Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Forays into fiction         July 2004

Heather Redmond ventures into short-story writing

Once upon a time I was a probation officer. When I became a writer, people told me I must have a lot of stories to tell. And I do. But my belief is that I don’t know how to tell them. Where do you go to learn to write stories - and is it really something that can be taught? 

Over recent decades, creative writing courses have proliferated in every corner of the land . We are spoilt rotten for choice. I decided that it should be possible to learn something somewhere and have a little fun along the way.


I choose Ty Newydd on the Llyn peninsula in North Wales. The National Writers Centre for Wales is one of the well-established residential centres and best of all, a long way from London. Better than a holiday abroad it is, recalcitrant trains being marginally easier to manage than recalcitrant planes. 

I arrive, one of fourteen students, plus two tutors and various staff. We all shake down together in a comfortable, rambling old house within walking distance of the sea and the pub and the bus stop, and Snowdon a few miles up the road and Welsh-speaking people all around. 

With a lot of help, we take it in turns to cook the evening meals and we eat and drink together round a great square table. It is intensive and creative and stimulating. And fun. Tuition every morning, sleep or walks or tutorials in the afternoon and readings in the evening. Great bus service to Cricieth and Porthmadog and Pwllheli which I even learn to pronounce properly. 

Have I learnt how to write short stories?

No, but the firm belief that I can’t is punctured. What I learned is that I have the basic writing skills, which will improve with practice. My imagination is unlocked through the medium of the exercises we have done. Simple stuff such as a game of consequences, talking about a dream, a film clip, followed by the hard stuff – writing the stories that emerge.  

Following the influence of  two good tutors with bags of enthusiasm and encouragement, I arrived home with three stories on the stocks, lots of motivation and the confidence to carry on.  Stories are currently pouring out of my newly fertilised imagination and I can’t get them down quickly enough.

Can’t be bad. 

Courses at Ty Newydd run from Monday evening to Saturday morning and all tutors are professional writers. Course fee was 370 inclusive of meals.  



laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also regular columns of a more specialist nature such as healthwise, reports from the REACH files, and a beauty section called looking good in later life.

Also don't forget to take a look at our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT by IT trainer and author Jackie Sherman.

To view the latest articles and indexes to previous articles click on laterlife interest here or above.  To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature below.


back to laterlife interest

Site map and site search


Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti