The Struggle is Over!

Write your novel with us this year! 

Spring is in the air! If January is a month for hunkering down, then February is the time to plan your writing with renewed vigour. If you need a kick start, a community of like-minded people and a place to write, we have just the course for you!

The Struggle Is Over!’ is our brand new, affordable, novel writing course, run here at the Cambridge Writing Retreat, a beautiful setting just outside Cambridge and easily accessible from London.

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All our tutors are excellent, prize-winning novelists and highly experienced teachers, all chosen for their nurturing and inclusive approach.

The Struggle Is Over! is made up of twelve ‘modules’. Seven are tutored days on a variety of topics dear to all novelists’ hearts, and four are retreat days where you can come to the Cambridge Writing Retreat to simply write and be nurtured by us. There is also a Reunion Workshop at the end of the course. If you sign up to the entire course before 31st March you can attend the Reunion Workshop for free.

 Each module is individually priced if you want to mix and match your choices. However, the real benefit would be to sign up to the whole course, so that you are part of a small community of writers all attending the same workshops and retreat days, and you have continuity of teaching.

Book 3 or more courses and receive 5% discount

Book 8 or more courses and receive 10% discount

Book all courses before 31st March and the Reunion Workshop is free  (value £75.00)  - Total £845.00

 Places are strictly limited to a maximum of ten pupils. There is accommodation for three people if you are travelling from afar and want to stay the night before a course. If you would like to discuss this and the attendant (very reasonable) cost please call or email Gaynor Clements. gaynor@cambridgewritingretreat.com or 07970 011983.

If you would like to take advantage of the discounts please contact us so we can provide you with a discount code.

 
 

Alison Bruce - The Five Act Structure & Writing A Synopsis

6th April 2019, 10-4pm

Whether you’re stuck for ideas for the next big development in your novel, or you need a structure to help you get started, Alison Bruce will share with you the tried and tested method of creating a narrative arc in five ‘acts’. An expert in dramatic development, Alison will show you how to create your exposition, climax and denouement. If it was good enough for Shakespeare, it’s an excellent place from which to start, and to draw inspiration. You will also learn how to write a short, punchy synopsis of your story, one that focuses the mind, but gives you flexibility to be organic as you progress. This synopsis can then form the basis of the summary you submit to an agent.


Following on from the five act structure, this workshop will focus on the details of how to create a plausible plot. One that you believe in, so that your readers will too. Everyone works in different ways; some writers like to know exactly where they are going, some let their characters guide them. There is no right or wrong way to develop your plot, but crime writer Alison Bruce will share with you her vast experience, and provide tips on how to avoid the most common pitfalls (or plotfalls?).

Alison Bruce - Plotting the Plot

5th May 2019, 10 -4pm


Whether you’re part of The Struggle Is Over! novel writing course, or you simply wish to find the time and space to progress your writing project, our Retreat days will provide you with a beautiful and relaxing space. Come and enjoy our  homemade food, open fires and tranquil garden. We promise you will make progress, and feel refreshed into the bargain!

Retreat Day

17th May 2019, 10 - 4pm


Alison Bruce - Do your Characters have a Pulse?

15th June 2019, 10-4pm

Creating believable characters has to be one of the most difficult aspects for any novel writer to master. How do you make your characters appealing to your reader (even the nasty ones!) so that the reader cares what happens and is invested in them? Alison Bruce will show you how to create characters that are flawed, fascinating, and elicit the reader’s empathy. She will also give you lots of tips on how to write convincing dialogue— the elusive component of any story that gives it vital colour and magic.


Whether you’re part of The Struggle Is Over! novel writing course, or you simply wish to find the time and space to progress your writing project, our Retreat days will provide you with a beautiful and relaxing space. Come and enjoy our  homemade food, open fires and tranquil garden. We promise you will make progress, and feel refreshed into the bargain!

