Arvon Experimental Fiction Week Learnings

As a break from Experimental Living, I spent last week Experimental Writing at the Arvon centre in Devon, with tutors Adam Foulds and Toby Litt and a fabulous and kindly group of writers and experimenters. The Trump Triumph and his Farage Menage were a world away. It couldn’t have been better timed. 

Don’t pack a spare towel, you won’t need it. Likewise teabags. Bring more clothes.

Download more podcasts for palate cleansing at the end of a day of rich brain food.

Expect to feel odd and dislocated for a day or two. You will come back to yourself. You will make friends.

Physical isolation, plus no wifi is a GOOD THING. You will experience panicky feelings over an inability to instantly fact check. Get over yourself. Leave a gap and go back later. Be less of a dopamine reward junky.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read all of the things, but you should read better. TLS. LRB. That sine wave storyline thing though, that came straight out of Ramsay Street.

Remember a plot doesn’t need to be bland to be believeable (POTUS afterall) however if it feels wrong, it probably is. Wrong. Trust your instincts.

Work in the wifi-free, well-heated town library more often. Drink the coffee. Pity the old men.

Continue to get up early and work before the crazy grabs the day. Two hours early is worth four later.

Say ‘no’ to a lot more stuff, especially if that stuff involves complicated travel arrangements.

Create space to ….

write, write, write.

Write the scene, not the summary.

Nurture brainy friendships; Malteser Rachel and University Kirstie.

Go to the pub, but this time order a pint. Otter. Stop crapping on about Poldark.

Do it again next year.

Big Thank Yous to the Arvon Experimental Writing class of 2016; Adam, Toby, Mary, Louise, Luke, Natasha, G, H, S, M, S, J, L, L, E, C, P. 

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