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The Writers' Greenhouse

Short evening courses for adults on different aspects of creative writing, run by Megan Kerr. Serious tuition through fun activities and games. Plus Summer Workshops throughout August, exploring different aspects of writing as voted for by you.

On-going, Wolvercote

Wolvercote, Tue October 8th 2019 - Wed November 27th 2019

Have you always fancied writing fantasy fiction? Got an idea for that next big dystopian novel but not sure how to progress? Like Ishiguro, Atwood, and Pratchett and keen to give it a go yourself? The Writers' Greenhouse is the place for you. They are offering a new 8-week evening course on Imaginary Worlds, providing the perfect platform to help you to bring your fictional universe to life, whether it's already on paper or you're just getting started. Previous courses have received stellar reviews (just scroll down to see for yourself!) and Imaginary Worlds will be running on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays to meet demand, so book up before it's too late.

Course leader Megan Kerr is an old hand and knows how to keep sessions fast-paced and interesting, while also creating a laid-back, nerve-free environment to share work and bounce ideas around. During early sessions, participants will discuss genres and sub-genres and come up with different designs for the two worlds, one sci-fi parallel universe using real-world explanations, and the other a fantasy setting with more magical elements. In the weeks that follow, the group will use two and a half hour sessions to explore and develop specific facets of their created worlds. These range from elaborating on the appearance and atmosphere of the setting to inventing languages and naming places and characters. Classes will touch on a broad variety of authors (including George RR Martin and Suzanne Collins in addition to those already mentioned) as well as articles from FantasyCon to prompt discussion and aid the creative process. By the end of the eight weeks, you'll have plenty of ideas and techniques to help you keep going on your own.

Events

Summer of Writing

Make it a Summer of Writing, with The Writers' Greenhouse - online creative writing workshops for adults, weekends in August
Make it a Summer of Writing with a mix-and-match series of 10 lively online creative writing workshops for adults, weekend afternoons in August
Private venue in Wolvercote

Writing in Style Creative Writing Course

Learn Writing in Style, with The Writers' Greenhouse - online creative writing course for adults
Explore your writing styles & a wild range of stylistic choices in a lively online course for adults
Online
Next: Wed 2nd December

Writing in Style Creative Writing Course

Learn Writing in Style, with The Writers' Greenhouse - online creative writing course for adults
Explore your writing styles & a wild range of stylistic choices in a lively online course for adults
Online
Next: Thu 3rd December

Imaginary Worlds creative writing course

Explore Writing Imaginary Worlds, with The Writers' Greenhouse - online creative writing course for adults
World-building to create or enrich your imaginary worlds: lively online classes & materials by post
Online
Next: Tue 2nd February

September 5, 2019

The final workshop of the Writers' Greenhouse summer series was on getting published. This was the third workshop I have attended and it had all the usual ingredients - great atmosphere, interesting people, lots to learn and of course, Megan herself.

The content was a new departure for me - we worked on how to deal with rejection, how to summarise our novels or collections of stories or poems, how to look for an agent who would be a good match for our work and how to approach them - and in the final few minutes we practised how to talk to an agent should we meet one. That was a real exercise in self-belief!

One exercise that particularly interested me was looking at what kind of feedback is helpful or otherwise at different stages of writing something. For example, 'Everything you write is brilliant!' is just what you need at first draft stage but not much use when you are at the editing stage.

Much to my surprise I found summarising and sharing my - yes! I'm going to say it! Novel! - was a great confidence builder, as was hearing the really interesting projects other people were working on. Email addresses were exchanged...

As with all the workshops we all received a booklet of the material we had been working on. This is not only useful, but leaves us free during the day to enter into the workshop without having to take notes.

One of the great things about Writers' Greenhouse is also that once you have been to a course you are part of the online community to whatever extent you want to be - and in receipt of writing prompts, ideas and other people's posts.

Thanks Megan - I hope to be back before long!


August 6, 2018

I attended one of the summer Saturday workshops - on writing in scenes - and it was a revelation.

There were twelve of us, some of whom had already worked with Meegan, and some - like me - first-timers, and the whole day was beautifully structured.

it was also friendly and not at all scary, while also being full of new (to me) ways of thinking about what a scene is and what goes into it.

It confirmed all my worst fears about what I have just been writing but in a way that is enabling me to enjoy re-drafting what I had thought was an impossibly knotty passage.

I shall be back for the workshop on style at the end of the month.


February 21, 2011

They say everyone has a novel in them. There's just one problem... getting it redrafted, edited, perfected and published. In fact getting the damn thing plotted and written would be a good start. But most people have to face down a variety of demons in their writing, often because they suddenly realise they don't know where it's all going.

It's easy to think you have the plot all figured out, but if it isn't there in enough detail to tell you where each scene is going, what the plot sub-layers are, how everything will come together and when, what each character's point of view is, and all the myriad other fiddly bits you'll need to know, then it isn't really a plot yet, just the idea for one. At this point you might need help in knowing how to focus on each area in turn - what questions to use to cross-examine your ideas.

Megan Kerr uses practices from TEFL training, including meticulous planning, pacy lessons and clear objectives. There are several underlying tenets to her teaching: first off, an expectation of rigour, which makes everything simultaneously harder and easier - harder in the short-term but easier in the writing. You can't plot and write well both at the same time, so the key is in the groundwork. Second is the wonderfully basic assumption that writing novels is perfectly normal.

Much of the class-time we work in groups. The results are frequently hilarious, and the combination of collaboration and speed really prevent anyone being precious about writing. Working as a group also means most of the tasks feel like games, even the ones that don't involve dice. Homework assignments are manageably short so you can fit them into your week.

Many activities help you to visualise ideas and thought processes: how to lay out plots, how to check your tension is in the right places, using forms and questions to see where current holes are and how to plug them. And in all this a slight obsession with felt tip pens is seen as an advantage, not a handicap - here are displacement activities which will positively help.

The processes build up, so this week one of our quick tasks was something that took more like an hour a couple of weeks ago. Each week I feel simultaneously pleased that we're getting a stage further, more skills in the arsenal, and sad that it means we're closer to the end. In that respect it's like a very good book.

Of course in class the exercises are idealised, and transferring those ideas to your own half-thought-out novel can be harder. Think army medic, learning First Aid in a nice, clean operating theatre, but actually performing it on a makeshift bed in a sandy cave in the middle of battle.

