Workshops and Courses

Workshops & Courses

I offer workshops in novel and short story writing. Details of my upcoming workshops can be found below, or you can contact me to join my mailing list for advance notice of future sessions.

One Day & Half Day Courses

Editing Your Novel – 10am-4pm, 9th June 2018. Birmingham 

So you’ve got a first draft, or you’ve got stuck wading through the saggy middle trying to write one – where do you go from there? This workshop is all about moving from a draft to a novel. We’ll focus on editing techniques and approaches to help you strengthen your story, keep the action moving, and make your characters leap off the page. We’ll also talk about copy editing and proof reading and how on earth you know when it’s time to stop tinkering with a manuscript.

Publishing Options & Submitting Your Novel – 10am-4pm, 29th September. Birmingham

And once you’ve editing your manuscript, what next? We’ll look at the publishing options available in the current market and talk about crafting the perfect query letter and synopsis for agent and publisher submissions. We’ll also talk about pitching your book, social media, and getting your book in front of readers.

£60 each, including refreshments and lunch, or £108 if you book both courses together.

To book your place complete the form:

Or download a emailable/printable booking form here. All my courses are tailored to the attendees so if there’s something you’d particularly like to cover please just mention it when you book.


Tutored Retreats

Spring Novel Writing Retreat, 16th-18th March 2018 – NOTE: COURSE FULLY BOOKED. To enquire about cancellations/waiting list please contact me.

Take time to write in peaceful surroundings, unhampered by the distractions of everyday life. Our retreats are all-inclusive allowing you to focus entirely on your writing. Emerge inspired and renewed with fresh insights into the writing process and your writing career.

Whether it’s your first novel or your tenth, this retreat is designed to help you focus on the work you have in progress or are about to start. Workshops and exercises will cover vital topics such as character and dialogue, plot structure and setting, point of view, themes and imagery.

This course is aimed at anyone who has a novel in progress, whether you’re developing the initial idea or nearing completion and looking for tips on editing and polishing your manuscript. Workshops will be tailored to the attendees needs, and are likely to include plotting a novel, story structure, and developing engaging characters.

Download the Spring retreat brochure


Writing Popular Fiction, Ty Newydd, 15th-19th October 2018

Developing a novel from the original idea to a completed manuscript is no mean feat, and it can be a very solitary process. This course offers a chance to share the experience with other writers and experienced tutors.  You will develop the building blocks for your novel looking at plot, character, setting and point of view. Tutorials and exercises will help you cultivate the skills to complete and polish a manuscript to a publishable standard. The tutors will look at your work and offer constructive advice on avoiding plot holes, saggy middles and other writing pitfalls. We will also discuss today’s rapidly changing publishing world, and how to get your book in front of agents, editors and readers. The course is suitable for writers across any genre, whether you are just starting to pursue your writing goals, or already have a manuscript nearing completion. There’ll be a mixture of group workshops, discussions, one-to-one tutorials, and lots of time to write.

Five day course with myself, Janet Gover, and special guest Jo Thomas. More details and course booking information here.


I also offer ‘off-the-shelf’ workshops for creative writing groups and classes on subjects including plot, character, setting, and editing & revising.

Comments from past students

“The event was tailored to the needs of the group, well structured and expertly delivered. We managed to cover a great deal in the time and there were a few light bulb moments for all of us. Alison is very engaging as a tutor and brought the theory to life with some fairy-tale examples that everyone could relate to. However, I will never look at Snow White the same again! Thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you.”

“Alison’s courses are friendly, supportive, and constructive. The exercises were great… highly recommended!”

“Alison’s courses encourage creativity and build confidence. These skills continue long after the course is complete. An excellent start for any writer.’

About Alison – the tutor

I am a qualified teacher, specialising in teaching adults. I’ve been teaching creative writing since 2009, and have taught community groups, one-off workshops, adult education courses, and a University of Worcester undergraduate creative writing module. I have also led workshops for the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe.

I am a published novelist, novella writer, and short story writer, and a former winner of the Romantic Novelists’ Association Elizabeth Goudge Trophy. I completed a BA (Hons) degree in Creative Writing with the University of Birmingham in 2008. In addition to the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I am also a member of the Society of Authors.


13 thoughts on “Workshops and Courses

    Elizabeth Smith said:
    October 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    When you say “any stage” – does, I have had the idea for 2 years, recently attended a Guardian Masterclass with Lucy Coats (to find out the rules), and have the first para pretty much cracked count, please? If so I’ll definitely book a place. Thanks Lizzie


      Alison May responded:
      October 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm


      That sounds absolutely fine. There will probably be people on the course who are further down the writing path than you, but so long as you’ve got a strong idea there’ll be plenty that you should find useful.

      Alison x


    […] Workshops and Courses […]


    […] And now the workshop: Romantic novelist, Alison May, is running a ‘Developing Your Novel’ workshop on Sunday 15th November at The Hive in Worcester. It costs a reasonable £40 which includes lunch and refreshments. It is aimed at people who already have a novel-in-progress (at any stage). It will include intensive sessions on plot structure and characterisation, and will also look at skills such as writing a synopsis and editing and revising your novel. Full details on Alison’s website. […]


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    […] of publishing. All the details of both retreats are in the For Writers section on my website: and there’s a discount on the price for anyone who books onto both […]


    In which I am writing a new book « Alison May said:
    February 27, 2017 at 10:09 am

    […] writer and you’d like help finding your personal right way to write a novel, then take a look here for details of upcoming courses. There are still places on the Spring Writing Retreat where you […]


    Inspired by Autumn | Blog About Writing said:
    September 25, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    […] note, my OH has bought me a place on a novel writing weekend next month, for my birthday. It’s this one (the sold-out ‘Autumn Retreat’) to be exact, run by the lovely Alison May and Janet Gover. […]


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