The Writer's Toolkit (Online)

Improving | Fiction
Whether you're looking for inspiration for a new project or the focus to keep going with your novel, take your writing to the next level with this online writing retreat.

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.

13th - 17th September 2021

Availability: In stock

15 Places

The course is made up of a combination of Zoom seminars, structured writing time, and one-to-one meetings with course tutor Marcel Theroux.

We’ll spend each morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a mixture of seminars, discussions and break-out rooms.

In the afternoons, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., students will either work on assigned exercises or, if they prefer, their own projects. During this time, each student will have a one-to-one tutorial with the course tutor.

On the last afternoon, we’ll have a virtual reading of the students’ work. Note that there will be little to no workshopping of each other’s writing.

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: Before All, To Make You See

We’ll discuss what books are really made of — i.e. not words at all, but incident, characters, and chains of cause and effect. We’ll acquire a smattering of technical vocabulary to help us.

Day 3: Making a Scene

We’ll look more deeply at the structure of a single short story and, as a group, collectively write some stories of our own.

Day 4: What a Story Does

Conflict, character, reversal, stakes and incident, patterns of causality: we’ll consider some of the obligatory elements of fiction and the shape of satisfying stories.

Day 5: Editing and the Market

In the final session, we’ll look at approaches to editing our own work and discuss some of the ways of getting your work to agents and publishers.

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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