For the one-day workshops you are expected to have some work in progress [NB This is no longer the case, and the one-day workshops function much more like short versions of the long courses, looking at one particular aspect of writing - Ed. 2017]. For the 12-week Story Elements course you just need a will to write - most of the practice assignments will use the (frequently extraordinary) ideas cooked up in class. If you have other things you're dying to work on all to the good, but it's not vital.

As you can probably tell, I would really, really recommend Megan's novel-writing tuition. I've always loved frenetic games of Balderdash and Consequences, and the zany haste of the Improvised Musical on Radio4, and so I find Megan's games and the group-orientated nature of the classes great fun. To be doing that sort of thing and learning too, feeling your own writing steadily coming under your control, that is heady stuff.

What a wonderful teacher Megan is. It's not easy to transfer from face to face teaching to the magic of Zoom almost instantly, but Megan managed it with ease. I enjoyed three of the Summer of Writing courses this August and I wished I could have done the others too. What a lovely way to spend a summer weekend afternoon in the company of people all over the world doing wonderful writing exercises. Megan is encouraging, extremely knowledgeable and she has organised fun enjoyable lessons that I thoroughly enjoyed.

This summer, as usual, I attended two Writers' Greenhouse Saturday workshops. It was sad not to be cycling over to Wolvercote for the day, but instead we had afternoon workshops on Zoom. Although I'm quite experienced with Zoom, I was seriously impressed with Megan's Zoom skills: she made us all feel as much at home as she always does, and it was easy to forget that we were not actually meeting in person.

As always the workshops - one on dialogue and the other on exposition (how do you help your readers absorb the recondite information that is essential to your plot without them noticing you are doing it?) - were rich both in content and in sharing with other writers. For me there was much to ponder in relation to what I am writing at the moment.

Thank you Megan!

Megan hi

so once again thanks for running a great course. Your use of zoom is exemplary and offers a very creditable substitute for face to face classes.

Here are my pluses and minuses

Minuses

There was some disruption to the classes caused by people being in fields/coffee bars/ pub gardens, which is not something common to you - having spent the last 10 years on video conferences its a very common challenge. I would have preferred if we could have had some discussion around the work we had produced - I felt that sometimes my writing was in a vacuum and would have welcomed the opportunity to share and critique.

Pluses

Loads of great advice on how to improve my writing - which was after all the main reason to join! Well-timed, good follow up materials and well marshaled as ever.

I booked on the one of the one off Summer workshops, orientating the reader, an afternoon online course. I was struggling with focusing on consistency and making sure the reader knew where they were physically and plot wise. I was hoping to rectify these issues with this course.

Megan was very personable and explained the concepts needed via a series of tasks that made them easy to understand and apply. Splitting us into groups and trying ideas out before reviewing them as a whole group again. The discussions were informative and well paced. We were not only given support with our writing and applying the concepts but feedback via peers and by her on what could work for us as individuals and more generally.

Resources were provided during the course, sent via email and posted out afterwards.

I cannot recommend Megan highly enough. I have attended many courses both online and in person, none of which have had the pace and quality that Megan provides. Don’t miss out - book before she fills up!

I recently participated in two weekend writing workshops with The Writer's Greenhouse, moved from in-person to Zoom because of social distancing requirements. From start to finish, they were a 5 star experience!

Megan is a fantastic teacher - warm, friendly, inclusive. The workshops, being held on Zoom, could have been very intense, but Megan presented a varied programme, which was very enjoyable and balanced. The sessions were brilliantly planned, with bang-on timekeeping, and included small group discussions, preparation exercises, writing, a bit of whole group work and reminders to stretch - very important!

The workshops all sounded interesting, but, after much deliberation, I chose workshops about setting and description. I was hoping that these workshops would teach me some skills while giving me a gentle push towards actually starting on a writing project. Though some of the participants mentioned current writing projects, at least one was like me, looking at the workshops as a launchpad. I did find them very inspiring - the other participants were friendly and supportive, the technical writing exercises really stretched me, the different approaches Megan used for settings and description were illuminating and taking the time to really analyse the purpose of description was extremely helpful. To be honest, I hadn't expected I'd learn so much in such a short time!

Megan is a very generous teacher. She organised an introduction to Zoom before the workshops, for anyone who lacked experience. I had a question about resources which she promptly answered via email. Indeed, once you get involved with The Writers' Greenhouse, you have access to frequent writing prompts and ideas from Megan and a wealth of writing resources. At the end of the workshops, Megan emailed a booklet with all the relevant information so that we wouldn't have to take notes. She will also post it out to the participants. I haven't yet had the privilege of an in-person workshop with Megan, but she obviously put a lot of effort into adapting her workshops to go online. During the late spring/early summer, she also canvassed those interested about subject choices and how people would like the workshops to run, ie timings and cost, and kept us all informed about her decisions and how she had made them.

I can't recommend Megan and The Writers' Greenhouse highly enough and look forward to my next workshop!

I took part in 2 writing courses given recently by Megan, on "Place is Story" and "Purposeful Description". They were both done via Zoom.

The courses were very informative and entertaining. Megan provided a lot of information and tips, with opportunities to write on one's own and in small groups. She handled the Zoom sessions with great competence. She provided humour and insight into the course and a number of colourful examples and suggestions.

I have been going to creative writing workshops for a while but I found Meghan’s courses a mile apart from the others. She has a way of teaching which is unique and it’s all about getting students to find their own feet. Students learn by discovering topics and techniques for themselves that’s why I think it’s so successful. It also covers plenty of technical tips and exercises which are then summed up in a handy leave-behind.

After the summer workshops, I can’t wait to join the courses she runs periodically throughout the year.

Another superb workshop with Megan at The Writers' Greenhouse! I booked this as I realised that my work needs place, and true to form this workshop weekend taught me everything I need to know... Now all I have to do is apply it! Megan runs these workshops so brilliantly, timed well, clearly thoroughly planned and thought out and they bring out the best in me (and everyone else judging from the discussions we had in our groups).

I find the positivity invaluable and I've never ever felt like someone who isn't a writer when I'm on these workshops. Super inclusive, Megan has created the best 'safe space' for writing I've ever encountered. I'm a fan as well as a repeat attender!

