Tag Archives: Peter Hall

Writing Retreat Joy

old parchment map, showing a a sailing ship, with two crosses cutlasses on top and eight or nine gold coins scattered between them at writing retreat

Image by MasterTux from Pixabay

I went on my first a writing retreat some years ago, at the invitation of a kind friend. Several authors were involved. We went to a wonderful wild bit of the Devon coast, drank the pub dry of first rioja and then malbec and wrote up a storm.

The place had a small natural harbour, with a history, and the tiniest, most evocative museum imaginable. For a while, I think every one of us pondered a story about a dashing pirate.

Young woman in a knitted hat and outdoor clothes sits under an overhanging rock on a rocky cliff, looking out over and inlet, with wider sea to the horizon.

Image by Joe from Pixabay

And we sketched out the story of the girl our sailor left behind him, standing on the headland with her hair blowing in the wind.

It brought out my inner Bronte, anyway. And, as anyone who knows my reading habits will attest, that doesn’t happen lightly.

The wind was a fantastic new experience for me. So were the waves it drove crashing against the rocks to fling up fifteen foot of spray at high tide. It crept into the book I was writing at the time.

This was in spite of the fact that the story had no opportunity for pirate, Jane Eyre-model heroine nor even the sea before that writing retreat. Continue reading

Must You Murder Your Darlings?

Readers - murder your darlingsThis isn’t the first time that the Libertà Hive has pondered the advice to writers to “murder your darlings.”

Indeed, Joanna got seriously confessional about doing exactly that a few months ago. Actually, in her case, it wasn’t so much wilful murder as a contract killing. Editors can be ruthless.


Stephen King On writing, kill your darlingsWell, Stephen King does a pretty good job of it in his On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” He was following William Faulkner. But even Faulkner wasn’t the originator.

It turns out to be Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch — that’s the Victorian Arthur Double-Barrelled who was NOT the author of Sherlock Holmes. He did write novels, lots of ’em, signing himself “Q”. But I’ve never read one. (Hmm. Maybe this year?)

But he was also a serious critic and anthologist. And from 1912 to his death in 1944 he was the King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge. I’ve always thought that he pretty much invented Lit Crit, in fact. Continue reading