Category Archives: Creative Writing Courses

reading and writing love poetry

‘The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you’ – Rumi

Would you like to discuss classic and contemporary love poetry in a friendly, supportive group?

Would you like to learn about different forms of poetry and writing techniques?

Do you want to be inspired to write your own poetry and have the opportunity to receive feedback on your work?

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Mai Black – Course Tutor

This course consists of ten one hour workshops delivered via Zoom, spread out over ten weeks. The intention is to help you gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of poetry as well as inspire you to write a variety of new pieces of your own. It is suitable for both experienced poets and absolute beginners.

Starts: Mon 5th April 2021 (7.30pm to 8.30pm)

Ends: Mon 7th June 2021 (7.30pm to 8.30pm)

Each session costs £5 and lasts for one hour (total £50)

I have recently added a Tuesday session too. This will run from Tuesday 6th April to Tuesday 8th June. Again, it will start at 7.30pm and end at 8.30pm. The content will be the same as for Monday’s group.

Email suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com for enquiries.

Participants on the ‘Nature Poetry’ Couse

Each week, participants will read the poem in advance and try to think of a comment to make or question to ask. All the poems (together with links to the texts) are listed below. After a reading, sharing of ideas and brief input from me, everyone will write a short piece which can either be shared straight-away or worked on before the next session.

On weeks five and ten all participants can choose to read a short published poem as well as one of their own pieces.

The course costs £50 for ten one-hour sessions and is payable by direct debit. If you email me your mobile phone number, I can text you my bank details.

There are only eight places available on each course. I can confirm a place once I receive payment. If the course is cancelled for any reason, I will reimburse you.

Unfortunately I can’t offer automatic refunds if you decide not to join the course at a later date but, if someone else is able to take your place, I will endeavour to do so.

For more information, email suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com.

Or phone me on 07943 068033 (I’m Mai – pronounced May)

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Suffolk Writers Group at work and play. (I’m in the middle at the top).

Here is some of the lovely feedback I received about the last course.

‘This course has been great fun giving me the experience to return to poetry and fully appreciate it.  When I was at school the teacher hated poetry so I never went back to it. I have learnt so much in a relaxed and informative way.  Thank you Mai for a great experience.  I look forward to the next one.’ – Jacqui Martin

‘All I can say is thank goodness for lockdown. Without it I’d never have found this lovely group. Mai is great – I’ve learnt so much in such a short length of time.’ – Sue Dale

‘Brilliant insightful course, rediscovering the beauty of language.’ – Ian Speed

‘It’s such a supportive group and Mai does such a great job in keeping us motivated.’ – Ian Hartley

Poems for discussion and inspiration

Week 1 – Meeting at Night – Robert Browning

Week 2 – Three short poems – Rumi

Week 3 – The Clod and The Pebble – William Blake

Week 4 – Shall I Compare Thee To a Summer’s Day – William Shakespeare

Week 5 – Member’s Choice (one of yours and/or one by someone else)

Week 6 – I Wanna Be Yours – John Cooper Clarke

Week 7 – My Letters! all Dead Paper – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Week 8 – A Marriage – R S Thomas

Week 9 – I Do Not Love Thee – Caroline Norton

Week 10 – Member’s Choice (one of yours and/or one by someone else)

To visit my main website and find out about other writing courses and creative writing resources, click here.

inspiration for short stories

Most of us grew up with short stories: the tales of King Arthur, the Greek myths, Robin Hood and fairy tales like Cinderella or Rapunzel.

Many aspiring writers, though, just want to write novels.

But even if it’s not your long-term goal to be a writer of short stories, I think everyone should give it a try.

It’s a great way to find your writing voice, create interesting characters, build scenes and use structure effectively.

Mai Black – Writing Group Co-ordinator

And you don’t have to commit up to ten years of your life to your first project. You can write a good short story in just a few hours.

If you haven’t already got an idea for a short story, here are a couple of writing prompts:

To use this prompt, pick a pair of characters and one of the sensory images. Hopefully this will start you thinking of a potential scenario.

Example

  1. The musician and ex-fan could meet in a cafe.
  2. The musician gets cross because the ex-fan doesn’t want a picture.
  3. They settle their differences, philosophise about the aging process and share a banana milshake.

This prompt helps to limit the number of characters. Having more than two or three characters in a short story can be confusing. distracting and (most importantly) it may prevent your reader bonding with the main character.

Of course, as with all writing advice, this has exceptions.

Many short stories, especially those written for children are much more populous. For instance ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ has a certain ring to it. ‘Ali Baba and the Thief’ doesn’t quite measure up.

Here is another writing prompt for you to try. The idea is to choose one element at random from each of column.

Example

  1. A dog begins talking one day and demands he be given premium dog food.
  2. The cat, bird and rabbit are jealous and start making requests too
  3. Their owner is terrified, buys them everything they want and runs out of money
  4. The animals feel guilty help him make a reality TV show.

Do you like the ideas I came up with?

Can you come up with something better?

Probably.

It’s hard to get a publishing deal with short story collections but there are loads of opportunities to share your work.

