Writing in Captivity: An Online Writing Retreat

Improving | Fiction
An intensive course for anyone starting out on a work of fiction or looking for some inspiration and focus to keep going during these turbulent times.

The events of the past year have given many of us a surfeit of isolation. Fiction is created in solitude, but without companionship and gentle encouragement, it’s hard to maintain enough self-belief to keep going – even at the best of times.

Over the five days of this course, we’ll address questions of craft and technique, but we’ll also bring some of the warmth and camaraderie of the Faber Academy into your home. You’ll find an audience for your work, a socially-distanced shoulder to cry on and the thoughtful engagement of the course tutor.

We’ll write, brainstorm ideas, and gently encourage our native creativity. We’ll talk about ways to silence the carping of the inner critic. We’ll dabble in just the right amount of story structure, sharpening our natural instinct for plot by breaking action into scenes and beats. And we’ll try to be clearer about what we’re writing or hoping to write – while acknowledging that a little confusion may be no bad thing.

Most of all, we’ll create a structured space for writing to happen. We’ll support each other’s ambitions to be the best writers we can, and try to make a virtue out of our changed circumstances, turning their solitariness and repetitiveness to our advantage.

By the end of the five days you'll emerge from the retreat re-energized, inspired and clearer about the work ahead.

22nd - 26th February 2021

Availability: In stock

12 Places

Each day will be a combination of Zoom seminars, structured writing and reading time, and one-to-one meetings with course tutor Marcel Theroux.

Day 1: The Fictive Dream

We’ll talk about the challenges of writing fiction, what inhibits it and we’ll undertake simple exercises designed to free us from the carping of our inner critic.

Day 2: Character and Story

Drawing on the character sketches from the day before, we’ll talk about the nature of story and character and begin thinking about the essential structure of stories.

Day 3: Making a Scene

We’ll acquire a smattering of technical vocabulary and start considering fiction in terms of scenes, beats, and sequences.

Day 4: Bad Things and Good People

Conflict, reversal, stakes and incident: we’ll consider the importance of going to extremes in fiction. Participants will pair up to sketch out the plots of longer pieces of work.

Day 5: What's It All About?

In the final session, we’ll consider the nature of fictional endings. In the afternoon we’ll have an open seminar to look back at questions raised over the course and to discuss next steps.

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Marcel Theroux is the author of five novels: A Blow to the Heart, A Stranger in the Earth, The...

"There's no point staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike - to get your creative muscles working you need to start writing, reviewing and sharing your work."

Helen Shipman