I have so many useful prompts, tools and ideas to work with coming out of this workshop that I can't help but feel newly invigorated and will be placing my work in progress this week!

Great work Megan!

I booked six of the summer workshops as I was in a creative slump over lockdown and missed speaking to other people about things I love.

I'd already attended various of Megan's workshops in person, and knew how welcoming and practical they were, but have since moved away from Oxford and so pounced on this opportunity to participate from a distance. I didn't know any of the other students before the workshops started, but Megan creates a collaborative and relaxed environment online where everyone is supportive regardless of how advanced they are (or are not, in my case!), so that didn't matter at all. Can't wait for the next one!

Inspiring, fun, wise. I booked onto two Zoom group workshops with The Writers' Greenhouse about creativity and they were fantastic. The teacher organised the time into really fascinating activities that taught me a lot. I came away having practised some creative writing experiments and also having learn something about the science and practice of creativity (who knew!) (obviously not me). I didn't think it was possible to be so vivid and practical about creativity and I learnt a lot about my own processes and when and where I'm creative plus I got lots of new ideas too. I'll be going back for more!

Megan is such a fabulous teacher and she’s so inspiring. I’ve done both the Meddling with Poetry course online with Megan and the ongoing Summer of Writing. I booked both courses because I wanted to re-energise my creativity and rediscover my love for poetry and writing. I’m enjoying the process so much and Megan runs incredibly organised and fun workshops online - so much so that I completely forgot they were online. These are a great, friendly way to meet like-minded people and explore writing. I can not recommend Megan and these courses enough.

I enrolled for the Meddling With Poetry course hoping to learn more about different poetry forms and to improve my writing. I did both and have recently submitted a poem to a journal for publication. My confidence as a writer of both poetry and prose has increased greatly and weeks after the course I am referring to the content from it constantly to assist me as I write. The course was intensive, one student who has a degree in creative writing said that an eight week course with Megan is like a year of an undergrad course and I can believe it, she covers so much that is of a high standard.

You do need to commit and concentrate to get the most out of the teaching and the positive and detailed feedback that she gives you on your own work. However, people lead busy lives and there is no pressure, you can go at your own pace.

The classes are incredibly enjoyable, they became the highlight of my week. Megan is very positive and encouraging and devises all sorts of fun exercises and activities to illustrate her teaching, demonstrating her vast knowledge and experience as a writer and tutor.

As this was an online course the content was posted out to us weekly and that worked really well, especially as she supplied binders for us to keep it in order and to build an invaluable resource for future reference. I was uncertain whether or not the dynamism and enjoyment of her classes could work online, but they do. Megan is very engaging and her classes so well paced and structured that I did not feel I was missing out by not being in her tutoring room.

Yes I did miss the candle-light and the tea and biscuits but Megan looked after us all by sending us candles and her own Writers Greenhouse blend of essential oil to put us all into the writing mood. A WhatsApp group for all of us attending kept us feeling part of a group and I am now joining a writers group as a result of contacts made on the course. I cannot recommend Megan Kerr and her courses highly enough.

If you are serious about writing and want to improve your writing fast then do sign up for one of her fabulous courses. She runs half day summer courses that would be a really good introduction to her teaching.

Just completed the Meddling with Poetry course with Megan at The Writers Greenhouse. The course, adapted for the Coronavirus restrictions, proved delightful and lively and the content assured and comprehensive. Megan does a superb job in sharing her love and enthusiasm for poetry which worked well for a poetic novice such as myself. Great course!

I had actually participated in the very same course a year or so ago and was hoping it would really just act as a stimulus to get me writing again. However, it did so much more.

I found that I engaged with the material on a higher level. The [Meddling With Poetry] course is so well taught that a total beginner and an experienced poet can gain insights and new and creative learning opportunities are offered at every level seamlessly.

The current pandemic also meant that most online courses are being offered without thought or access to stimulating resources. Megan created I am sure very painstakingly weekly packs with all you can imagine in and more inside. Not only that but as a shielded student I was completely reassured by her amazing regime to keep packs COVID free.

If you are thinking of doing a course with Megan, my recommendation is go for it. You won’t find anyone better out there!

I attended the Starting Points course in March 2020, and it exceeded all my (already high) expectations. Megan is a brilliant teacher - reassuring, motivating and fun, and she creates a welcoming environment in which it's clear that all levels are genuinely welcome. It's also pretty remarkable that the course was able to seamlessly shift into online delivery (thank you, pandemic), without leaving me feeling that I'd missed out in any way. I hesitated for a long time before booking onto Megan's course, and I now have no idea why. If you're at all apprehensive or nervous (as I was) I suggest you just go for it - you definitely won't regret it!

This is an excellent course that is well worth the money. I have quite complex disabilities but could not fault Megan in the effort she made to accommodate me. This course has a good balance of actual writing skills and methods of enhancing your creativity and has finally got me properly writing instead of just making random notes in book. I would definitely recommend it and will be returning for further courses in the future. Even though its an 8 week course Megan also helps you to continue writing after that with all the free prompts on her website and she helps you to connect with other writers.

Megan is one of the best tutors I have come across. She makes the classes interactive, fun and they offer great learning thus stimulating your own creative juices.

Since the lockdown and classes continuing electronically Megan has continued to provide materials for us to keep focused if we choose.

Thank you Megan for the chance to understand a little more about the world of writing. Look forward to another course sometime soon.

Megan is a wise, knowledgeable and inspiring teacher. Her venue is lovely, the atmosphere is lively, and it’s great meeting a diverse group other writers.

I’m a big fan of Megan’s courses and have done others already. They were so good that I figured this probably would be too - and it was.

The course was exactly the way it was described on Megan’s website. It’s an assortment of exercises and tasters of a wide range of types and methods of writing, tied loosely together by the theme of creativity. It’s less systematic and sequential than the other courses and some things were more relevant to my own writing than others, but that was expected given the diversity of topics.

The classes are fast-paced and interactive. Lots of fairly short activities. Lots of discussion. Lots of stimulating ideas. Lots of different exercises to suit different learning styles.

We moved online for the last couple of sessions because of the coronavirus and Megan did a brilliant job of adapting the course for this, organising classes on Zoom (and a tutorial on how to use it) and mailing out worksheets etc.