For instance

You could enter online competitions. There are hundreds and hundreds of them and some have prizes of up to £1000.

You could share your work in writers forums.

You could also join a writing group or take a course in writing to help you develop your craft. Here’s a picture of an online writing course I’m running at the moment.

For more writing tips and to find about a range of writing courses, visit http://www.suffolkwritersgroup.com

Or email me at suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com

reading and writing poems about nature

Starts: Mon 4th January 2021

Ends: Mon 8th March 2021

Mondays 10:30am – 11:30am

Or Mondays 7:30pm to 8:30pm

Cost: £50

Rediscover your love of poetry!

…Or maybe you’re looking to find it.

This ten-week course is aimed at people who want to read, write and discuss popular poetry with a group of friendly, like-minded individuals.

The sessions are delivered via Zoom, which allows everyone to easily share their work on the screen as well as take turns to ask questions and share thoughts about the chosen poems.

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Mai Black – Course Co-ordinator

Beginners and experienced writers are equally welcome. I have deliberately chosen poems which are well-known and accessible to all.

Each week, read the poem in advance and print out a copy. Try to think of a comment to make or question to ask. During the session, everyone will write a short piece which can either be shared straight-away or worked on before the next session.

On weeks five and ten all participants can choose to read a short published poem as well as one of their own pieces.

The course costs £50 for ten one-hour sessions and is payable by direct debit. If you email me your mobile phone number, I can text you my bank details.

For more information, email suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com.

Or phone me on 07943 068033 (I’m Mai – pronounced May)

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Suffolk Writers Group at work and play. (I’m in the middle at the top).

Here is some of the lovely feedback I received about the last course.

‘This course has been great fun giving me the experience to return to poetry and fully appreciate it.  When I was at school the teacher hated poetry so I never went back to it. I have learnt so much in a relaxed and informative way.  Thank you Mai for a great experience.  I look forward to the next one.’ – Jacqui Martin

‘All I can say is thank goodness for lockdown. Without it I’d never have found this lovely group. Mai is great – I’ve learnt so much in such a short length of time.’ – Sue Dale

‘Brilliant insightful course, rediscovering the beauty of language.’ – Ian Speed

‘It’s such a supportive group and Mai does such a great job in keeping us motivated.’ – Ian Hartley

Poems for discussion and inspiration

Week One – I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood

Week Two – Pied Beauty – Gerald Manley Hopkins

Week Three – Everybody Sang by Siegfried Sasoon

Week Four – Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost

Week Five – Members’ Choice

Week Six – Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter by John Clare

Week Seven – The Sunlight on the Garden by Louis McNeice

Week Eight – Home – Thoughts from Abroad by Robert Browning

Week Nine – Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney

Week Ten – Members’ Choice

(All these poems can be found in this book. You will also be able to find them easily with an internet search)

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To visit our main website and find out about other writing courses and creative writing resources, click here.

Exploring nineteenth century poetry

During this ten-week course, we’ll be reading and discussing some of the most iconic British poems of the nineteenth century.

Beginning with Daffodils by William Wordsworth, each week will consist of a reading, a chance for everyone to share their ideas and a ten-minute slot for everyone to write a response to the poem. You can then choose whether or not to share your written work with the group.

You’ll learn (or revise) a variety of rhythms, rhyme schemes and poetic forms as well as getting a sense of what it meant to be a nineteenth century poet.

In the future, I will also be running similar courses based on seventeenth, eighteenth and twentieth century poetry.

Currently, all courses are taking place on Zoom. I will be holding regular practice sessions so that you can get used to the system before signing up for a course.

The course costs £50 for ten one-hour sessions and is payable by direct debit or cheque.

I am intending to run this course from 10.30-11.30am on Thursdays, starting in early July but let me know if you can’t make that day/time as I currently have a degree of flexibility.

For more information, please email me at suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com.

John Keats

Here is some of the lovely feedback I received about the last course.

‘This course has been great fun giving me the experience to return to poetry and fully appreciate it.  When I was at school the teacher hated poetry so I never went back to it. I have learnt so much in a relaxed and informative way.  We were all at different levels but it did not matter everyone was so friendly.   Thank you Mai for a great experience.  I look forward to the next one.’ – Jacqui Martin

‘All I can say is thank goodness for lockdown. Without it I’d never have found this lovely group. Mai is great – I’ve learnt so much in such a short length of time.’ – Sue Dale

‘Brilliant insightful course, rediscovering the beauty of language.’ – Ian Speed

‘It’s such a supportive group and Mai does such a great job in keeping us motivated.’ – Ian Hartley

Poems for Discussion and Inspiration

1807 – ‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth 

1820 – Ode To Autumn by John Keats (27th April)

1842 – The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson

1850 – How Do I Love Thee?  – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(Own choice of poems)

1862 – Remember by Christina Rossetti

1871 – The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

1885 – From a Railway Carriage by Robert Louis Stevenson

1890 – The Lake Isle of Innisfree – WB Yeats

Own choice of poem and Poetry Quiz

Suffolk Writers Group at work and play

To visit our main website, click here.