Creative Writing Course in India – Online and in the Himalayas

Bootcamp #1 - Oct 2016

Bootcamp #2, April 2017

Bootcamp #8, Oct 2018

Bootcamp #9, Feb 2019

Note : The September 25-27 Creative Writing Course is now sold out. You can apply for the Creative Writing Course on October 3-4 & 10-11. Details below.

Writing starts with desire. Something to say - a need to share. But doubt can make things difficult. What / when / how  should you write? How will you engage the reader – make sure your writing doesn't bore? Will you be criticized? (Ans : yes). Do you write for yourself? Or your reader? And once done, how will you get published?  What are the options? Once published, how do you market?

Working through these questions together is like trying to eat an unlimited South-Indian thali in one gulp. In this creative writing course, we break the massive meal into small, digestible chunks. We simplify it so that someone starting out can understand the process. Maybe even enjoy it.  You write a lot, get many answers, and the big daunting meal turns into a feast. Or at least something you can tackle.

This Creative Writing Course (a.k.a the Online Writing Bootcamp) is one of India's much loved writing courses. we've conducted it 27 times face-to-face in the Himalayas, and 11 times online. The online course is not a bunch of recorded videos. It is a live, interactive small group working together lead by a professional coach. Participants have included people from the UK, Muscat, Singapore, Dubai, all timezones of the US, and from all over India, of course.

In this creative writing course, you write. A lot. You learn by doing. You dig into aspects of a good book - plot, character, dialogue, voice (First person or third? Or second person like this paragraph?) and much more. You learn the rather critical art of editing, and realize how much unnecessary, extra and pompous verbosity you habitually stuff into your writing.

Okay, now lets edit that: You learn the rather critical art of editing, and realize how much unnecessary, extra and pompous verbosity you habitually stuff into your writing. You learn tools: For editing, for writing better and for disciplining yourself as a writer.

The Online Creative Writing Course is the same small group experience as the Himalayan Writing Bootcamp. The same learnings, the same writing exercises and workload. The Himalayas are replaced by your bedroom window. But the teaching, the camaraderie – everything remains unchanged. And you don’t have to leave home to do it.

This online course is not one way communication. It is live. Interactive. Personal.

Please note
This course  is useful for people wanting to learn to write a narrative – it could be either fiction or non-fiction. However, if you want to write non-narrative content (self-help / technical/ essays or other such writing) you can opt for our creative writing workshop on non fiction (details to be announced soon).

How it works

Pre-requisite : Participants need to have a laptop and a good internet connection. Larger screens (a large monitor) will help even more.

Participant limit : 10 .

Pre-work : all participants are assigned some pre-work (short stories) to read.

This Creative Writing Course is spread over two weekends i.e. two consecutive Saturdays and Sundays. Every weekend at 10 AM IST : Sign into zoom along with your cohort and the instructor. We will be done by 4 PM. Go through four days of work online. We write, share our writing, get feedback from the group.  (Details of all four days are shared below).

Apply by clicking the button below if you’re interested.  

You work collectively - as "we".  Over the first four days we put together many pieces which are the building blocks of our story / book. On day four we get to know the various players – editors, publishers, literary agents. We understand the publishing options before a first-time author.

A detailed, day-wise break-up of the Creative Writing Course is shared below. We learn to notice unnecessary use of passive voice, like in the previous sentence. It could have been “We’ve shared a day-wise program below”. We learn how to clean up our writing.

Participants love this Course. They say nice things.  And they write - eight books have been completed, and many more are in the works. To read about the books HWR has helped along, click here.

When:  3rd & 4th, 10th & 11th,  October, 10 AM - 4 PM,  Indian Standard Time.

Level: Novice - Intermediate writers

Who: Chetan Mahajan, a Penguin published author and award-winning blogger,  leads this course. (For instructor profile, click here or scroll down.)

Where: Your home. (or wherever you have a PC and good connectivity).

How much : INR 18,000 (USD 300 for international participants). For our cancellation policy, click here. 

We only accept ten applicants on a first-come first-served basis. To apply, please click the blue button below and fill out the application. If accepted, you can pay the fees to secure your spot. 

Participants saying nice things

About the Instructor

Chetan Mahajan

Chetan Mahajan leads this course. Chetan has spent two decades working in on-line learning, both in the US and India. He has taught on-line as far back as 2006 as a faculty member at the University of Phoenix online.

Chetan is a Penguin-published author and an award-winning blogger. Chetan and his wife Dr. Vandita Dubey (also a published author) moved to the Himalayas five years ago. There they founded the Himalayan Writing Retreat. Chetan is now a full-time author and works as a  writing coach independently as well as with the London based the writing coach.  He also writes for The Mint, Outlook Magazine, HT Brunch, Reader's Digest and Hindu Business Line

Detailed Program


Read two short stories we send you. Also, keep your favourite book (Fiction / Narrative Non-fiction) handy. 

Aspects of good writing. Plot, Character, Point of view and much more.

We dig into the aspects of a good book, and spend time on Plot and Character in depth.

In Plot, we go over various frameworks of plot, and how they apply to some contemporary writings, such as Harry Potter. How a good plot leads to a strong narrative. In Character, we explore what characters are, their different types, how they are built, and so on.

Point of view is a big decision - will you write in first-person? Third ? Or will you write from Multiple points of view? We will do voice-writing exercises in pairs to help the writer get into someone else’s shoes and write.

Description & Setting, Clean language, Editing, The project of writing.

We understand exactly what Description & Setting is. We do visioning and focusing activities to make our descriptions and settings more vivid.

We then discover some of the bad writing habits we pick up young, and the ways to unlearn them. We learn to omit needless words and write clean.

Editing cannot be over-emphasized. Good writers do it over and over again. We understand why, and explore some tools which can help.

Next, we dig into the project of writing: how to plan a book and write it. We learn new ways to do away with distractions and create focus. We close by looking at tools - both offline and tech - specific to writing.

We review the book writing plans of those keen on sharing. We tweak the plans where required and understand the committed milestones and dates.

Writers block, Publishing options, Marketing your book.

We discuss strategies based on research on creativity from the field of psychology. We write more. From figuring out how to “think outside the box” to ways of dealing with the famous writer’s block, we put science to good use. We build on the authors’ toolkit.

We spend the last day doing a reality check. Publishing and marketing a book requires a very different set of skills from writing a book. We explore those. We understand the options for publishing available to a first-time author. For analyze the economics of traditional and self publishing, their pros and cons. We learn what a literary agent does, and if you should sign up with one.

We discuss what it takes to market a book. Does Social Media have a role? What are good - and bad - ways to get reviews?

We close with all participants sharing feedback.

Don't look for answers.
We'll email them to you.

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