Inspirations

Imagining History workshops – coming to a place near you…

Come on an Adventure in Time Travel!

We run a programme of creative writing workshops that take place in historical places, called Imagining History.  In these workshops, groups of young writers, guided by a professional writer, have special access to amazing and inspirational historic buildings, sites and landscapes, to do some active exploring and writing, and to be introduced to innovative and unexpected ways of finding the stories lurking there.

We’re excited to announce a programme of events being developed in June and July 2017 at the following sites in England and Scotland:

DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY:

5 June: Caerlaverock Castle (11 to 15 yrs)

6 June:  Drumlanrig Castle (11 to 15 yrs)

7 June: Caerlaverock Castle (16 to 19 yrs)

8 June: Drumlanrig Castle  (16 to 19 yrs)

EDINBURGH:

12 June: Trinity House of Leith (16 to 19 yrs)

13 June: Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh (11 to 15 yrs)

SCOTTISH BORDERS:

14 June: Abbotsford House, Melrose (11 to 15 yrs)

19 June:  Bowhill House, Selkirk (16 to 19 yrs)

NORFOLK

15, 16, 22, 23 June:  Norwich Castle  (16-19 yrs)

‘Microscope Worlds’ uses the inspiration of the V&A’s touring exhibition of 300 years of miniature architecture as inspiration for Historical Fiction. In collaboration with the Young Norfolk Arts Festival.

28 June: Blickling Hall (16 to 19 yrs)

12 July: Holkham Hall (11 to 15 yrs)

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

5  July – Boughton House (11 to 15 yrs)

6  July – Boughton House (16 to 19 yrs)

SUFFOLK

15 July – Sutton Hoo (11 to 15 yrs)

16 July – Sutton Hoo (16-19 yrs)

For more information, and how to book, please email YWSPrize@outlook.com

WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR WORKSHOPS:

‘looking at how you enticed teenagers to build on their conversations with historical witnesses, to develop empathy, and then to create fictional personalities and dialogues in the span of only a few hours, I understood how these other aspects of human imagination can be brought to bear upon historical material.’    Dr Dina Gusejnova, lecturer in Modern History, University of Sheffield

‘this fantastic event was interesting and inspiring – it offered a connection to history in an innovative and creative way and it has motivated me to introduce historical fiction writing into my classes’          F.K., James Gillespie’s School, Edinburgh

Writing tips

The directors of the Young Walter Scott prize share some advice on getting started

The best way to start isn’t necessarily at the beginning. 

  • Picture a scene you’d like to happen at some point – any point – in your story and write about it.
  • Have a conversation with one of your characters – ask him or her all the questions to which you need to know the answers. What’s their favourite colour? Their favourite food? Least favourite smell? Their greatest fear? Their favourite place? Their politics? You won’t necessarily use all that information in your story, but that character will be so much easier to write, and will sound so much more convincing because you know him or her so well.
  • Start with a mind-map of your story if you don’t want to write out a plan in detail. Make it as complicated as you like!
  • Doodle – who knows what ideas you’ll come up with?
  • What do you want your readers to feel when the story ends? Write the final paragraph.

Video tips from the masters

Take some advice from some acclaimed authors of historical fiction and previous Walter Scott Prize winners, filmed specially for the YWSP, including  David Almond, Helen Dunmore and Hermione Eyre, whose videos are on our YouTube Channel here