This was such a fantastic course from a passionate and inspirational teacher. I was a little apprehensive at first as writing can be so personal but Megan put everyone at ease right from the start. There's so much excellent content but still a lot of time to practice what you learn, and tasks to complete at home between lessons. This was one of the best courses I've ever taken and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it anyone thinking about taking their first steps into creative writing.

I cannot rate this course/workshop highly enough or Megan as a teacher. It started as a face to face group of 12 at Megan's house and due to current COVID19 restrictions transitioned smoothly to online with very little fuss but no less enjoyment.

As someone new to creative writing and therefore very nervous, I found Megan to be, kind, encouraging, incredibly knowledgeable, and most importantly fun. She put us at our ease and no question was too stupid to ask.

You did not need to know technical terms, have read all the classics or ever written creatively before. I'd say just inquisitiveness and a love of words required. Although really appreciating notebooks helps. The course is set up in such a way that you are prompted to be creative almost without noticing. Tasks are set for outside of class, which was no hardship, and helped me see my place in the world very differently.

I highly recommend. If you have ever had an inkling or a sliver of a thought that you might, perhaps one day, maybe write something, then this is the place for you.

Just finished the Starting Points course with Megan Kerr. Her course came recommended to me and I now recommend it wholeheartedly to you. Lively and perceptive, Megan delivers a friendly and lively course, and, unphased by the current social distancing protocols, she moved seamlessly to on-line sessions, which were just as successful. Thinking of starting to write - start here!

I took the science fiction and fantasy course and thought it was absolutely stand-out. Megan is an inventive, enthusiastic and supportive teacher, and I felt I learned a huge amount from her. Whether you're just starting out on your writing journey or you're more established, everyone will be able to take something useful away from the sessions. I can't praise her highly enough, and I'd encourage you all to sign up to one of her courses!

I recently completed Megan's Imaginary Worlds course and it was an absolute joy. Megan is a very talented teacher: knowledgeable, imaginative and meticulously organised. Her passion for writing is infectious and I felt inspired after every session. Feedback was always constructive and on point. The course helped me break into a novel I'd been struggling with for ages and has given me real momentum. The course is suitable for everyone, from absolute beginners to published writers. I'll be back for more! Thank you Megan.

Megan is a wonderful teacher who balances absolutely and thoroughly knows her stuff with a really supportive, nurturing approach to teaching that helps creativity to flourish, especially for those people who have suffered with a harsh style of teaching before or are habitually self-critical. The course was really well planned and structured, the materials were wonderful and it gave me a great sense of the enjoyment you can get from writing, as well as real progress. I'd wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone!

Apologies first off if this review isn’t a literary masterpiece. That’s no reflection on Megan’s teaching. It’s a reflection of me not procrastinating. I’ve been going to Megan’s classes for several years, I’m a massive fan, and it’s high time I wrote a review.

The classes are enormous fun, and suitable both for people who just want to try something different (as I did in the beginning) and for committed writers (as I am now). Megan’s enthusiasm and energy are inspiring; I always come away energised and full of ideas. Little gems of advice she gave me ages ago have stuck with me ever since. The classes are discussion-based and activity-based, so you’re always involved and engaged. Megan is super organised, so there literally isn’t a moment wasted. She also prepares little booklets of notes so that you can just relax and get stuck into the activities and not stress yourself out trying to write everything down. Megan is knowledgeable about and respects different genres of fiction, including science fiction – a big deal to me because that is my thing. She is also really aware of, and accommodating of, personal circumstances such as particular health needs, different learning styles, personality types etc.

The classes are small enough that it’s personal and you get a chance to talk to everyone. And the house is lovely -- a pleasure to spend time in. Thanks Megan!

I have been on almost all the courses and workshops that Megan from The Writer's Greenhouse offers and they are all of the highest calibre. The courses are for experienced and inexperienced writers alike and Megan's teaching is superb. It is process learning where you build in your understanding by doing activities there and then, and she gives you a booklet summing up what you have learnt at the end of the session, so you don't have the pressure of taking notes. She has a great sense of humour so the classes never get over-serious or precious, and there is a lot of interaction with the other students. She also understands the various different sensitivities aspiring writers can have so will never put anyone on the spot, and her feedback is always clear, full of information and encouraging, never damning or humiliating. They are probably some of the best courses and workshops of this type anywhere!

I’ve never attended a writing course in my life. I wasn’t even allowed to study English Literature at ‘O’ level. It was with some trepidation therefore that I signed up for two (out of five) day-long Summer School workshops with Megan.

In the first 10 minutes I felt out of my depth. In the next 10 minutes I’d pulled myself together and allowed common-sense to prevail over panic. By the end of the day, my grey matter had been well and truly stimulated and I’d met some lovely people. I’d published a non-fiction book earlier this year which had received very good reviews on Amazon. I was keen to see what transferable skills I could glean from a course principally aimed at writers of fiction.

Megan’s workshops are impeccably planned, fast-paced and with excellent content. Concentrate or drown. After decades of being a passive reader, this workshop forced me to take an objective view of the written word, not in a navel-gazing way. Definitely more pragmatic and fascinating. Mary

My weekly writing class at The Writers' Greenhouse quickly became a highlight of my week. It is a rare pleasure these days to hang out with a diverse group of people and let your mind wander. Megan facilitates this excellently and guides the group in such a way that encourages ideas to flow and directs them into something practical. The result is that you learn about the elements of creative writing while at the same time figuring out your own style, methods and strengths. Each week, the topic of the day opened allowed me to think differently and get lost down interesting pathways.

You come away with a good idea of how to develop a story, make compelling characters who have interesting dialogue, raise the stakes and much more. You will also learn to feel comfortable with a blank page and the writing process, which is messy and exasperating even for the world's bestselling authors.

Page Turners - Saturday workshop 3 Aug 2019

Another brand new and completely brilliant Saturday from Megan. As always a fun filled day with great activities and discussions with class mates (Megan provides sample stories for anyone who hasn’t got a work in progress). I really made huge progress with my story in exactly the way I needed. I saw how to make it grip the reader’s attention and keep them hooked, from the overall theme right down to each individual scene or page. I saw how quite often I was getting it right, and how at other times it was off the mark but I hadn’t known why. Lots of inspired editing to do now! A great workshop for people starting out on their first story too, you will learn how to map out and structure the suspense! Get started on the right track!

