Arvon at Home Writing Week: Genre Fiction

Writing Crime and Historical Novels

Monday December 7th - Friday December 11th 2020


The course is designed to encourage and accelerate the students’ development as writers of genre fiction, particularly of crime and historical novels. We will discuss the art of story and explore some of the core techniques of the novel, including setting and characterisation (many of which apply to other forms of fiction). We will look at recurring issues of genre fiction. For example, how do you create a sense of time and place in the historical novel? How do you manage suspense in crime fiction? How much research is too much? We will also examine some of the commercial considerations relating to writing and selling fiction. Most importantly, however, we will work with the students on their own writing. We believe that the one-to-one sessions lie at the heart of what Arvon offers its students.

We’ll help you to make ‘Arvon at Home’, turning your own place into a writing cocoon, capturing the transformative power of our acclaimed Arvon residential courses: two brilliant author-tutors at your service, a caring and sharing group, the time and space to devote to your writing, invaluable feedback, new writing pals, and the unique creative progress that happens in a dedicated week. 

You will be offered the best of a classic Arvon residential week, with a few virtual tweaks. Spot the difference: a carefully balanced combination of tips to help you focus, daily morning workshops, one-to-one tutorials with both tutors, three evening get-togethers to chat about the day’s work, a mid-week guest reading offer, the celebratory Friday-evening collective reading, and lots of time and encouragement for you to write every day. You will receive a free ticket to our Wednesday evening Live Guest Reading.

All gatherings, one-to-one or group, will be delivered via our own Arvon Zoom, so you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection. Your Arvon Centre host will be on call to offer support as you need it, including any help you may need with your computer set-up.

To participate, and to get the most out of the week, you’ll need to turn up online for all planned morning sessions, Monday to Friday. You should also set aside your afternoons for tutorials and independent writing time.  Last but not least, we urge you to read your tutors’ published work before the week starts.

Dates: Monday 7 December 5pm  — Friday 11 December 9pm
Cost: £375

If you have any questions about how the week works, or are on a low income and would like to apply for a grant to reduce the course fee please contact (grants are limited to three places).

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I had the chance to speak with two well respected tutors about my work. Being able to do this in one-to-one tutorials was excellent and not reduced in any way by being on Zoom. A good chance for some very good advice. I am now determined to set to work on my writing.

—Writing Week Participant

What a lovely week—worked so well. It’s not the Hurst, but something different and equally special.

—Writing Week Participant


5pm—7pm: Everyone gathers online in Arvon’s Zoom Writing House. The Arvon Centre Directors, Helen Meller and Rosie Scott, will welcome you and the tutors, giving you an overview of the week, technology support, and some ideas for making your writing ‘cocoon’. You’ll get to meet everyone, ask questions, and settle in. Your tutors will ask you to start thinking about your writing, perhaps setting an exercise.


10am—1pm: Everyone meets online for the morning workshop, co-taught by Louise and Andrew, which includes writing exercises, discussion and comfort breaks.

2.30pm—4pm: One-to-one tutorials lasting about 20 minutes each. You have one tutorial with each tutor during the week; the rest of the afternoon is your time to think and write.

6pm—7pm: Tutor readings and Q&A, hosted by Helen. Louise and Andrew will read for about 15 minutes each, leaving the rest of the session open to your questions.


The timing is just like yesterday…

10am—1pm: Morning workshop

2.30pm—4pm: Afternoon one-to-one tutorials


7.15pm: The Arvon Wednesday Live Guest Reading with Vahni Capildeo—you get a free ticket to this.


10am—1pm: Morning workshop

2.30pm—4pm: Afternoon one-to-one tutorials

6pm—7pm: Evening group get-together, hosted by Rosie (optional). This evening takes the shape of a ‘Covers Night’ – you will each bring a favourite piece of writing to read. You can read from any genre, for just a couple of minutes each.


10am—1pm: Morning workshop

2.30pm—4pm: Afternoon tutorials


6pm—8pm: Friday evening culminates with a celebratory reading where you have the chance to share some of your new writing. Expect laughter, tears and a huge sense of pride for all you have learned, written and achieved this week. There’ll be plenty of virtual hugs.

And then...

The week doesn’t stop here. You now have a writing community. Stay in touch. Share your work with each other, and take it forward.



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