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Sunday Times Books LIVE

Tom Eaton

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Write well, write now: a new creative writing course

What is writing to you? A chance to slip into a different skin? A holiday in a country of your own creating? Or simply an itch you need to scratch? Whatever it is to you, you can learn to do it and do it well.

Whether you have half a novel in your desk drawer, a jumble of images and phrases in your head, or just a sense that you want to write Something, come and learn how to get it written and how to get it right.

Spread over four evenings in the cosy and inspiring Book Lounge in central Cape Town, my course offers an adventure down the highways and along the byways of creative writing. Learn the skills, dodge the pitfalls, understand the secret world of the writer, and discover the freedom and focus of writing well.

Week 1: Such stuff as dreams are made on
We discuss where our ideas come from; how to catch them and pin them down; what you want to write and why; how to start, and much importantly, how to persevere. Unusual hands-on exercises will also introduce participants to new ways of looking at the world and finding the stories hidden all around us.

After the first week’s session you will write a short piece of prose which you will use as a literary laboratory in which to hone your new skills.

Week 2: Sowing the seeds
We discover the secret of the narrative formula; the difference between plot and story; tread the fine line between archetypes and stereotypes; cut through the chatter to find your voice as a writer; and finally indulge our inner Dr Frankenstein to create a character…it’s aliiiive!

Week 3: The difference between the lightning and the lightning-bug
We explore the powerful tools of precision writing: the secrets of good dialogue; the difference between talking and saying; showing and telling; when to enter and leave a scene; and finally we declare war on adjectives, adverbs and exclamation marks.

Week 4: The P-Word
How to polish your work to a bright gleam through rigorous editing; the do’s and don’t of publishing (what happens next and what doesn’t happen next); editors and the Wicked Witch of the East; agents and other myths; and the dirtiest word of all – money.

In the week following the course you are welcome to email me your polished and edited prose piece from Week 1 and I will give you detailed feedback on your writing.

When: 2, 9, 16, 23 March 2011, 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Where: The Book Lounge, Roeland Street, Cape Town
Cost: R2,000 (including materials)

To book your place in the course please email me at tomeaton (at) mweb (dot) co (dot) za. Please note that the course size is limited to allow for maximum personal attention for each participant, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Tom Eaton has taught in UCT’s creative writing programme and is the author of three novels published by Penguin SA. He was a columnist for the Mail&Guardian for four years and was co-founder and head writer of satire website He has also written two television series (MNET and SABC2) and had two feature film scripts developed (Videovision and Bob Films).


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