I really enjoyed the Story Elements Course. This is the second course I've done through The Writers' Greenhouse and it was just as good! The course is fun and collaborative with lots of resources to take away with techniques and ideas on how to create story. It's lighthearted but covers the essentials for getting the pen moving and keeping it moving. I especially enjoyed the range of often wacky stories that were created amongst the groups. And I met a really lovely group of people through it too. I valued the opportunities to submit some of my own work (poems) for feedback which was so helpful. It was also good to know that you didn't necessarily have to be in the middle of writing your 600 page novel to attend the course......the course I think could also work for anyone wanting to explore their creativity, if that is an area that has taken a back seat in life.

I attended the 'Imaginary Worlds' course at the beginning of 2017: my first course at The Writers' Greenhouse. From the outset I was impressed by Megan's expertise and professionalism, and by the volume of ideas which she managed to cram into every session without anything ever feeling rushed. Each lesson focuses on a different aspect of building and exploring a fantasy/science fiction world, using examples from a spectrum of novels to illustrate the ideas.

I embarked on the course as someone who is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and had already completed writing a fantasy novel, so I was both surprised and delighted at how much it was able to expand on my existing knowledge. Of particular interest was the way in which the elements of creating a fantasy world were helpfully broken down into categories covering different aspects of culture, and how these things interact with each other and with the process of building a story. I had previously been making the cultures of my worlds up as I went along and wondering how to get away from some of the cliches I kept falling into, so the idea that one could (and in at least some respects should) design the background in advance, was revelatory!

This course gave me a whole new perspective on the genre in which I write, but I must stress that it is not only for people who already read/write/like science fiction and fantasy: there is plenty of material here even for those who are completely new to the genres. I witnessed one of my classmates, who had barely read any fantasy, developing a highly imaginative novel plot by the time we finished the course! Overall it was a fantastic experience, and I have made frequent use of Megan's beautifully typed note booklets for projects since!

Meddling With Poetry: Poetry-Writing Course

If you're interested in poetry but don't know where to start or were frustrated by the way it was taught at school, this is the course for you. Taking as its starting point the idea that poetry is for everyone and that its forms are the equivalent of a linguistic Lego box, it invites you to participate in a joyous romp through a wide range of styles, forms and techniques.

I took this course at the beginning of 2019, having read a certain amount of poetry but written relatively little (and still less that I was satisfied with). As we deconstructed the work of published poets, we not only got to play with different structures but also explored the use of imagery and meaning that would bring our own poetry to life.

Megan's handling of a class which included a vast range of writing backgrounds and experience levels was exemplary throughout. Her hands-on approach, with a different form and technique explored every week, ensured that there was always something new for those with prior knowledge; and also that those with no experience of the topic never felt left behind (I was in both of those positions on different weeks). We covered more ground than I would have thought possible in the time available, and yet nothing seemed rushed: we always had time to discuss the material - a great aid to internalising what we had learned - and we never left a class without having tried out several new things for ourselves.

At the end of each class we were presented with a beautiful booklet containing the week's worksheets, poems, and a selection of prompts to aid our writing practice; so there was never any need to make notes as we went along. Those who wanted to had the opportunity to follow a 'poem a day' practice during the course, though it was made clear from the outset that we were welcome to adapt this element to suit our individual schedules. We were given plenty of advance warning of the weeks when we were to bring in some of our own work to share.

We were greatly encouraged to keep an open mind not only towards unfamiliar forms but also towards our own poetic efforts: experimentation and the writing of nonsense while learning new forms and techniques was something to be embraced, and belittling our own work was positively banned! (Constructive criticism, on the other hand, was a constant positive presence.) My personal Achilles' heel when learning new styles of writing is always the desire to produce something publication-worthy on my first try, so this was both challenging and very liberating.

I would recommend this course to anyone who has even a sliver of an interest in poetry inside them, no matter how deeply you think it's buried. You will find a wealth of knowledge and confidence here.

This course got me writing poems, I had great fun and learned so much. Classes focus on free verse, sensory imagery, effective rhyme, natural metre and economy of language amongst others. The 8 week printed booklet you collect during the course is an incredible resource for future reference, packed full of information on more than 50 different poetic forms and techniques, I found a lot of the 'quickie' short poetry forms were a great threshold to having a go, and even odd phrases in bad poems I wrote turned up later in better shape or fed into fictional prose. As always with Megan's classes, the atmosphere was friendly, informal and uncompetitive with lovely people. You're never forced read out something you've just written in class, so nobody plays Wack A Mole with emerging confidence! Thanks, Megan.

The poetry course was excellent. We received so much input and new poetry forms to try out, exercises and feedback. It was fun - achieving a great balance between fun and working hard at the craft. Megan is lovely! She knows her stuff and has created one of the best courses I've been on.

I chose Meddling with Poetry because I had just done the Starting Points course last autumn, and began to have an inkling that I maybe enjoyed expressing myself more poetically. The Meddling with Poetry syllabus was a good introduction to all different kinds of form. Megan's teaching style is so much fun. I love that we sit in small tables and do lots of group activities as well as some exercises alone in class. There is so much interaction and it never fails to stimulate my creativity. There are grapes, and tea and biscuits which is so reassuring.

I learned so much from the Meddling with Poetry class. I'm more naturally about spontaneous creative self-expression, mostly through painting. But this class taught me a real appreciation for form and how to break things down to tackle writing in a form. I got so much from the experience and great satisfaction from what I was able to write during the course period. The people who take these classes are great people too. I really enjoyed the social aspect a lot also.

I took Megan's Starting Points course in Oct-Nov and Meddling with Poetry in Feb-Mar 2019 and both were wonderful. Each class is well thought out, well resourced, fun, practical, engaging and social in a creative, cosy environment. All led by Megan, knowledgeable and ever-encouraging. In all courses there are opportunities to give and receive feedback on your writing which is incredibly valuable.

Each lesson is designed to spark inspiration and creativity in various ways, and they succeed. I miss being there each week and I suppose others do too as so many people attend course after course.

Starting Points was perfect for me, a person with will but no direction - an introduction into various writing forms and creative activities to keep you writing forever.

