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I'm very aware how lucky I am to make a living from writing books - my dream from being 12 years old.

But one disadvantage I had when I was trying to get published was that I really had no idea how publishing works, and I only learned the craft of writing by years of trial and error (hence all the unpublished novels I had sitting in a drawer!).

I know there are many writers who find it impossible to attend conferences, or to afford the courses which might be vital to their development. I recently saw a course advertised at 699, which I'm sure just isn't affordable for many people. Also, they almost always take place in the cities - Writing East Midlands, for example, run excellent writing school programmes, but are only able to offer them in Nottingham and Leicester at the moment:

With this in mind, I decided to bring opportunities to writers in areas away from the big cities, making them genuinely accessible and affordable. So I've decided to offer my novel writing courses free in my part of the East Midlands (Nottinghamshire and neighbouring areas).

The subjects I cover include character, setting and plot, as well some of the essential technical elements of the craft which new writers often struggle with, such as controlling point of view, 'Show Don't Tell' and the use of dialogue, etc. I also share advice on routes to getting published, and some insights into the mysterious world of publishing itself. There's everything from tips for keeping your readers hooked to an explanation of the passive voice and why you should avoid it. While my experience is largely in the world of crime fiction, much of the content of my course applies to other types of novel writing.

If you're an aspiring novelist in the early stages of your writing career, either with a first novel you're working on, or just with ideas you want to develop by learning more about the craft, this is an opportunity for you. If you know a friend or family member who might benefit, please pass it on. And feel free to share the information with other writers in your area. Adult writers only though, please (18 and over).


The first of my courses will take place in Retford, North Nottinghamshire, starting on Saturday 2nd February 2019. It will run over six weekly sessions for two hours on Saturday mornings (10am - 12noon), with the last session on Saturday 9th March.

The Retford course is filling up fast, so to be sure of a place please send an email to

A second course will run in Alfreton, Derbyshire, from Saturday 23rd March. It runs until Saturday 4th May, with one break on 27th April. There are still some places available at Alfreton, but put your name down as soon as possible:

When emailing, please be sure to indicate which course you'd like to take part in.

Courses may be run in other parts of the East Midlands region later in the year if there's enough interest. If you'd like to be kept informed on future plans, please send an email giving your name, the town where you're located (or that you can get to easily), and a few details about what you're interested in writing and your level of experience. Locations will be chosen where most people are based.

The only cost might be the hire of a venue, but many venues have already been offered free of charge. Between 6 and 12 people in a group would be needed to make a course viable.

A BIT ABOUT ME: I've been writing all my life - the last 18 years as a full-time novelist - and I first signed with a literary agent nearly 23 years ago, so I think I've gained some experience of the writing business, and a few insights to share. I've worked with several major publishers, both here in the UK and in the USA, as well as foreign publishers in 16 territories around the world. Several of the Cooper and Fry novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers, and the series has won awards on both sides of the Atlantic. I've done countless reader events, at which I get the vital reader's perspective, and I've led courses for Writing East Midlands, as well as running a number of workshops for writing groups, and even for prison inmates. In addition, I've self published 14 titles under my own imprints, so have experience of the self publishing market too. My previous career was in newspaper journalism, with many years as a sub-editor and editor. I have three cats (this may not be relevant!).

I look forward to seeing lots of writers in 2019.

Stephen Booth