Compelling story writing – setting and dialogue with Greg Mosse

Creative writing and publishing

Ref: SWE12324

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About this course

An enjoyable and varied weekend course for beginners and more experienced writers – all who want to set their work in exciting locations, with a strong sense of time, intriguing dynamic dialogue, and powerful descriptions.

Course Description

The goal of this creative weekend course is to help you with skills in four areas of the writer's craft:

• Making the reader feel that they are there, in the heart of the action – wherever ‘there’ might be

• Making the reader feel that they are present in a fictional moment in time – whether that is in the past, the present or the future

• Drawing the reader in with dynamic, intriguing dialogue that both reveals and conceals – true to life, but intensified by the drama

• Painting exciting descriptions of landscapes and interiors, people and action – keeping the pace high, but giving lots of visual detail

With a careful mixture of tutor-led classes, individual study and collaborative writing, the course uses a variety of visual stimuli, including paintings, plenty of question-and-answer opportunities and lots of professional advice. To provide private writing time, one of the Saturday afternoon sessions is replaced by an extra, after-dinner session on Saturday evening. If you are a non-resident student, you may wish to book dinner on Saturday night to accommodate this session.

Participants may like to consider booking the following course on Creating a whole novel (17–19 February 2023).


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply all the teaching materials.

What students need to bring

  • A notebook/pen or laptop computer
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). Zoe is this necessary for this course? Please see the timetable below: Compelling Story Writing – Where, When, Dialogue and Description Friday: 6:45pm-8:00pm - Arrival: Introduction and dinner 8:00pm-9:00pm - Session 1: Beginnings A lively, wide-ranging introduction to the weekend, focusing on exciting locations in time and space from fiction, with contributions from course participants and some that the tutor would like to share. Saturday: 9:15am-10:30am – Session 2: Where? How do you draw the reader into the fictional world? How much do you need to show and how much can you leave to the imagination? 11:00am-12:00pm – Session 3: When? What are the differences between novels set in the past, the present and the future? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Where do you want to set your novel? 2:00pm-3:30pm – Session 4: Experiments in time and place A well-plotted story has many twists and turns. How do the external circumstances change how a story plays out? What happens if you change the moment or the location? From 4:00pm – Session 5: Private writing You are invited to use the time between tea and the after-dinner session to craft no more than 400 words of original writing. 8:15pm-9:15pm – Session 6: Sharing In this short one hour session, you will have the opportunity to read out your original writing. Sunday: 9:15am-10:30am – Session 7: Dialogue Using some brilliant examples from popular fiction, old and new, we will think about how different authors use very different, but equally successful, styles. 11:00am-12:30pm – Session 8: Description With more brilliant examples from popular fiction, old and new, we will mimic a wide range of descriptive styles – people, places and action. 2:00pm-3:00pm – Session 9: Question and answer We will review what we have discovered and think about how you can include what you have practised.



Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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