Meddling with Poetry was running for the first time ever when I joined. I hadn't really written any poetry since school but I never felt discouraged. The message was just to keep on writing, playing, observing and enjoying language.

I would recommend any of Megan's courses to anyone at any level of writing ability.

Fantastic, engaging, interactive courses. I attend as many as I can. So much better than other courses I've been on and met fabulous, interesting people who I now meet with regularly.

Beyond First Draft:

This is the hardest part of the writing process for me, and Megan's workshop was absolutely fantastic at providing ways to make it easier - lots of practical tips and processes were presented in a fun, invigorating and motivating way. I'm really enjoying getting to the second draft now, and I never thought I'd ever say that!

Megan's Summer Saturdays are fun-filled, and packed with focussed activities, tailored to participants' special requests, so they are unique. I'd happily recommend these for beginner writers, or anyone who is looking to improve or fine tune their work. The 3 I attended were:

Writing in Scenes (Saturday 28 July 2018)

I'd written plenty of scenes in my story without really realising they were scenes, or how to get the best out of them. We learned the ingredients of a good scene; how to tweak it and make it special. The workshop also covered handling important scenes and constructing convincing action scenes. I now understand that there is a kind of underlying structure to a scene and can see why parts of my story sometimes weren't quite working. I'm now much better able to increase the tension, drama and excitement.

Honing Your Style (Saturday 25 Aug 2018)

We learned that there were different kinds of prose, all of which were great in their own way, but I could see how I could tweak my style in a slightly different direction. It was a choice, and I could be just as subtle or dramatic as I liked. We worked on imaginative ways of describing ordinary things, and creatively tackling the dreaded clichés that tend to creep in all the time. I realised that my style was actually better than I thought, but now have a good sense of the some of the pitfalls and why some of my writing either felt really right, or really wrong!

Beyond the First Draft (Saturday 1 Sept 2018)

We learned about the levels and layers of editing, and what to tackle when. We tried out creative and colourful ways of organising content, tightening things up, cutting things down and expanding thin parts. Because we worked on our own stories (though Megan will supply material for anyone who hasn't got that far!) I was able to see how quickly and how dramatically I could improve my first draft. I'm delighted to say that pulling it together and working on the flow and the impact could now become addictive. This day is perfect for anyone who has written enough of a first draft that it begins to need editing - you certainly don't need to have completed a whole book.

You will not find another workshop like this anywhere!

A fantastic day workshop on how to write characters not like yourself. It was full of interesting ways to help think through, develop and write other characters. It was also a great opportunity to meet other people who are writing and feel inspired. As always, Megan's teaching style is fun and informative without anything scary for us shy people :-)

I’ve recently come to the end of the 12 week Story Elements course and would recommend it to anyone who loves writing, wants to write, or hasn’t started writing yet. It’s really packed and goes at a good pace. This really helps with motivation and those moments of ‘stuckness.’ It also means that you don’t realise quite how hard you’re working and at the end you’re amazed by what you produced.

There are so many useful and practical details on this course about elements of the writing process I simply would never have considered.

If I had to pick real highlights it would have to be the fact that the course is great fun, I enjoyed working with a great group of people but, above all it’s Megan’s great sense of humour and enthusiasm which underpins the course and her sharing of her own writing tips and process.

I’ve been on a couple of other courses and have read countless books on writing, but Megan’s course is the first to get me writing and keep me writing. Thank you Megan for the games, the ideas, the tips. Really great!

I recently attended the Story Elements workshop run by Megan. I found this course absolutely invaluable and Megan is an inspirational teacher. Coming into the class with no previous writing experience I was quite apprehensive but quickly found the course to be extremely engaging, well structured, informative and instructive and - most importantly - hugely enjoyable. Megan has clearly spent considerable time and effort in developing, delivering and refining the workshop and this shines through when you experience it.

If you are considering releasing that "inner book" and want to know the tools, tips and tricks of the trade then this is absolutely 100% guaranteed to help.

After doing the Creative Writing Starting Points course last Autumn, I would highly recommend the 12 week Story Elements course to anyone with an interest in creative writing, whether you are already working on a project or even if you just have a vague ambition to start one! I so enjoyed working with such a friendly, dynamic and interesting group, learning more about the structure and mechanics of building a story. My favourite topics were Plot Layering, Place, Time, Detail and Characters.

Megan's classes are fast paced, informative, varied and fun and she combines positivity, good humour and generosity of spirit with expertise, erudition and a touch of magic. At weeks 4, 8 and 10, the course offers the opportunity of Megan's professional feedback on three pieces of writing up to 2,000 words or 40 lines of poetry, something which I dreaded last year but now recognise as invaluable. I hope to do the new Poetry course next year.

I took the Starting Points course. It was such a treat to spend an evening a week creatively exploring one or two aspects of writing. I signed up to dislodge some of the crust on my writing practice, to open up a few new perspectives, and have fun trying some new things. Megan's course delivered on all counts: light-hearted yet serious, well-paced as well as relaxed, depth of content plus plenty of frivolity, fairy lights, and laughter. There was room to get to know other participants a little bit, share some work, and also focus on an unfolding personal creative process.

The course is really packed with material and activities yet the evening does fly by all too quickly. Megan is great at creating, holding, and motivating the space for people at multiple levels simultaneously-- she is right that this course works equally well for beginning writers and those with more experience. She structures 'homework' activities so as to help you bring creative practices into your life as habits in a persisting way. I wholeheartedly recommend The Writer's Greenhouse & hope to take another course in the future.

I attended the 8 week creative writing course Starting Points this autumn. It was fantastic! I haven't done any regular creative writing in over 10 years and wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe I imagined the process to be serious, hard work and instructive, which would be helpful and interesting, but I hadn't anticipated how much fun it would be, or how vibrant the people on the course I would meet were. Megan is a dynamic teacher with plenty of ways to help you improve your writing but her real skill is making the whole process inviting, fulfilling and fun which allows all the information, hard work and learning to happen painlessly.

Each week focused on a different starting point and includes things like genres, flash fiction, poetry, ingredients for a plot and so forth. This meant that we were exposed to a wide variety of types of creative writing and I learnt about forms I didn't know were recognised. It was a wonderful opportunity to experiment with styles and forms of writing that you would normally avoid or hadn't previously considered. I enjoyed the chance to practice free writing and explore poetry-things that I had not paid attention to before. This course really was a great starting point that has got me writing again.

