I wondered if there would be any interest in a ‘live’ writing workshop with me.
By ‘live’, I mean actually ‘live’ — that is, not on the internet, but face-to-face, with me, in person, in a room probably in a hotel or conference centre or somewhere here in Yorkshire.
The loose framework I’m thinking of is something like this:
1. You would fly/drive up to Yorkshire.
2. The workshop would include two nights in a good hotel with good meals.
3. On the first full day of the workshop, I would spend several hours covering a range of topics drawn from and based around the principles in my book How Stories Really Work. The idea would be to concentratedly work on something specific, so that by the end of the day each attendee would not only feel that he or she had learned something that could be applied forevermore to their work, but also that a specific product had been achieved on the spot.
4. The day would end with a dinner and chat, getting to know the other attendees and so forth.
5. The second day would be a tour. I’d have to figure out transport based on how many attendees, but the idea would be to visit key sites near where I live, which could include places like the Brontës’ Parsonage in Haworth — the Brontës are of course the world's most famous literary family and the Haworth Parsonage, set in the picturesque village of Haworth against the amazing landscape of the Yorkshire Moors, was home to the family from 1820 to 1861. It's now a museum that houses the world's largest collection of Brontë furniture, clothes and personal possessions and offers an inspirational and evocative experience for people of all ages. It's a short drive from my home.
Or there’s Whitby, where, over 125 years ago, Bram Stoker visited and, inspired by the gothic charm of the town, went on to write one of the most famous horror novels of all time: Dracula. Much of the action of the book takes place there too. Visitors to the town scale the 199 steps and search St Mary's Church graveyard in search of the infamous Count's last resting place. That's about a three hour drive from my house, through amazing scenery.
Then there’s Thirsk. You may have heard of the books written by James Alfred Wight or watched All Creatures Great and Small on TV. James Herriot, the world’s most famous vet, lived and worked here. At The World of James Herriot you can see the car he drove, step into the TV set, and even experience what it was like to hide in a Second World War air raid shelter. If we had time, we could go off the tourist trail and find the real towns and villages of James Herriot's Yorkshire Dales. Thirsk is about two hours away from me.
Unknown to many, Tolkien also spent significant time in Yorkshire.The Tolkien Triangle includes Hull, where Tolkien was hospitalised twice and Hornsea Musketry Camp, his first posting in East Yorkshire, where Edith, his wife, took lodgings nearby. At Roos, key scenes in his early mythology were formed. These places are roughly three hours from here.
In the spa town of Harrogate, in 1926, the best-selling novelist of all time, Agatha Christie, staged a disappearance. For ten days, Christie managed to hide from the world under a false identity, leaving no clues to her whereabouts other than a letter saying she was going to Yorkshire. She was discovered in Harrogate, which is only about 40 minutes away.
Given that we would have only one day, only one of these outings would probably be possible. Even then, considerable travelling would be involved — but through some of the most stunning scenery in the world.
6. After one more night in a hotel, you would be free to make your way home, probably with some gifts.
Anyway, these are only notions at the moment. I’m writing this to ‘test the waters’.
Costs? Completely unknown at present. They would include, as mentioned, the hotel and meals and of course the workshop and materials associated with that, plus the transport to such places as are outlined above. Getting to Yorkshire and back home would have to be at your own expense. For some, that might be prohibitive, given our international membership. But there are some relatively ‘local’ members who might find it easier to get here.
You might be interested, or you might think it’s all far-fetched and not something you would want to do. Members used to joke about meeting up in Iceland one way — mainly because it was halfway, roughly, between the UK and the States, where most members dwell — and that might also happen one day. But for now I thought I’d run this one past you.