Sunday, January 26, 2014

Memoir/ Fiction/ Travel Writing Masterclasses with Beth beginning 1 March 2014

Places still available: contact Beth at

These fortnightly half-day workshops are a chance for participants to work with me (and other members of a small workshop group of 6) over three months in the development of your writing towards a larger piece of work - e.g. a novel, a travel book, a memoir, a collection of stories.

The masterclasses feature indepth workshopping and detailed written editorial feedback from me each meeting, as well as a lesson focussing on an advanced writing craft skill (e.g. structure, transitions, description, point of view) and in-class writing exercises.

The masterclasses are for people who have previously attended writing workshops or classes, or have already published their writing, and therefore have some experience of writing craft. They are strictly limited to 6 participants to ensure that everyone has adequate time for discussion and feedback on their writing projects.

The emphasis is on supporting your writing, creating new work in a safe and nurturing environment, as well as learning to read as a writer and give constructive critical feedback on each other's writing. Students are also encouraged to exercise judgement in accepting feedback that is useful and productive. 

I find that deep learning and understanding can occur when people are engaged in other creative works, as much as their own. I also emphasize the rituals and practices of writing: it is practice, after all, that invites the muse to appear. And when we are working on a big project, we need to pace ourselves, with support and kindness, in order to be able to carry the work the distance it needs to go. It can be lonely and difficult working on one's own!

The meetings are fortnightly on Saturday afternoons and run for 5 hours (with breaks and lots of cups of tea/coffee and snacks to keep us going!). They are somewhat intense but on the whole rewarding (see comments by past participants below).

When:       6 fortnightly Saturday meetings, beginning 1 March 2014
Dates:       1, 15 & 29 March, 12 & 26 April, 10 May 2014
Time:         1.30 - 6.30pm (including  breaks)
Where:      Bronte 2024 in Sydney 
Cost:          $1000
You will get: 30 class hours in total (six x 5-hour workshops) and mentorship of you and your writing over the course of the masterclasses. Six detailed copy and structural edits/feedback on your writing from me (up to 2500 words to be submitted per class) - these edits alone would cost $400. A reader of course readings and writing craft notes, in-class writing exercises, presentation/ discussion of particular writing/ editing skills & techniques. Each meeting you will also receive verbal feedback and detailed discussion of your work from me and other members of the group. You will also get access to a safe space in which to test out your writing and exchange ideas and skills - a community of writers, engaged in a similar writing journey. Tea/ coffee/ snacks also provided.
Course covers: In-depth writing and editing skills for fiction (short stories or a novel) and creative non-fiction (memoir/ travel narratives/ personal essays, nature writing); generation of new material through writing exercises and reading/ discussion of  samples of particular craft skills; advice on writing craft and sustaining your writing life, as well as publication strategies; how to give and receive feedback/ criticism that is supportive and helpful to yourself and others as writers.
Application Process & Registration: Due to the small number of participants, there will be a selection process based on whether I consider I can be of assistance to you and your writing project; quality of work; and how the different projects in the group will resonate with each other. Selection will be based on a half page description of your project, as well as a two page example of your writing, which should be submitted to me by email ASAP.
Closing Date for Applications: 10 February 2014 (but as places are limited, it would be a good idea to send me your proposal in good time)
Contact:     For more information, please contact Beth at:
Topics Covered:

Masterclass 1: Critiquing, Workshopping, Intent
Masterclass 2: Editing, Description, Scenes
Masterclass 3: Transitions in Place and Time, Show and Tell
Masterclass 4: Structure: Plot Shapes and Sequences
Masterclass 5: Foreshadowing and Subtext
Masterclass 6: Polishing, Publishing and Sustaining Your Writing Project/ Writing Life

SOME COMMENTS from past participants of Beth's Memoir/ Fiction Masterclasses 2010-2013:

Kim P: (whose novel was shortlisted for the 2013 QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program) Thank you so much for all your teaching, editing and patience. This would never have happened without you, I was so lucky to have been part of that wonderful class with such a stellar group of women. I know this is a development program, and there is absolutely no guarantee of anything more, but it is so great to have this opportunity.

Kate R: You are such a gifted teacher and editor, Beth, and my classes with you have opened up for me a new way of writing and thinking. You have helped me solve the impasse I'd come up against before beginning classes with you. This was, of course, the question of narrative voice. I feel I've found the voice of the book, and I really didn't expect it would take so short a time to do so, and I have you to thank. (2013)

Odette S: I liked being in a ‘safe space’ around other writers sharing our work, learning together, guided by a fabulous teacher; improvement in my craft; being inspired by the group; reading some amazingly good work (and even commenting on them!); being REQUIRED to write AND read (that discipline has long been overdue); ideas from the others’ work and the reading. I was given confidence that I ‘could do this’. The course exceeded my expectations. The tutor, teaching method and materials were excellent and the masterclass stoked my dream [of writing my story]. The course was very good value.
Elizabeth B: I think more than anything the course provided the discipline to keep going with my project… now I have a much clearer view of the structure of what I'm writing and how the content can evolve inside it. I knew that the tutor would be fabulous… (that was part of the inspiration for taking the course!) and the writing materials were excellent… I would absolutely recommend it to someone who has a project and is looking for support and feedback to help them along what is otherwise a pretty lonely road… the community it provides has been invaluable to me.
Karen W: I gained more confidence and trust in my work; practice at critiquing; an avenue which allowed experimentation and a response to it; consolidation of writing skills; a group I am excited about continuing to work with. [The course] fulfilled all my expectations, which I must add were very high. Beth inspired, challenged and encouraged her students. She created a supportive, respectful, ordered and safe environment. The material was highly relevant and interesting. I have already recommended this course to everyone who will listen.
Leanne M: I liked the detailed feedback... The range of input was helpful - the variety of perspectives was very valuable. Giving feedback also helped me to start to look at my own work more objectively. The discussions and exercises on different topics related to writing craft helped me to see some of what I need to do and an inkling of how to do it. I feel that I am well-equipped now to take my first draft to the next stage. That was my goal and it has been reached. The tutor was knowledgeable, friendly and kind, also encouraging and supportive. Firm when that was needed in terms of feedback/constructive criticism points. Teaching methods are very immersive and experiential and therefore effective. Materials - the handouts each session - are helpful and valuable references for the future… a good mix of inspiration, examples and practical guidance. I would recommend the course, but emphasise that each participant has to be prepared to work and give of themselves. It was so good I didn't want the series to end! Mind you I was exhausted - like a marathon runner perhaps. Thanks for a great course.
Angela R: I loved being part of a community of writers; hearing from Beth about the views and approaches of other writers in the world; being entrusted by others in the group to read and comment on their precious work; the warm, professional atmosphere; learning from Beth’s great bank of knowledge and her insights; Beth’s critiques, delivered always in a gentle, respectful, enquiring, and competent way. The course has strengthened my commitment to my project, given me more confidence, and forced me to meet a regular ‘deadline’ – otherwise it’s too easy to ease off, attend to other demands etc. etc. I’m still fending off that critic that tells me to be a more attentive friend, mother, blah blah, but the course has emboldened me to honour an early vision I had (i.e., as a child): to write novels.                                                 
Greg W: Just want to thank you for being such a fabulous writing teacher, and for selecting such a great class of writers. It was a privilege being involved. I have learnt so much. As mentioned, I need to digest all you have passed on to me, which will take several months. You have created a great learning environment, and opened 'the darkroom of my mind'. Thanks so much. [Greg is a photographer by profession.]