I attended the course after a prolonged period of ill health, advised Megan that I was still recovering and was not sure how good my stamina would be. I found her to be extremely thoughtful and considerate of my needs. Therefore, don't let health concerns deter you from finding out if the course is suitable for you!

I’ve just completed the Creative Writing Starting Points course which I found very helpful and enjoyable. I was very nervous about going, whether I wrote well enough to participate and the possibility of getting confidence-crushing criticism. I actually sat in the car before the first lesson wondering if I was brave enough to go in. (Heart of a lion, this one…) I had been put off other courses demanding to know if I was SERIOUS about my writing and ready to work HARD? Quite honestly, no, because I have a full-time job and a young family. I am SO glad I went that first week, and every week since. Megan is a fantastic teacher, the atmosphere is friendly, uncompetitive and fun. Feedback is constructive. Week after week I’d leave the class with others, all of us commenting on how quickly the time had gone. I’ve learned a lot, and am determined to keep writing regularly. This course really has opened a door!

I attended two of Megan's one-day summer-writing workshops and absolutely loved them. I desperately wanted to attend them all, frankly, because I knew just from one phone conversation that she is a rare gem of a teacher: the kind of person who imparts inspiration, wisdom, expertise and hard-headed advice in equal diplomatic measure. She brings out the very best in each student on the course, and we all benefited from the interactions with each other, the games and the brain-busting exercises that Megan had devised.

What a buzz in the room! So much creative energy! I think every one of us left with the impetus and resolve to write more and write better, and Megan's courses certainly delivered the tools for this in spades. I speak as a publishing professional - having been involved in fiction editorial for more than twenty years - and also as a published author. It was so humbling and fantastic and brilliant to discover how much more there is to the world I've inhabited for so long.

If I lived in Oxford, I'd be a regular student, and will certainly be keeping an eye out for more of Megan's weekend workshops. Her passion and vitality translate into the most innovative and informed writing programmes I've ever seen, and her generous spirit will leave you completely inspired to achieve whatever you drives you - whether it's just having fun with like-minded people, or completing the next bestseller.

I joined the Imaginary Worlds course because I wanted to think more creatively, get writing and meet some new people who love sci fi and fantasy - this course fulfilled all three but so much more! Having thought I would never be able to write a novel, I came away with 4 great new storylines; I met some amazing new friends and the weekly get-togethers in Megan's house quickly became the highlight of my week.

Megan's sessions are well structured, timed to perfection and full of laughter. She runs masses of exercises to break down any mental barriers you might have about writing and to get you to put pen to paper. They suit total novices like me and people with a novel in progress who need an injection of enthusiasm and rigour to get things done. I think the most valuable thing I have learnt is that I have the power to write, to stop shooting myself down before I even start, the process of moving from first to final draft and most important of all - the need to create regular periods of time when you commit to writing.

Expand Your Repertoire - Genuinely Inspirational!

I came to the Expand Your Repertoire one-day workshop having not written anything for 5 years. I left with a booklet full of ideas, renewed confidence in my writing, and some good friends to boot.

Megan is an excellent teacher, and every second of the full-day course was used to brainstorm, plan, introduce new ideas and angles, and then play around with them in our own writing.

I've been on a number of courses in London and Oxford, and this was certainly the best value-for-money of them all. So much so that, once I've finished this review, I'm going to carry on writing ;-)

I would heartily recommend Megan's courses to anyone considering creative writing; the mixture of people range from people who are new to the discipline, to people who have published several novels. Everyone got a lot out of the day. I can't wait for the next one.

Imaginary Worlds - Brilliant!!!

I'd been dithering about finding a writing course for a couple of years, fearing I wouldn't be able to come up with a good story, or that it would be a struggle working out a good plot, or simply that I haven't got it in me to write fiction anyway. I'm pretty good at emails, but I hadn't actually done any kind of creative writing since Primary School.

Megan got me writing ... stuff that I'd never imagined I could do ... in a way that I've never written before. Never in a million years would I have believed I could produce a scene featuring two teenage boys who got up to no good, set 30,000 years ago, creating a language based on Czech, inventing plant names, ceremonies, social structures, and locations. For me as a beginner writer, it was great not to focus on storyline and plot, but instead Megan got us tuning in to our imagination, pulling out anything that seemed like an 'idea' no matter how fantastical or daft it might seem at first. There was much shared discussion, and equally as much individual writing in small bite-sized chunks, inspired scribbling in coloured pens on neat little work sheets. We made collages with magazine pictures and special glue, we looked at cleverly focussed excerpts from books in which writers had effectively done what we were about to do. We had scrummy biscuits in the break.

Megan is a brilliantly focussed teacher with a hearty sense of humour. I'd arrive at the class tired after a full day at work, and very soon be buzzing with ideas and feeling inspired to just try something small, and see where it wanted to go. I actually couldn't wait to do my homework (most unusual) and found myself getting up early on a Sunday morning (even more unusual) just to try out an idea for 10 minutes without judging it ... and realised that I was now writing from a completely different part of my brain! You bet I've signed up for Story Elements now!

Imaginary Worlds

What an incredible teacher Megan is! After attending the summer sessions, I caught the Writers Greenhouse bug and wanted to spend more and more time creating in this greenhouse, no, hot house of magical ideas. Each lesson is so well organised yet fluid and flexible. I have picked up so many tools and ideas from the activities and exercises. Megan is so supportive no matter where you are on your writing journey. The personal feedback from our submissions was so invaluable. I really didn't want the course to end and can't wait for the next one and the summer workshops.


March 15, 2017

I loved, loved, loved Megan Kerr's 'Story Elements' writing course. I took the course in Fall 2016, and it was inspiring, fun, and incredibly organized and well-paced. I have taken other writing classes before, but Megan's was simply the best course of its kind I've experienced.

Megan creates a fun, inspirational environment while at the same time packing in an incredible amount of practical and useful information on the nuts and bolts of writing itself and the elements and structure of creating effective stories. Megan opened my eyes to the ways to build stories and access my own creativity through multiple different exercises. There is simply no dead space in the course-- each moment is focused and yet fun, and each section of activity is well-timed so that you are participating and learning the entire time.

