I’m always happy to do events in person or on Zoom. I work with students aged 11+ years old in the UK, Ireland, and internationally, as well as aspiring adult writers.
Available talks and workshops for Secondary Schools:
‘My writing journey’ talk – A talk which follows my experience of writing my first book at the age of sixteen from first draft to publication, with images of my original writing. I discuss the researching, editing and cover design process, as well as talking about writing alongside my studies. Includes a Q&A session. (1 hour, any number of students)
Writing with STEM talk – A talk about my writing with a focus specifically on how I came to write science fiction after studying Chemistry and Physics at Masters level. I discuss how scientific research I’ve done inspired events in my novels. I also show a presentation including examples of spreadsheets used to accurately calculate the figures involved in my writing, such as spaceship travel times and time travel figures. Includes discussion of climate change, Einstein’s theory of relativity, extinction and evolution, all talked about in an enthusiastic, easy-to-understand way. Includes a Q&A session. (1 hour, any number of students)
‘World-building’ writing workshop – a group exercise using pictures of real world locations to write a story. Students will use their senses to create atmosphere and setting, building out a story from the location. It includes examples taken from writing I did at the age of 18, which later became part of my debut novel. (1 hour, less than 40 students, years 6-9)
Science fiction writing workshop – a group exercise about writing science fiction based on articles in the news. We will choose a recent news topic based on a scientific subject and use the ideas and concepts to create an engaging story. It will teach students how to research science online, and be creative with a typically factual subject. (1 hour, less than 40 students, year 7 and up)
Available workshops for older students (Year 12 – University level):
Climate Change in Fiction – a workshop about researching climate change solutions and politics in order to create a hopeful, optimistic story about the future of Earth. (1 hour, less than 40 students)
Building a Bestseller – a guided workshop turning a story idea into an outline and pitch ready for agent submission. We will discuss plot development, narrative structures and beats, common errors in opening scenes and formatting a synopsis (2 hours, less than 40 students)
Writing Diversely – an explanation of the core concepts of diversity in writing, and a guided group discussion about why it is important for writers of all kinds to make their work inclusive. Students will learn how to research identities and avoid stereotypes, using case studies and examples of diverse works in Young Adult fiction. We will research a diverse identity for a piece of fiction. (1- 2 hours, less than 40 students) – read a review of this workshop by University of Nottingham here
Working professionally with agents – a breakdown of the author-agent relationship, and explanation of how to find a shortlist of agents which will suit different projects. We will work on the language used in writing short pitches, author biographies and query letters, focusing on ways to improve your submission and draw out the commercial elements of the plot. We will also discuss how to self-edit your work, and choose an extract of your project to send out. NB: students will need a rough idea of their project for the activities, or they can use their favourite novel as an example, e.g. Harry Potter (1 – 2 hours, less than 40 students)
Working with publishers – an explanation of the process of editing with a publisher, with guided exercises in editing an chapter extract, swapping work and line-editing each other’s writing using Microsoft Word tracked changes and comments. NB: students will need to bring a scene or short story along to edit (1 – 2 hours, less than 40 students)
School, university or library visits, or talks via Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts, can be arranged by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form with the details of your proposed event.
Here is a short creative writing exercise video you can do from home with students aged 11-18, using The Quiet at the End of the World.
I take a £100 deposit on booking to cover travel costs. I’m covered with Public Liability Insurance through Imaging Insurance and the Society of Authors, and I have a basic DBS check (please be sure to ask if you would like me to bring the certificate along to the event). I provide an invoice for payment via BACS. If additional administrative forms are required before payment, an admin fee of £25 will be charged.
“This was a fantastic experience for anyone with a novel planned or written. Lauren James was full of positive advice, and opportunities to ask questions. The pace and information was intense but perfect for anyone really wanting to get to grips with the world of publishing. The exercises we worked on together were motivating and fun and I have come away with new skills, knowledge and the kick up the bum I needed!” – attendee at a WriteMentor workshop
Photo by Millais School, Horsham
“Lauren speaks with humour and knowledge. I would recommend booking her for an event without hesitation.” – Emily Tristram – Kenilworth School Literacy Coordinator
Photo by University of Nottingham
“Lauren is a talented presenter and she connected really well with the audience at the event. She also happens to be a very lovely person and quick to respond to my emails about the event details. I’d definitely recommend her for running or taking part in other events.” – Anne Smart, Digital Communications Manager, The University of Nottingham
Photo by Millais School, Horsham
“Lauren talks so well and was definitely one of the best author visits that we have had at the library.” – Sorrelle Clements, Coventry Libraries and Information Services