My week at Swanwick: The Writers’ Summer School

I’m back! Full of inspiration and raring to write.

Last week, I was at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and I had the most amazing time. As a writer, it will probably stand one of the most important weeks in my writing career. The realizations I came to, the people I met and the courage I gathered from it has turned becoming a published author from a fervent hope to a realistic goal.

Swanwick this year ran from the 12th – 18th August and every day, there were amazing courses and talks to choose from. As well as a lot of bar time, no one drinks like a writer on a deadline.

For my main course, I did Writing Popular Fiction with Sue Moorcroft. Sue Moorcroft is a great writer and a brilliant teacher. So many things I thought I understood about writing a novel finally came into focus in these lessons. My new Swanwick friend took Fiction for Children & Young People with the author Jon Mayhew and was equally impressed.

And in the afternoons, you had your choice of four different courses a day and for most, it ends up being a struggle to decide! To name but a few, I went to Short Stories with Della Galton, Research for Writers with Kathryn Aalto and Writing for Competitions with Ingrid Jendrzejewski and Editing with Hazel Prior.

Google any of those names and you’ll see that all the tutors are incredible people with real credits and experience behind them. That was a real selling point for me; real people who understand the world of writing.

Needless to say, after a week of this, I was knackered! But elated that I’ve found so many people out there like me. People who want to stay up until one in the morning talking about sci-fi, fantasy, movies, plotlines and character arcs. People who don’t think that analyzing a book or movie ‘ruins’ it. People who want to talk about writing for a week solid.

Swanwick itself is in the middle of the Derby countryside and has beautiful grounds. Even though the week felt jam packed, I still had time to sit and write in the sun which was so wonderful and kick started my planning on my new sci-fi novel.

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Probably most importantly, I managed to get a one-to-one with the writer and author Bridget Holding. As scary as the prospect was, her feedback was brilliant, highlighting weaknesses in my writing which are fixable. It gave me that little boost I need to believe I can make. It was my first opportunity to ask a professional writer if there was any chance of me making it. And now I’m sure I can.

All this and I haven’t even started on the evening talks. During this week, we had talks from:

  • Stephen Booth – a crime novelist and creator of the Cooper & Fry crime series
  • Sophie Hannah – an internationally bestselling author of crime fiction and currently writing the Hercule Poirot continuation novels
  • Cathy Cassidy – an author of young adult fiction including Love from Lexie
  • Imogen Cooper – the founder of the Golden Egg Academy

As every talk is followed by a book signing, you can imagine how much money I spent in the book room. I now have a little more than 55 books to read…

I can’t wait to go back next year!

 

6 thoughts on “My week at Swanwick: The Writers’ Summer School

    1. It’s really worth it! If you find yourself in a bit of a writing rut, sometimes an educational break with time to write can be just what you need!

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