Celebrating East African Writing!

Publish A Book In 2016!

Storymoja Writing Workshops – Jan to April 2016


The objective of the six writing workshops, spread over three months, is to help writers develop titles for publication in the Storymoja Life-skills Series for teenagers. Since we intend that participants draft publishable manuscripts, the writing craft skills to be covered will be selected and taught with that in mind. The cost of each session is Ksh 1000/ but if you require scholarship support, please send an email to info@storymojaafrica.

By the end of the six workshops, participants will be expected to have completed a draft manuscript of 30,000 – 80,000 words. Note there will be a 6 week break after the first 3 workshops to facilitate completion of the draft.

The Storymoja mantra is ‘Writing is Re-writing.” Anecdotal evidence from many writers indicates that plotting a story (especially knowing in advance how it might resolve or end) helps ensure completion of a draft. Finishing a first draft in a relatively short period 4-12 weeks focuses the mind… so write, write, write without worrying about ‘quality’ expectations. Remember, ‘Writing is Re-writing.’ The self-editing process that follows is as important as the drafting. It is during editing that your draft really turns into a publishable manuscript.

Writers may apply to join the workshops by writing to And please include a 500 word sample of your writing by noon on Thurs 4th February.

The workshops will be held on the second floor in the meeting room at Storymoja. Storymoja is a 5 minute drive from Sarit Centre. Take Lower Kabete Road (Matatu route 118 heading towards the Spring Valley Police Station and Wangige). Just 10 metres before the Spring Valley shopping centre, turn left onto Shanzu Road. Storymoja is the second (pink) gate on Shanzu Road. If you need more directions, please call Rebecca on 0725 930 221.

  1. Saturday 6thFebruary 8:30am to 9:45am  

–       This will be a make-up session for those who missed the first workshop, during which the focus was on how to Voice your Character (showing not telling) and how to Structure a Short Story.

–       Those who attended the first workshop on 29/1/2016 are free to attend this make up hour and take advantage of the space/time to brainstorm ‘story plots’ as a team.

–       Reading: please read the prologue of Harare North by Brian Chikwava, and the first two chapters of Attack of the Shidas by Muthoni Muchemi

  1. Saturday 6thFebruary 9:55am to 1:00pm  

–       This session follows the make-up session. It will focus on Genre and Idea generation, Creating Compelling Characters (primary and secondary characters – motivation, worldview, triggers, voice, suffering, age appropriateness)

–       We will also cover Seamless Scene Setting, Using the Senses/ Power of the Particular.

–       The writers will practise how to structure a story, and brainstorm it with the team before committing to the theme and plot of their novel. Each will then draft their first chapter.

  1. Saturday 13thFebruary 9:55am to 1:00pm

–       In this session, writers brainstorm as team to add Thematic Layers (contexts, ripples, causes, complications or consequences arising from family, neighbourhood, community, national or international) to each structure/plot.

–       Writers will review Beginnings, Turning Points and Character Growth and the team will review each writer’s first chapter.

  1. Saturday 20thFebruary 9:55am to 1:00pm

–       The team will review each writer’s plot and review the challenges arising from manuscript development.

  1. Friday 1stApril 9:55am – 1:00pm (day is fixed but time can be changed to accommodate attendees)

–      Bonus free workshop,​ ​courtesy of the Goethe Institute, with visiting German author and journalist Tanja Dückers ( . It will be held at the Goethe Institute. Details of the workshop content to be circulated closer to the date.​

  1. Saturday 2ndApril 9:55am to 1:00pm

–       Each writer must have a rough draft completed before the workshop on editing. This workshop will focus on editing (structural, copy editing and proofreading).

–       Writers will self-edit their draft based on input during the session.

  1. Saturday 9thApril 9:55am to 1:00pm

–       Writers will review input received from team and workshop facilitators, and continue revise their drafts.

  1. Saturday 9thApril 9:55am to 1:00pm

–       The final workshop will cover manuscript preparation for submission and publication issues.

–       Writers who have completed a satisfactory first draft will be invited to sign a publishing contract with Storymoja.

Reading list (I will bring a copy to read onsite or provide relevant extract to read during the sessions)

  1. Character and Theme – Harare North by Brian Chakwava
  2. Character and Theme – Attack of the Shidas by Muthoni Garland
  3. Theme and Dialogue  – No Guns at My Son’s Funeral by Anand Paro
  4. Character and Scene Setting – Sula and Ja by Ellen Banda
  5. Genre and plotting – Harry Potter by JK Rowling




This entry was posted on February 9, 2016 by in Writer's Blog.
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