Want to write a novel? If I can do it, so can you!

Writing fiction is about learning the craft and persistence in practicing that craft. it’s not a question of ‘you can write or you can’t’, it’s about learning to write better. You wouldn’t expect to pick up a violin for the first time and be able to play it, would you? You’d make some strange sounds at first, but gradually, you’d learn how to make more pleasng sounds, and eventually, with practice and determination, even beautiful sounds. You can do the same with writing. Our workshops can help you develop your craft, and our Space to Write days allow you time to improve. Check this page regularly for news of what’s coming up!

Workshops are run by myself and Russ Thomas, whose debut, Firewatching, will be published in Spring 2020 by Simon & Schuster in the UK, and S by G.P Putnam’s Sons (Penguin) in Spring 2020

Review of workshops by Bernadette Keeling

Scroll to the bottom of the page for more testimonials

WORKSHOP DATES 2020  (Gift vouchers available for all workshops!) 

Writers hard at work during the last editing and redrafting weekend (scroll down the page for new dates)



Date/time: Saturday, 14 March 2020, 10:00 – 15:30
Venue: The Carpenter Room, Central Library, Surrey St., Sheffield S1 1XZ
Thismasterclass  is kindly sponsored by Sheffield Libraries, so you can grab a place for the bargain price of just £25! Book your place here

Here’s the blurb:

Characters are at the heart of all fiction. No matter how dramatic the story, the events within it only feel real and interesting when they affect the people involved. Through a mix of class discussion and practical writing exercises, this friendly and supportive masterclass will help you to create and develop believable characters with stories to tell.

Join bestselling Sheffield-based authors Susan Elliot Wright and Russ Thomas for an inspiring, motivating and productive day – not to mention plenty of writerly chat over tea and biscuits! Suitable for all aspiring fiction writers, whether you’re a complete beginner or whether you’d like to develop existing skills. Susan’s most recent novel is The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood, and Russ’s debut novel, Firewatching,  published in February.

Date/time: Saturday, 25 April 2020, 10:00 – 16:30
Also, Saturday, 23 May 2020, 10:00 – 16:30
Wesley Hall, Crookes, Sheffield, S 10 1UD
£30 or a special ‘loyalty’ price of £25 for anyone who has previously attended  one of our Workshops or Space to Write dyas.

Would you benefit from some time away from domestic distractions to work on your current project in the company of like-minded people? We’re running a relaxed and informal ‘retreat’ day in Sheffield where you can do just that. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided throughout the day, and we’ll be on hand to support and encourage. If you have a specific problem with your work in progress, we offer a 15 minute ‘surgery’ with one of us as part of the day. We can’t guarantee to solve your problem, but we’ll do our best to help. For those who aren’t working on a specific project but would still like to benefit from the day, we’ll offer a writing prompt in the morning and another in the afternoon, to get you started. There will be some time at the end of the day to read a small section of your work to the rest of the group, though this is purely optional.

Please get in touch via the contact page for details of how to pay. Cost for the day includes tea/coffee and biscuits.

If you cancel at least 14 days prior to the workshop, your course fee will be refunded in full. Sorry, but we cannot offer refunds for cancellations in the 14 days leading up to the workshop



Here’s what they say about us:

“Outstanding – really engaging, professional tutors. Many thanks. Wonderful day – loved it. Came away with so many ideas and renewed energy. Angela Robson
“The workshop really crystallised what my next project is – thank you!” Trina Garnett

“I love these workshops and they bring me back to my writing and inspire me all over again.”
“It was excellent – I loved doing the exercises and listening to others’ writing.” Dr Martyn Smith

I loved it. Having the opportunity to be listened to as well as listening to other people was great.” Darren Westwood.

“I thought the input was very practical and useful.’ Joyce Lillie-Robinson

‘Fantastic. Both tutors had time to give everyone positive feedback and constructive criticism. Variety of activities. Thank you, feel very positive and inspired after today’s session.’ Emily Quinn

‘It was good. I’m a slow writer but found I always had enough time to get ideas down.’ Kate Hewett

More testimonials
Susan has a great gift of encouragement; you learn very early on in her class that your contributions will be respected and valued, whether comments on the practice of writing or pieces of writing produced in class or at home. You find that your best writing will be unstintingly praised and nuggets will be found even in the worst. The teaching is wide ranging and well delivered. The criticism is real, incisive, professional and supportive. Your writing improves as a result both of Susan’s expertise and also of the environment of mutual supportive criticism she creates within the class. Philip West

