Do you like writing stories?

Do you dream of having your work loved by others?

Would you like to have fun discussing ideas and improving your craft?

If so, you might like to join my friendly creative writing group which takes place in Ipswich every Thursday evening from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Email suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com to make an initial contact and ask any questions.

Or maybe you’d prefer to sign up for my four week course in June 2019 aimed at intermediate level writers. (Click here for details)

Mai Black – Course Tutor

My Qualifications and Experience

I love helping people to improve the quality of their writing as well as making the whole experience of being a writer more enjoyable, sociable and creative.

I have a degree in English Literature, am a trained teacher and have been running creative writing groups in Ipswich for the last eight years. I’ve won competitions for short stories, travel writing and poetry with my work appearing in Best Magazine, Let’s Talk, Suffolk Magazine and The Telegraph. I have three times been a guest on Radio Suffolk’s Creative Corner and currently divide my time between teaching English and working as a freelance writer for CGP Publishing.

THURSDAY GROUP (2)

My Thursday evening creative writing sessions take the form of one off workshops, covering topics such as ‘How to Write a Great First Line’ or ‘What Makes a Well-Rounded Character?’ They give participants the opportunity to write alongside other people, learn new techniques, try out new ideas and become a more active part of the local writing community. The sessions are held weekly at my home in Ipswich. (email me for the IP3 address).  Having a home setting helps to create a cosy, welcoming environment. Tea, coffee and homemade cakes or biscuits are available free of charge.

Each individual session costs £10 or , if you come regularly, you can pay £30 monthly in advance to make a significant saving.

writing group
An inspiring evening with novelist Rosy Thornton (left).

Here’s some of the feedback I’ve recieved:-

Karen Harradine

I have only recently started to attend Mai’s writing groups. After my first session, I felt confident enough to write my first short story and enter this into a competition.

Teresa Martin

I had written on-and-off for years but always in isolation. Having a talented bunch of people to bounce ideas off is great and the feedback is incredibly helpful.

Clare Rodger

It’s good to be surrounded by people who are as passionate about writing as I am.

Megan Musgrove

I joined the Writer’s Group as way to improve my writing skills. I stayed because the encouragement is fantastic, it has inspired a lot of new ideas and the people are just lovely.

Graham Cleaver

The combination of a friendly group of like-minded people and expert, supportive tuition is just what I needed.

Jen Pierce

I think it can be quite daunting going to a group like this for the first time, but everyone is so friendly and supportive. The group has inspired me to finish my first novel.

A typical evening’s format 

  • Everyone briefly tells the group what they have written or read during the week
  • Paired discussion of a piece of writing – either from a group member or a professional piece
  • A practical writing activity
  • Input on a chosen subject e.g. characterisation, settings or similes
  • A break for refreshments and general chatting
  • A time to write individually based on the input provided
  • A time to share work and get feedback from myself and the group

(It’s lovely when people read their work aloud but it’s OK if you choose not to.)

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Individual Sessions

You also have the option of working one to one. I’m often available during week days so this option may suit people who’d rather not travel in the evenings. You can use the time however you wish. Maybe you’d like to talk through ideas for new stories, discuss plotting techniques or receive detailed, honest feedback on your work.

Each session costs £25.

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Here are some lovely comments  I’ve received from someone I’ve been working with.

“I’ve really enjoyed working one to one on my novel. Mai’s helped me with plotting, characterisation, style and theme.  Most of all she’s helped to give me the motivation to get the job done!” – Carl, Ipswich

Editing and Proofreading

If you’d like me to edit or proofread your work via email, send me a short extract of approximately one thousand words and we can discuss a fee. I typically charge £20 per 1000 words for this service.

editing

Individual Achievements of Group Members

  • Caroline Goldsworthy’s first novel Tangent was nominated for the 2019 Selfies Award.
  • Gem and Kelly from Thursday’s Damselfly group launched a reading blog The Book Eaters.
  • Kelly won our concept competition and received very encouraging feedback from agent Meg Davis.
  • Gem was a runner up in a competition for Dystopian World stories
  • Aaron won our synopsis competition to receive feedback on his work from literary agent Meg Davis
  • Elliot had his story published in Fiction Vortex Magazine
  • Graham has written a variety of interviews and record and theatre reviews. He says there’s a lot more to come so watch this space.
  • Megan Musgrove has had a number of novels published. Click here to take a look.
  • William won a competition to be one of Suffolk’s Young Poets of the year and read his work alongside Allan Ahlberg
  • Kes has had an article published on the Ipswich Town Talk website entitled ‘Town’s Last Premiership XI – Where Are They Now?’

Examples of Recent Activities

Sometimes we have a competition to see who can write the most words in a week. Here’s a recent winner with his well-earned prize.

tony winner

Sometimes we try out the famous ‘cut up technique‘ as used by David Bowie and TS Eliot-

poets

A mini poem/story based on the Ipswich Waterfront

We always make time for a silent writing activity.

damselfly group
Writing alongside Australian author Ian Andrew

Intermediate Level Creative Writing Course – June 2019

This creative writing course is designed for people with a story to tell. It could be a true story from your life, an unfinished novel or just an idea that came to you whilst chopping onions last week.

The ideal participant is someone who already has some creative writing experience but feels that they would benefit from revisiting the basics in order to sharpen up their skills and move forward in their writing.

The course takes place over four Tuesday evenings in June 2019 and is hosted from my home in Ipswich (IP3 9TS).

Each session lasts two hours which includes a fifteen minute break for chatting and refreshments. People usually arrive at approximately 7.15pm for a start time of 7.30pm. Sessions end promptly at 9.30pm.

Homemade spicy cupcakes with juicy sultanas.

The course costs £30, payable in advance. As soon as I receive payment, your place on the course is guaranteed. If the course is cancelled, you will, of course, get a full refund.

Here are the topics for each week. Don’t worry if you have to miss the odd session, just let me know in advance.

4th June      Structuring your story

11th June    Helping your reader emotionally invest in your characters

18th June    Weaving dialogue naturally into a scene

25th June    Practical reasons for writing and how to seek publication


Each week bring a pen, a notebook and (possibly) a folder to keep your A4 handouts in.

Homework is optional on the course but you may like to bring roughly one hundred words to share each time. To the first week, bring whatever you like – a poem, the introductory paragraph of a novel or a short plot outline are all good options.

If you’d like to know more about the course or any of the other writing services I offer, email me at suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com.

Introductory Creative Writing Course – March 2019

You can also have a chat about the various options over the phone. It’s best to send me an email to arrange a mutually agreeable time. My phone number is 07943 068033.

Writing Websites

Here are a few writing links that might interest you.

The first is a good way to chat to other writers across Suffolk, ask questions and share information.

Suffolk Writers Group Facebook Site 

Writing Competitions

Studying for a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Suffolk.

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6 thoughts on “Do you like writing stories?”

  1. Hello Mai,

    My name is Rhys Moffat- I am a 26 year old history teacher who has recently moved to the area.I would like to use my summer to get into writing and in the long term attempt to write a novel. I was wondering whether the Suffolk writers group would be a good opportunity to meet like minded people. I am a complete novice though, so may well be out of my depth early on.

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Kind Regards,

    Rhys

  2. Thanks Nick. Yes, it was a really fun course. I’m running another in June. Details are at the bottom of my homepage.

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Free the writer within.