica Wagner is an author, journalist, and editor.  Her latest book, Chief Engineer, a biography of Washington Roebling, garnered much praise. Twice a judge of the Man Booker Prize, she was literary editor of The Times  for seventeen years, and she is now a contributing writer for New Statesman as well as writing for many publications in Britain and the United States.