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each session and can’t recommend the course highly enough!
Susan is an enthusiastic and skilled teacher whose comments, guidance and feedback really brought out the best in our group.  It is clear that Susan really enjoys what she does, and this positive approach to writing filtered through to all of us, with some great results. The group itself was friendly, relaxed and supportive and as the course progressed we developed into more confident and proficient writers. Everyone enjoyed learning and working together and we were all proud of the end results. If you’re an aspiring novelist or you just enjoy writing and would like to see where it takes you, then this is the class for you. Caroline Wheeldon-Wright

‘I have been attending Susan’s classes for six months now and I have thoroughly enjoyed them. Each week you learn some-thing new, which enables you to improve your writing and ideas, to feel more confident as a writer. It has been great to meet new people, hear their stories and the many different styles of writing that come out of the group. Susan has been a great teacher and I feel that I improved just in the six months I’ve been going. I am looking forward to continuing in September and fine tuning my writing with Susan’s help.’ Charlie Narozanska

For anyone who has been pondering, considering, wishing, they could write then Susan’s classes are an ideal way to just get on and do it! Susan’s advice and personal comments on your work are always beneficial and a great way to aid your motivation. The weekly commitment clearly brought improvements to everyone who attended the group which is both warm and relaxed. Claire Gillis Beginners

“The feedback Susan provided helped my short story to win a national competition. I have gained a huge amount of confidence in my writing since completing the course. I would recommend Susan’s courses to anyone wanting to become a better writer. Nice biscuits too.”
Adam Cook

My writing improved out of all recognition because of Susan’s really helpful and stimulating class. It is so much fun and really liberating and encouraging of creativity.

“I have got so much out of the classes and would be happy to recommend them. It is rare to find a teacher who is able to give such measured, fair feedback and to encourage this from others. I suspect others have been put off by overcritical or biased group discussions which can often result when they are not well managed.” Sian Walker

“I was slightly apprehensive about joining Susan’s classes, because I really wanted to find a writing group that tackled the nitty-gritty construction of writing in a friendly, informal atmosphere, and until then I hadn’t found it. I’d been to other writing groups, which I enjoyed, where it was the norm for everyone to present a variety of work every week and to workshop it in class. I wanted to learn more, and soon discovered how Susan’s classes are different. They are well-structured, with clear objectives that take writing skills up several levels. The other writers are friendly and supportive. There are fun, interesting and challenging activities, sparking ideas. Susan is extremely astute, and well-informed about writing and literature. Thanks to her, both my writing and my confidence have improved. I highly recommend any of her courses, or any of her one day workshops.”  Paula Greenless

“I went along to Susan’s class keen to write, but never having managed anything more than sitting in front of an empty page, pen in hand but mind blank.Susan was brilliant at getting ideas to flow, and in the three years I attended her classes, she taught me a lot about “the rules.” Her feedback is kind yet honest, and always constructive. I am now at the final polishing stage of my first novel, and about 10,000 words into my second. This is all Susan’s fault. I am eternally grateful.”  Rebecca Davenport.

“She wanted to write. Of course, she could hold a pen, she had done a touch typing course, she could spell. She could tell you what a gerund was or a split infinitive. But how to hook the reader? At that point she hadn’t yet noticed the body under the desk. Good, good, always bring in a dead body early on. But what is it doing there? Plot, plot – we had a class on that. And who is it? Back story – should I put i back story? Oh God – I’ve forgotten the speech marks. I’m not sure if I am in first person or third. Whose voice is this anyway! Better get down to Susan’s class – she’ll know what to do.” Sue Beardon

“i loved doing writing in this group…i was in a very vulnerable place when i first ventured into the group but i knew that i loved writing and that was my only qualification for coming. On my first occasion i came to a writing day at the Quaker meeting house which of itself has a lovely tranquil atmosphere. We had a fun start playing with definitions of about 10 words and then shared a couple of these within the group. This was an excellent ice breaker and led into some more in-depth writing. i have explored many subjects in the writing group since then and went on to do the weekly writing group. i can’t get to the group very easily any more as my timetable has changed and i have moved further away but i am now busy writing an autobiographical account of my life and it is unfolding in a very different way because of skills i have learned and explored in the group. Thank you  Susan.” Rachel Rice

“Susan gives honest, constructive criticism with a manner that puts everyone at ease. I have enjoyed every one of her classes that I have attended. Before attending I did pieces of writing and posted them to a tutor waiting for what seemed an age for comments. I prefer going to her classes because everything is instantaneous. I like the atmosphere and listening to other peoples work. It always amazes me how different everyones writing is from one theme or word that Susan will give for a writing exercise.” Jean Smith