I’m just back from a week long Editing Fiction course run by the Arvon Foundation. I had the pleasure of spending my time in an old country house in the beautiful Devon countryside. I wish I could say the sun shone every day but it didn’t. There was no internet access or WiFi, which drove some of the other people on the course crazy but I found it refreshing to have no distractions from the outside world.
I really enjoyed the course. The other students were all friendly and supportive. The tutors Ellah Wakatama Allfrey and Stephen May were excellent. Allah is a much respected editor and is a judge for the Booker prize (say no more). Stephen has written four novels, which I recommend, Life, Death Prizes!, Tag, Wake Up Happy Every Day and Stronger Than Skin. And the guest speaker was Peter Strauss, a famous literary agent.
And, even more importantly, I learnt a lot about editing on the course and has got really motivated to both finish editing my work in progress, Murder and Miss Mittens, and to make it the best I can. I’ve set myself the deadline of completing it by June 2018 at the latest. Ellah gave me a great summary of my novel, a homage to the Golden Age of Crime with a twist.
The other major benefit of the course is to spend time with people who share your passion and like to talk about it. It was very encouraging that everyone I spoke to, thought the premise of Murder and Miss Mittens was a great, fun idea.
Arvon courses are pricey but very good. They run a wide range of writing courses, fiction, non fiction, screenwriting etc in several different locations. In case you’re interested, their website is https://www.arvon.org.