StoryCon Workshops

We’re very happy to be offering a broad selection of writing & illustration workshops at StoryCon – chosen by teenagers, for teenagers. These workshops are delivered by professionals who want to give you the benefit of their skills and experience and help you to learn more about creative writing and illustration. You do not need ideas, or even experience, before you come to any of these workshops. You just need to be ready to learn and give creating something your best shot.

Once you book your place for StoryCon you will receive your workshop option booking forms by email and post. You will be asked to select your top 3 choices for each workshop slot and allocated one of these on the day of StoryCon. Book your place at StoryCon now.


Keynote Speech

Why Create? Graeme Hawley

(Head of General Collections at National Library of Scotland)

Handpicked and invited by this year’s StoryBoard teens, Graeme Hawley, Head of General Collections, will open this year’s StoryCon with an inspiring keynote on why it’s important to create.

Morning Workshops

(90 mins, 20 participants per workshop max)

These longer morning workshops are designed to give you hands-on experience of creating something with built in time for working on your ideas.

Bringing People to Life: right up my street with Cathy Forde

How do you create the right character for your story? And how do you create characters who are engaging, convincing, diverse, and don’t fall into those usual stereotypes? Writer Cathy Forde will share some of the ways professional writers do it.

How to use Gaelic Legends in your writing with Ruairidh MacLean

Gaelic author and storyteller Ruairidh Maclean will reveal some of the great characters of the Gaelic hero legends, from the sad beauty of Deirdre to the handsome and tragic Diarmad. Find out how you can use these wise, brave and generous legendary characters and their life experiences to give colour and texture to your stories – whether you’re working in Gaelic, Scots or English!

Creating Convincing Fictional Worlds with Martin Stewart

Want to learn how to make your stories realistic and convincing? Wondering how to create realistically detailed scenes, characters and scenarios? Then this workshop with young adult author Martin Stewart is the one for you. 

Finding the (Novel) Plot with Laura Lam

Want to turn that great idea into a book but don’t know where to start? Sci-fi and fantasy writer Laura Lam will help you start your journey with some useful tricks and tips for managing your plot and storyline in the early stages.

The Dark Side (writing all things evil) with Jay Stringer

Drawn to the dark side in your stories? Do you find yourself creating dark or criminal characters, or including scenes of death and violence in your work? Do you struggle with balancing that violence on the page with empathy? Are you looking for tricks to help you plot out a crime story? Come to this workshop with crime fiction author Jay Stringer and channel your dark imaginings into powerful work. 

The Monster Within (illustration) with Letty Wilson

This one is for the illustrators and artists amongst you. Illustrator, comics artist and writer Letty Wilson will inspire you to create and draw your own monsters, creatures and mythical characters – and to find ways of giving them meaning and context in your stories.

Afternoon Workshops

(60 mins, 20 participants per workshop max)

These workshops will help you to further develop your skills in different areas of creative writing.

Writing for TV with Alan Bissett

Wish you could see your writing on the small screen? Writing for TV is nothing like the writing you may have done before. Come learn what you need to put on a page to make your story suitable for TV with Scottish author, performer and playwright Alan Bissett. 

How to write lyrics with Morna Young

Writing can take so many forms and for the first time at StoryCon we are giving you the chance to turn your poetry and stories into song lyrics with actress, playwright and musician Morna Young.

Slam poetry with Deanna Rodger

The world of slam poetry is fast paced, emotional and incredible creative. This poetry is written to be performed, to leap off the page and interact with your audience. International writer and performer Deanna Rodger will give you a crash course on all things slam.

Nurture Your Darlings! Editing Your Own Work with Michael Richardson

Writing is writing, right? Yes, but once you’ve written something the real work comes in – it’s time to edit! Writer and youth worker Michael Richardson will help you learn how to be self-critical and objective as you polish your writing.

Rewriting Fairy Tales: Once Upon A Time Needs You! With Kirsty Logan

Those classic fairy tales, traditional folk tales and myths – let’s face it, they need a bit of updating for the 21st century. Not every princess wants a prince, not every dragon needs to be slain, and mermaids can do more than comb their hair and sing! Kirsty Logan will help us draw on familiar stories as a source of inspiration to be retold, your way.

Representation and Inclusion with Nyla Ahmad and invited guests (TBC)

Sharing how to be representative and inclusive in your work was top priority for our teen programmers this year and we know it is important to all of you. In this workshop with Scottish Book Trust’s Nyla Ahmad, be prepared to ask and answer some difficult questions, and to learn a lot as you do. 

Panel and Performance

New for StoryCon 2019 – these shorter sessions (30 mins) will include informal Q&A panels and a performance workshop.

Managing Your Time as a Writer with Kirsty Logan

Time, there is never enough of it. Need advice on how to prioritise and make space for your writing? Want to know how the professionals do it? This is your chance to ask one!

Getting Your Work Out There Online with Martin Stewart

If you want to share or publish your stories in today’s society, you need to be savvy in the online creative world. Hear some top tips for getting your work out there and chat about potential platforms and avenues for sharing online.

Storytelling with Claire McNicol

Storytelling is the craft of using your voice and presence to tell a story to a live audience – and it’s much, much more than reading a story aloud! Watch a professional Storyteller perform before picking up some tips to develop your storytelling skills.

Free Making Sessions

This session allows you to customise your StoryCon experience – have fun exploring the different drop in sessions or work on your own creative projects and spend time with your fellow StoryCon attendees.

Found Poetry with Scottish Book Trust

Collage literary style – in found poetry we take words, phrases and sentences from other sources and create something new with new meaning. Come join us to have a go.

Urban Art with Recoat

Get creative with contemporary urban art specialists, Recoat and experiment with street art and stencil techniques.

Zine Making with Jules Scheele

Collaborate, create and express what’s important to you and your peers through the making of a physical booklet. Be ready to draw on your ideas, and get cutting and sticking.

Magazines with PPA Scotland

Press pause in our magazine reading corner, where you can check out lots of great titles from Scotland and further afield. Journalist and Edinburgh International Magazine Festival Director Laura Dunlop will be on hand to answer any questions about careers in the magazine industry.