The small group structure is effective and Megan sets a wonderful tone for participation and sharing that just works perfectly. Megan has planned out each lesson to the minute and prepares incredibly well, so you come away each week with very concrete knowledge and elements to practice through "homework." I found myself looking forward to the class each week and still miss it now that it's over.

If you are looking for a class to spark your own creativity, teach you practical steps of how to work creatively to get stories done, and inspire you to recognize good writing and create your own stories, look no further. I highly recommend Megan and her courses in The Writer's Greenhouse.

I've now been to three Writer's Greenhouse workshops and each turned out to be a really fun day, filled with playful, thought provoking and inspiring activities.

I'd not been on any writing workshops before, but after these I will definitely look to doing more in the future. As well as meeting new people from a whole mixture of backgrounds, each session left me with interesting ideas and new ways of working to take away.

I would say the summer of writing workshops are great whether you already write or are just thinking about beginning and want some fun exercises to give you food for thought or a gentle push.

On top of all this I've discovered some great new books and new writers through the extracts Megan uses - I'm looking forward to doing lots more reading and writing!

I found this course via Google after hunting high and low for a local writing course that didn't focus on the academic side of writing, and I can't recommend Megan enough. The atmosphere is friendly and you have so much fun; the hours just pass you by and I couldn't wait 'til the next class.

I wanted to meet a like minded group of writers to share my writing with and to receive assignments that would keep me motivated and on track. I got all of that and so much more. The activities in class are all time based so you can't overthink them which I found really useful. All the tasks completed went into the 'Plot Bank', which was a folder of concepts we had built up over the 12 week course, which got divided out in the last class. The homework assignments were very motivating: sometimes they were carrying on from tasks that we had done in class, and sometimes you could continue with your own piece if you were working on a novel outside of class.

The feedback on assignments I found really useful, and Megan would always give me good tips of what could be improved or what I needed to focus on more. With me, it was dialogue - she gave me a very good tip of colouring in the dialogue so I could focus on what each character was doing and feeling at the time, which I have begun to use moving forward, as well as so much more.

I loved every minute of the course and would highly recommend Megan if you want to take up writing, or like me you had something in progress but wanted to add extra layers and gain new ways of searching for inspiration.

After completing the 12 week course, the group have agreed to meet up every month and discuss what they have done to keep us all motivated, and I am storming through my own novel keeping in mind everything Megan has taught me. I will also be taking the popular follow on course once places are available. If you love writing but are stuck for ideas, you need to do this course. I can now say as a result I am more confident about talking through my ideas with people and find myself making writing time so I can progress with my own novel.

I recently completed this week course and I can highly recommend it. Megan is a great teacher and I was always disappointed when it was time to go home! This is the first writing course I've done and I'm really glad I chose it out of all the groups that are available. Megan provides a huge amount of course materials for you to work on during the sessions, and then sends you home with a handy little booklet recapping what you learnt that session, plus ideas for how to apply those points to your own novel. By the end, you have 12 booklets to remind you of everything you’ve done, along with a selection of the worksheets you’ve completed with the group so you can use the same ideas at home when working on your own writing.

Usually I am very private about my writing and don't share my work, but doing this course helped me to realise the benefits of sharing ideas with other writers. Even though you don’t directly discuss your personal work, it's great for building up your confidence in talking about your writing in general, and really opens your eyes to how beneficial it is to discuss things with others. It was a really supportive group and a thoroughly enjoyable 12 weeks. Tea, biscuits and colourful felt-tip pens provided :)

I can't recommend this course enough. Megan is a great teacher and the structure of the 12 weeks really gets into the important part of writing a novel - storytelling. This isn't a course on prescriptive grammar or a set of rigid rules to follow for developing a work - it's a series of exercises, experiments, games, and discussions which explore the full length and breadth of what goes into a novel. By the end of the course we had, as a group, an enormous pile of ideas, plots, characters, and concepts (which we could take home with us!). If you want to write but aren't quite sure where to start, or how to get ideas, this course is for you. If you're already writing and aren't quite sure where to go next, this is also for you. If you've got that one idea you've been playing with for years but never quite got around to writing down - well, I'm 10,000 words into mine.

I signed up for Megan's Novel Writing course having not done anything like this before. I had no idea what to expect and quite honestly on the first lesson almost drove away again through blind panic! I am glad I didn't, because this course has taken me from being a shy, nervous writer behind closed doors to a happier, more confident writer who has actually started submitting things!

Megan carefully planned a well structured week by week course around all the elements of building a novel, and although it's quite fast paced and expectations of you are quite high, you end up absorbing much more than you thought you would and by the end you realise just how much you gain from a mere 12 weeks. This isn't a course on how to write prose or find your voice, it is for people who need a bit of help with the elements of novel building, techniques, what goes where and how to structure the full package of a novel.

The environment is incredibly supportive, relaxed and informal yet the pace and exercises keep it feeling professional and constructive. Megan provides an enormous wealth of materials and activities which are effective because they are structured and fun and she makes it clear what the outcome should be for each one. Megan has a huge bank of knowledge in all things writing and by working with her and the group of students together it makes for an inspiring and brilliantly fun experience.

I would recommend this course for anyone wanting to develop their story building knowledge and to get inspired to write again. I wouldn't recommend it if you think you already have a vast knowledge of plot layering, characterisation etc and just want to write.

I have attended several writing workshops over the years and this one-day workshop was by far the most enjoyable and useful. It was supportive without being prescriptive.

The well-prepared activities balance collaborative, imaginative fun with practical approaches for developing believable characters and solid plots. These activities, with visual and physical elements, help to make the process less abstract and more manageable.

Megan's classroom experience is evident in her supportive, inclusive manner and high expectations. I was absorbed by the activities and only later did I realise quite how much ground we had covered and how many new ideas and strategies I was taking home with me.

On the one-day course, writers are asked to share their current writing projects for group discussion and developmental activities. For me, these exceptionally helpful for unlocking characters and plot from their synopsis and in bringing a fresh and optimistic perspective to the whole project.

I found it to be an inspiring, informative and professionally organised workshop that was also enormous fun. I recommend it heartily to fiction writer who is looking for constructive organisational tips and creative stimulation.
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