Retreat Day

29th June 2019, 10 - 4pm


Derek Niemann - Creating Time and Place

27th July 2019, 10 - 4pm

Questions of ‘when’ and ‘where’ are not only basic ingredients of fiction, they offer the writer exciting leaps of imagination, colour and character. On this course we’ll be looking at how a flexible approach to chronology can bring benefits, and we’ll examine the work of a variety of authors to see how location, location, location is fundamental to so many great pieces of writing. You will learn how to evoke a specific time and place for your novel —making them more than just a backdrop. You will really understand and appreciate how these elements bring your work to life and make it real for both you and your reader.


Whether you’re part of The Struggle Is Over! novel writing course, or you simply wish to find the time and space to progress your writing project, our Retreat days will provide you with a beautiful and relaxing space. Come and enjoy our homemade food, open fires and tranquil garden. We promise you will make progress, and feel refreshed into the bargain!

Retreat Day

2nd August 2019, 10 - 4pm


Elizabeth Speller - Every Memoir Is Also A Story

31st August 2019, 10-4pm

There are myriad reasons why we write memoirs and slightly different ones why we might buy and read them. Individual writers might simply want to record a story of their life for children and grandchildren or they might want to create something that's potentially commercial. You might feel, like almost anyone born in the first half of the twentieth century, that you've lived through uniquely interesting and challenging times and were there at the making of history, or you might be a millennial telling it as it feels to be young right now. You don't have to be at the farther end your life to write a brilliant, evocative piece of memoir. Others want to explore an event: a massive life change; an adventure; a personal crisis, attachment to a place; a serious illness; a love of an animal, travel, music, food. - More details on Eventbrite


Emma Sweeney - What Does 'Show Not Tell' Actually Mean

19th October 2019, 10 - 4pm

The maxim ‘show not tell’ is bandied around so often in creative writing courses that we rarely take the time to interpret and interrogate it. During this daylong course we’ll look at ways to ‘show’ well through creating compelling scenes and appealing to the senses in ways that are innovative and arresting. But we’ll also ask whether ‘telling’ ever has a place in a novel. Through excerpts and exercises, we’ll learn how and when to shift from action to reflection, scene to narration, ‘showing’ to ‘telling’.


Whether you’re part of The Struggle Is Over! novel writing course, or you simply wish to find the time and space to progress your writing project, our Retreat days will provide you with a beautiful and relaxing space. Come and enjoy our homemade food, open fires and tranquil garden. We promise you will make progress, and feel refreshed into the bargain!

Retreat Day

25th October 2019,


What Do I Do Now I've Finished My Draft? - Emma Sweeny and Jonathan Ruppin

23rd November 2019, 10 - 4pm

During this daylong course, novelist Emma Claire Sweeney will explore ways to inject new life into fiction by identifying the best version hiding beneath the page. We will explore strategies for cultivating the courage and skills required for radical redrafts of structure, plot and character. Moving onto the next stage in the redrafting process, we’ll look at ways to tighten our narrative, enhance clarity and clean up our sentences. What does it really mean to ‘kill our darlings’, we’ll ask, and how should we best go about it?

We will be joined by literary agent Jonathan Ruppin, founder of the Ruppin Agency, who will show us how to make a winning submission, how to avoid common pitfalls, and what agents and editors are seeking.

He’ll also be offering one-to-one bespoke tutorials for participants who have completed all twelve sessions of the novel writing course.


Reunion Workshop

1 December 2019, 10 - 4pm

This day is all about the community of people who’ve taken any or all of the ‘Struggle Is Over!’ workshops and retreat days. We will share our experiences of the course and how our writing has progressed. We will be joined by a guest tutor who will lead the workshop and give ideas, prompts and tips about how to keep up momentum. Largely though, it will be your day to get together with people who have shared your experience; who have been part of your ‘struggle’. We hope it will be a time for rewarding reflection and an opportunity to pat yourself on the back for all you’ve achieved over the year. We might even crack open a bottle of something fizzy!