Zooming In and Zooming Out: Using ‘narrative distance’ to add depth and variety to your prose SOLD OUT

In this creative writing workshop you will learn what narrative distance is, how it can bring your writing to the next level, and – most importantly – how to put it into practice.

A light-skinned woman with dark shoulder-length hair and blue eyes is looking directly at the camera with a neutral expression. There is a brick wall behind her. She wears a navy shirt which is unbuttoned at the collar.

Narrative distance is a technique that many published writers swear by, and rave about to anyone who will listen. By learning to vary the narrative distance in your writing you will engage your reader more successfully and lift the quality of your prose. It might sound complicated but it really isn’t, and once you’ve mastered it you will never look back.

What will you do in the workshop?

The workshop will include some demonstration and discussion, followed by some writing exercises to put the learning into practice. You should come with a piece of your own writing that you would like to work on.

What can participants expect?

Using prose examples alongside film stills, we will learn to recognise the 5 settings of ‘narrative distance’ and the effect they have on the reader. Handouts will be provided in advance including examples from the work of Cormac McCarthy and the workshop leader, Susan Allott.

Who is this opportunity for?

Anyone who wants to work on their prose and practice their craft will enjoy and benefit from this workshop, from beginners to more experienced writers.

Access Notice 

  • If you require BSL interpretation to take part, please email us at [email protected] by Monday 10 June and we’ll try to secure BSL interpretation for you. Spread the Word will cover this cost.

  • We’ll send through any reading seven days in advance. We can create adapted handouts to writers attending our workshops and events by request.

  • If you have additional access needs or questions, please email us on [email protected]


About Susan Allott

Susan Allott

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Susan Allott is a critically acclaimed author whose debut novel, The Silence, was published internationally by HarperCollins in 2020 and was longlisted for the Crime Writers Association New Blood Dagger Award. Her second literary thriller, The House on Rye Lane, was published by Harper Collins in January 2024 and was a Sunday Times crime pick of the month, described as ‘a terrific spine chiller’.

Susan is an English Literature graduate, studying at Leeds University and then Goldsmiths College. She works as a freelance editor, story consultant and mentor, and enjoys passing on the guidance that helped her to achieve her goal of publication, particularly the skill of giving your novel a page-turning quality, whatever the genre. She is currently working on her third novel and is developing a screenplay.