This weekend I returned to The Hurtwood Inn Hotel in Peaslake for 'Write Away!', a course with Ruth Brandt. Ruth has had short stories published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 4, in several magazines and her short stories have been long and short-listed in writing competitions.
Peaslake is a picturesque village in the Surrey hills which looks like a film set. The trees were at their best in shades of yellow, red and brown. Peaslake is quiet apart from the occasional car engine and the chattering of cyclists who huddle in the bus shelter whilst taking a break.
Ten of us attended the course, four for the second time. We had chance to get to know each other over meals and during tea breaks. After dinner we gathered in the cosy bar next to the log fire, some of us into the early hours. Being in a hotel meant no cooking or clearing up so I could focus solely on writing (and eating, drinking, sleeping...)
Ruth talked about story ingredients, characters, driving a story forward, beginnings and endings; and editing. There was free time to write and we had two workshops. Ruth gave me valuable advice during our one-to-one and we discussed the plot of my Book 2, 'The Painting'.
I came away from the weekend pleased to have moved forwards with the eighteenth century part of The Painting. I'd been mulling over a scene and I produced a draft of it whilst scribbling in a quiet room.
Sometimes escaping everyday life, especially with other writers is a good way to get into the writing zone. It was lovely to meet everyone on the course. Thank you to Ruth and the staff at The Hurtwood Inn Hotel for making our stay so enjoyable. The next 'Write Away!' will be in April 2013.
Here is a photo of us all having lunch (one of many meals together!). I'm in the grey jumper third from the back on the right.
My first 'Write Away!' weekend in Peaslake in the snow