Creative Writing Course – Himalayas
February 11 – February 15
Doubt is a writer’s enemy. 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). Once done, how will you publish?
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 may turn into a feast.
This Creative Writing Course is one of India’s much loved writing courses. We’ve conducted it 50+ times. Ten or fewer people work together led by a professional coach. The reviews of our workshops seem to say it really works. 35+ books have been published by our participants so far.
In this creative writing course, you learn by doing. You write. 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 Creative Writing Course is offered at the Himalayan Writing Retreat. With a maximum of 10 participants, the small group experience is personalized and rewarding. The workshop earns mostly 5-star reviews.
(If you’re writing non-fiction which is not a story, then check out our non-fiction writing course instead.)
The creative writing course is led by Chetan Mahajan, a professional writing coach. Chetan is a Penguin-published author and has published columns in the Mint and Outlook magazine, amongst others. (Chetan’s detailed profile is shared below.)
The Himalayan Workshop sessions are held in the open or in the book lounge. Some meals maybe served in the open too if the weather is good. The outdoors are a very inviting and inspiring here.
About the Instructor
Chetan Mahajan leads this creative writing course. Chetan has spent two decades working in on-line learning, both in the US and India. He started teaching online in 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 almost a decade ago. There they founded the Himalayan Writing Retreat.
Chetan Mahajan, Writing coach
Chetan is 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 – Creative Writing Course
Read the short stories we send you. Make a one-page outline of the project you want to work on. Then arrive at the retreat and on day 0, chill. Wear your warm jacket and soak in the view.
Day 1: Aspects of good writing. Plot, Character and Point of view.
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.
Day 2: Description & Setting, Pace, Language & Editing.
We understand exactly what Description & Setting is. We learn about the pace of a story. We practice writing both activities to make our story better.
We examine our own writing for some of the bad writing habits we pick up, and 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.
Day 3: Writers block, Publishing options, Marketing your book, your writing plan.
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 their writing plans.
Leave the Retreat after a protracted breakfast and goodbye.
Travel and Stay
Once here, you will be sharing a room with a fellow participant (unless we’ve confirmed a single). All essentials like food, hot water, towels etc. are provided. No hidden costs.
It can snow in winter. Weather can vary and the weather chart of Mukteshwar (12 km from the retreat) is here. A pair of sturdy walking shoes, some rain protection and an extra layer or two are always a good idea.
Depending upon where you travel in from, you can reach us by road, train or air. Even if flying or taking a train, the final stretch is a drive, and the last 150 metres is a walk.
The retreat is a 370 km/9 hours drive from Delhi. If driving, we recommend you leave early. Note that parking at the retreat is on the road – we do not have any private parking. We have limited driver accommodation, so please check in advance.
Overnight Volvo buses ply between Haldwani and Delhi, the more reliable of which are government operated. You con book those here. Private Volvos and Sleeper buses also ply between Delhi and Haldwani, which you can book on redbus. Make sure you pick a bus with a high (4+) rating.
There are three trains a day from Delhi to Kathgodam, the nearest train station. Some others also come in from Kolkata, Lucknow and Dehradun. From Delhi, Ranikhet Express is a convenient overnight train both ways, but finding tickets can be difficult.
Most people prefer to take the Kathgodam Shatabdi (Delhi dep: 6.20 AM, Kathgodam Arr: 11.40 AM). A cab from Kathgodam to Satkhol takes about 2.5 hrs / Rs. 2200 (more for a big car). Cabs are often shared by participants.
There are daily flights from Delhi to Pantnagar. A cab from Pantnagar to Satkhol takes about 3.5 hr / Approx INR 4K.
There are direct flights from Mumbai and Bangalore to Bareilly 3-4 days a week. Satkhol is a 5hr / INR 5.5k cab ride from Bareilly. (More for a big car). Cabs are often shared by participants.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I choose HWR Workshops?
- Personal Attention: We don’t take more than 10 students in a class. You get a lot of personal attention and feedback. No classrooms of 20-30 people or one-way pre-recorded videos here.
- Class Quality: For most courses, we filter our participants. You can’t just pay and sign up. We need to see a writing sample (in our application form) to ensure the class is of a uniform standard.
- Cost per hour: Our courses are long and intense. As an example, the Creative Writing course is 18000 for 24 contact hours (3 days, 8 hours each day). The cost per hour = 750 / hour. That is comparable to many of the “cheaper” courses.
- Quality of faculty: No lightweights here. Many of our faculty are award-winners. All are experts and great teachers. We don’t settle for average.
- Feedback scores: Across courses, we are rated 4.5/5, or higher. You can read our reviews HERE.
- Do I get a certificate of participation?
Yes, certificates are available on request.
- Any discounts for students / other categories?
At the Himalayan Writing Retreat, we follow a strict No-Discount policy.
- Is the workshop fee refundable?
Our cancellation policy is as follows:
- Online Writing Workshop: 100% refund if cancellation 2 weeks before the event start date, 50% if cancellation one week before the start date, 0% if less than one week before the start date.
- Creative Writing Workshop at the Himalayas: 100% refund if cancellation 4 weeks before the event start date, 50% if cancellation two weeks before the start date, 0% if less than two weeks before the start date.
- Is the Himalayan Writing Retreat a business or an NGO?
The Himalayan Writing Retreat is a social enterprise. It works closely and actively with two local NGOs in its community work initiatives: Chirag and Alaap. In 2020, HWR raised INR 6.1 Lakhs to support the Chirag School.
Have more questions? Feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us at +91 73035 16665 (Call/ WA/Signal).
** 29000 is the early bird price. Regular price of INR 32000 applicable after January 29, 2023.**
Additional Guests, Single room and Cancellation Policy:
Additional Guests may stay with participants, subject to availability. Their stay is charged at a rate of INR 4000 per night including meals and taxes for a shared room.
Single rooms can be requested but are subject to availability. The additional cost for a single room is 3000 per night including meals and taxes.
100% refund if cancellation 4 weeks before event start date, 50% if cancellation is done two weeks before start date, 0% if less than two weeks before start date.
If participants test positive for Covid-19 before travel (RTPCR Report Required), full credit will be held for six months for any future event, subject to availability.I understand