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Arvon Friends

Priority booking is now open for Arvon Friends for our 2018 season of courses and retreats. Arvon Friends can log in to view and book 2018 courses here.

The programme will be on general sale from Monday 4 December.

Become an Arvon Friend from £4 per month

•    Gain online access to exclusive Arvon Tutors writing tips and exercises

•    Get Priority Booking on Arvon Courses one month before public release

•    Receive fortnightly emails with the latest writing resources from Arvon Tutors

•    Know that your Friends payment helps bring young people to Arvon

Please select the way you would like to join below. Alternatively call 020 7324 2554 to join over the phone.



Arvon Friends Writing Tips and Exercises

Writing Tips

Don’t talk down to younger readers

Genre: Fiction, Writing for Children & YA

Don’t think that all children want to hear about is fluffy bunnies, naughty elves and lessons to be learned. Some do, of course, depending on their age, but what matters most is giving them a story they can believe in. And in order to do that, you need to re...

Steve Voake

Writing Exercises

Developing a character

Genre: Fiction, Writing for Children & YA

Imagine that there is a young character in your mind, waiting to step forward and tell you their story. You might have an idea of their age, whether they are male or female, perhaps some sense of what they look like. The following series of questions will help...

Steve Voake

Writing Tips

What is a scene?

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

Novelists are always told to show, not tell. They are also told to ‘write in scenes’ which means broadly the same thing. But do memoir writers also need to follow this advice? Yes, absolutely. A memoir will not work well if it only really has one c...

Alice Jolly

Writing Exercises

Developing a scene

Genre: Non-Fiction & Life Writing

If you are already writing a memoir, look through the work you have done to date and see where the scenes are. Pick out one of these scenes – or something which is not currently written as a scene but should perhaps be re-written as one. If you are just ...

Alice Jolly

Writing Exercises

Narrative – Cause and Effect

Genre: Fiction

Try to bear in mind that the story of your character/s – your plot or narrative – moves forward due to cause and effect. Something happens which causes your character to make a choice and take an action (according to their motivation and character), which ...

Jane Harris

Writing Tips

Character-Driven Narrative

Genre: Fiction

People tend to think about plot as though it’s something separate from character, with characters moving forward from plot-point to plot-point. In fact, character and plot are inextricably linked. Narrative (or story, or plot, whatever you prefer to call it)...

Jane Harris

Writing Tips

Write the Family

Genre: Poetry

I’m sure most writers are familiar with the writing adage ‘write what you know’, and writing about your own family might seem to fit well with this piece of advice. But in my experience, there is so much mystery in the family – so much you don’t ...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Exercises

It’s All In The Name

Genre: Poetry

Our names – first names, surnames, maiden names, nicknames – carry all kinds of significance and are a great way into writing about the family. Many of us have stories about how we came about our names and how we feel about them. These might be about our f...

Hannah Lowe

Writing Exercises

How changing one thing can change the world

Genre: Fiction & Science Fiction

Change one thing in the technology or science of the present day. It could be the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we eat, drink or think. It might be something as small as a development in processor technology or as fundamental as a law of physi...

Mark Barrowcliffe

Writing Tips

Developing and explaining new ideas

Genre: Fiction & Science Fiction

1. You don’t have to be entirely original. There are plenty of very good, best-selling stories out there that employ the familiar tropes of SF that have been with us since the real flowering of the genre in the first part of the 20th century. You may decide ...

Mark Barrowcliffe

Writing Exercises

Your Character vs Technology

Genre: Fiction & Science Fiction

Write a short scene of up to 1000 words in which your protagonist is interacting with your imagined technology in a problematic way. They might be in a futuristic prison, they might be someone freshly-made unemployed by a technological development, they might ...

Mark Barrowcliffe

Writing Tips

Writing Science Fiction – The New Thing

Genre: Fiction & Science Fiction

1. Remember as you shape your story, that you are writing science fiction. Understand what science fiction is and shape the plot accordingly. Or don’t, but be aware that you’re moving out of the genre. A love story with ray guns is not a SF story. A love s...

Mark Barrowcliffe


Testimonial Read More

Just to say I've got a huge amount out of the Arvon Friends writing tips sent to me this year - it's been helpful to get new ideas and perspectives from established authors who know what works. I look forward to the emails in my inbox! — Mary Fairman

As a Friend of Arvon and with all my friends from Arvon – I am confident that I will never lose that confidence and motivation to use my voice and achieve that first novel. — Chris Metcalfe, Friend

I became a Friend as I wanted to support the great work Arvon does, having got so much out of my course last year, and also to have the chance to book onto courses earlier. — Mark, Friend

The “Friends” scheme is perfectly-named – it’s how I feel towards Arvon. They’re a friend I’ve turned to at tricky, self-doubting points in my writing life and I know they are there if I need them again for time, space and inspiration. — Julie Mayhew, Friend