Creative writing – inspiration from experience with Ruth Brandt

Creative writing and publishing

Ref: SWE11765

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About this course

Through a series of exercises with plenty of feedback, learn how to turn life's experiences into engaging fiction and non fiction.

Course Description

Whether you are writing directly about your life or writing fiction, ultimately you base your stories on your experiences and those of others – the common human experience. This course will use life’s experiences as a source for your writing and will help you to bring them alive so that readers will want to keep reading.

You will consider the reliability of memory and use techniques to help you remember details from your past. It will look at the importance of observing with a writer’s eye in order to lay down rich memories in the first place, which will in turn provide inspiration for tomorrow’s stories. You will practise the skills needed to write about people so that they appear real and unique thus creating engaging characters. You will learn how to describe places you have visited or lived and use them as a source for your stories. Throughout the course you will practise writing in a way which makes your experiences vibrant and interesting.

Working in a supportive, encouraging environment you will explore each of these areas through class discussions and written exercises. Regular feedback and guidance will be provided by the tutor. There will be plenty of time for independent writing in and around the inspirational college and West Dean Gardens.

By the end of the course you will have developed an understanding of how life’s experiences can be used to write both fiction and non-fiction. You will have written and edited several pieces and leave with new ideas for using your experiences, increased writing skills, and have the confidence to write more.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Writing materials – notebook, pen or pencil and/or laptop
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Ruth Brandt

Ruth Brandt’s short stories and flash fiction have been widely published. She won the Kingston University MFA Creative Writing Prize, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Write Well Award and Best Small Fictions Award. Her short story collection No One has any Intention of Building a Wall will be published by Fly on the Wall Press in 2021.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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