Writing Retreat Wrap-Up

So I’m back from Varuna (and braved the chaos which is returning to work 😉 ) My week away was quite pleasant and productive. I did a reading of my first two chapters, which got a good response. I wrote about 9,000 words, which is less than my usual target of 10,000 in a week, but I was writing poems and not a lot of dialogue. Dialogue almost writes itself and a simple mess-about scene can blow out to 1,000 words quite easily. I’m happy with what I wrote – I had to tackle an emotionally traumatic scene which always leaves me a little drained. I tend to get myself into the mood that I’m writing towards, like a mild form of method acting. The scene that resulted was good, but perhaps not amazing. I might get it on another revision. Continue reading “Writing Retreat Wrap-Up”


One of the more mature projects I’ve been working on is my novel Breathe. I’ve been working on it on and off more maybe five or six years, and only really applied myself to it in the last three. In 2006, instead of working on my PhD thesis, I took a gamble and wrote the first few chapters so I could enter a competition held by the ACT Writers Centre. The prize was to work with a mentor on my novel, for twenty hours or so. To my amazement, I won it! My mentor is John Clanchy and we’ve since formed a great mateship that has long outlast the 20 hours I had won. He reads my work and offers comments. We often catch up for a beer and just chat about everything.

I bring this all up now because I’m going on a writing retreat soon. I typically blog a bit whilst on retreat, but only on fiction writing. I tend to have a mental shift and become a lot more arty. Apparently my vocabulary and sentence structure improves markedly. So you know what you’re getting into if you’re a regular reader. Continue reading “Breathe”