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Short Story Writing Workshop in York

York TPF workshop

Photograph: Copyright D.C.Thomson

Many Yorkshire based writers have been frustrated by the fact that ‘how to’ workshops run by popular magazines are generally based hundreds of miles away from their homes. Well, Thursday 22nd October was serendipity for some of us. The People’s Friend came to York.

From 10 o’clock in the morning until half past four in the afternoon, the time just whizzed by. We were greeted by Fiction Editor Shirley Blair who spoke at length about how to write a story suitable for TPF and laid many misconceptions to rest. She explained how the magazine, while remaining family friendly, aims to reflects life as it is today, albeit with the edges rubbed off. While its stories will never be edgy or risqué, they will continue to push the boundaries. Prolific writer Kate Blackadder shared with us how she finds inspiration and structures her stories.

With its weekly magazine, fiction specials and annual, TPF accepts 600 stories a year, far more than any other magazine, and every one is carefully considered. Feedback always aims to be constructive and that has certainly been my experience.


Both ladies set us exercises and the whole room was buzzing with ideas as we scribbled furiously in our new notebooks. By the time I left, I had at least half a dozen ideas in my head for plots and could hardly wait to get back home to my computer. Thank you, Shirley and Kate, for a most stimulating day.

I can’t finish this post without saying how much I enjoyed meeting so many fellow writers, none of whom were known to me ‘in the flesh’ before. Networking is always a pleasure and I’m sure that we’ll keep in touch.



26 October, 2015 - Make the first comment on this story

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