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“I’ve never been surrounded by so many people .. who want to write with such passion.”

Totleigh Barton, Devon

Lumb Bank, The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Yorkshire


ABOUT US MORE

Arvon runs an annual programme of residential creative writing courses and retreats for schools, groups and individuals. The five-day courses, tutored by leading authors, are held at three beautiful rural writers’ houses and include a powerful mix of workshops and individual tutorials, with time and space to write, free from the distractions of everyday life. The courses are in a wide range of genres, including fiction, poetry, screenwriting and playwriting. Grants are available to help with course fees.


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Time and Space to Write: NEW Writers Retreats at the Clockhouse

CENTRES EXPLORE

LUMB
BANK

West Yorkshire


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Writing Tips

Line breaks

Genre: Poetry

Each line must carry at least one unit of sense either in the line itself or across several lines. To make the line-break most effective, you may need to either shorten the line or lengthen it or reorder the words to ensure the last word of the line is dramati...

Daljit-Nagra Daljit Nagra

Writing Tips

The power of objects

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

Objects have immense power to help us to tell stories. I have found that an entire storyline can be found in the history of a single object. When researching a biography of my grandfather, who worked on the Thailand Burma Railway, I found on a visit to the Bri...

JULIE SUMMERS Julie Summers

Writing Exercises

Using an object to tell a story

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

The aim of this exercise is to use the power of objects or images to help to illustrate your narrative, especially when working on historical non-fiction. It is too easy to think that you have to adhere strictly to historical facts, dates and events. However, ...

JULIE SUMMERS Julie Summers

Writing Tips

Planning a film script

Genre: Film & TV

‘To make a great movie, you need just three things: a great script, a great script, and a great script.’ – Alfred Hitchcock Your job as a screenwriter is to elicit an emotional response. The script should seduce the reader (it’s important it is a good...

tina gharavi Tina Gharavi

Writing Exercises

Research and screen outline exercises

Genre: Film & TV

PART ONE: Documentary or Research Exercise for Screenwriters Using a still camera and or a tape recorder (or video recorder), follow someone you don’t know (or know only slightly) around for several hours. Select a “subject” with as different a b...

tina gharavi Tina Gharavi

Writing Tips

The word cull

Genre: Writing for Children & YA

After the giddy rush of a first draft, how you edit and refine your work is of equal, if not more importance. For me, this is the point where the real writing starts, where I see what works and what doesn’t. It’s also when my word count drops; I try to del...

Emma Carroll Emma Carroll

Writing Exercises

What if?

Genre: Writing for Children & YA

Start with a scenario – this might be a random picture, a very short scene from a novel, a few lines of poetry or the opening shots of a film. To explore potential story possibilities from that scenario, you will need to write for three minutes on each of t...

Emma Carroll Emma Carroll

Writing Tips

Keeping focused on your story’s central idea

Genre: Fiction

Before you begin to write your story ask yourself what is it about, what do you want it to say, what is the central idea that will drive the story along. Think of it as the story’s SPINE. Like our bodies, without a spine we would collapse and so it is with w...

MAVIS CHEEK Mavis Cheek

Writing Exercises

Identify the spine in a favourite book

Genre: Fiction

Think about your favourite novel or short story, or if not your favourite, then the novel or short story you are reading at the moment. If you choose your favourite then re-read it with this exercise in mind if that helps. And then write out what the main idea...

MAVIS CHEEK Mavis Cheek

Writing Tips

Avoid getting stuck: use multiple notebooks

Genre: All

Writing can be hard, particularly if you’re stuck at a certain point. It’s easy to feel tied to the last thing you wrote. Or maybe something isn’t working that you’re trying to thrash over and over. I find using a number of notebooks really frees up my...

Alexis Zegerman Alexis Zegerman

Writing Exercises

50 shades of character – 50 character questions

Genre: All

As a writer, you need to know your characters better than they know themselves. The way to believable, complex, story-laden characters is to flesh them out as much as possible. Imagine if your character was at a job interview – how would they answer all the ...

Alexis Zegerman Alexis Zegerman

Writing Tips

Writing by not writing: subtext in dialogue

Genre: Theatre

The awkward silences. The times we talk too much while avoiding eye contact. Saying the opposite of what we actually mean. That little action that says articulately all the things we’ve been trying to say. Smiling and wishing someone well as our heart is lou...

Evan Placey Evan Placey


Testimonials Read More

The experience was nothing short of magical both for us and the teenagers (and that’s not being sentimental, it’s just a fact). It was a joy. — Tutor Caroline Bird, Trent College

My work has improved a lot. I am actually proud to call it my work. — Writing the Game, Student

I felt like a different writer leaving the course than I did when joining it — Course Participant, Historical Fiction, Lumb bank


BLOG READ

Arvon tutor Kathryn Maris talks about poetry and gives us a few insights into what her teaching methods are like. Kathryn is tutoring our Starting to Write Poetry course with Jamie McKendrick at Totleigh...
Read more...


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