I shall be leading the second Itch of Writing Workshop Retreat from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th May 2015, at Retreats for You in the beautiful village of Sheepwash, North Devon. We have exclusive use of the house for our stay; for some of my posts from and about my own stays in Sheepwash, click here. For something about me and my other work with writers, click here.
All participants will get a voucher for 10% discount on a future appraisal, report or course. (Does not include courses that I teach for other organisations)
There will probably be four writers, and six at the very most, and in keeping with the spirit of the blog, we'll be focusing on prose fiction and creative non-fiction, exploring both inspiration and perspiration. The workshops will be suitable for writers at any stage and with any kind of current project. You should go home with new confidence, insights, processes and tools (not rules!) to help your writing develop and grow. You might even find you've got some new story ideas, and perhaps made some new writerly friendships.
On Friday you're welcome to arrive any time after 2pm. Dive straight into writing if you want to, or relax by the fire or in the garden. We'll get to know each other over supper, and talk through what the weekend will hold.
Workshops: On Saturday and Sunday mornings we'll have a 2½ hour workshop, with a coffee break. We'll start by thinking about storytelling: how it works and how you can make it work better. Then we'll focus in on ways to find and develop stories, and then closer still, to think about voice, narrators, character-in-action, different kinds of narrative, and structure. We'll finish by getting right close in to explore images, sound and rhythm. Some exercises in the workshop will be able to use characters and settings from your work in progress, while others will be designed to try out ideas and techniques which are new to you.
Writing: On Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons you'll be free to write, walk, sleep, think or read. There are lots of pretty walks from the village, and the house and garden have plenty of nooks and crannies where you can tuck yourself away to write; there's also a cosy loft just right for a bit of yoga or meditation.
One-to-one Tutorials: at some point during Saturday or Sunday afternoon, every writer will have a half-hour one-to-one tutorial with me. I’ll ask you to email me 2,000 words of your writing ten days in advance, and we can discuss that, as well as wider questions: where you feel you are with your writing, and where you'd like to be.
On Friday and Saturday evenings we'll share work round the fire, but of course if you’d rather disappear and write more, that’s fine too.
We'll finish at around 4pm on Sunday afternoon, and you're free to drift off after that whenever it suits you.
Accommodation: The Court is a sixteenth-century thatched house in the centre of the village of Sheepwash in North Devon, and Deb and Rob have been offering writers full board, peace, quiet, and banana bread for many years. Every bedroom has a desk, chair, kettle and tea-and-coffee supplies, as well as dressing gown and slippers, and a hairdryer. Deb specialises in good home cooking with locally sourced ingredients; tea, coffee and snacks are always available in the kitchen, and most dietary requirements can be catered for. Click here for more information on the Retreats for You website.
How to get there: Sheepwash is just under hour's drive north-west of Exeter, which itself is very handy for the M5. Transfers from the train and coach stations at Exeter, or nearer bus routes, can be arranged with Retreats for You for an extra charge: course participants are often able to co-ordinate trains and share a taxi. The postcode is EX21 5NE
Prices: £425 to include: your own room; all workshops; a one-to-one tutorial for every writer; full board with wine, plus snacks. There is one single room, two doubles and one twin: if you and a writing friend, or a partner who also writes, would like to share a room the charge will be £325 per person.
Contact me to book a place, ask any questions or join the mailing list for future events (I promise not to give your address to anyone, nor bombard you with emails):
- email me on thisitchofwriting (at) g mail (dot) com
- or click through to the Contact form on my website
To pay: I ask you to pay by bank transfer. I'll let you have the details and your place is booked when the payment clears.
Cancellation: Even the best-organised lives sometimes get complicated.
- If you have to cancel more than four weeks before 15th May (i.e. before 17th April) I'll refund half the full fee.
- If you have to cancel less than four weeks before the retreat starts, (i.e. on or after 17th April) I'm afraid I can't offer a refund.
- If I'm forced to cancel the retreat (which I'll try very hard not to have to) then I'll refund everything you've paid.
Please note: Even best-intentioned relationships sometimes get tricky.
- Writing is a very personal process, and writers only learn in a safe and supportive atmosphere, so it's important that everyone respects each other and their work.
- Brave and perhaps challenging work is always welcome, and I can't promise that other writers' work will be to your taste; it's an important part of learning to write that you are willing to discuss such work constructively, even when you don't personally like it.
- If I feel that your behaviour within or outside the workshops is seriously spoiling the retreat for the other writers, I do reserve the right to ask you to leave, immediately, without any refund of fees.
- For accommodation and food I am acting as an agent for Retreats for You, and your contract with them.
* If you can't get away for this weekend, but like the idea of course covering similar subjects, then do have a look at the Writer's Workshop six-week online course, Self-Editing Your Novel, which I developed with writer Debi Alper. (It also covers creative non-fiction ... it's just that that made the title a bit long!)