May 22, 2016

10 Best Writers Retreats for Dark Authors in 2016

Lately I've been ruminating over my failed attempt last year at NaNoWriMo. (To be fair, I was super busy teaching and administrating over at Dark Side University so had little time to write!)

I still have a fiction book I'd love to complete, and a non-fiction book or two sketched out. With my busy family responsibilities, business, Internet blogs and related hobbies, friends to socialize with and pets to care for, my writing time often gets interrupted. I've been fantasizing about taking just an old typewriter (no phone! No laptop!) with me to a cabin somewhere and sitting down and just WRITING.

Whether or not this is a realistic fantasy, I've been enjoying daydreaming about some of these fabulous locations. Writing in a castle? Could I afford it? Would I actually write, or just gape at the gorgeous decor and stroll about the beautiful grounds instead of writing? Nonetheless, let's enjoy an afternoon of fantasy and check out some of the darker available writing retreats available this year. None of them are geared towards dark or horror authors, but the locales would certainly lend themselves to darker inspiration.

1. Creativ Castle, Europe

"Write your next book in a castle." Sounds lovely, doesn't it? They advertise their castles as "a luxurious space for creatives and writers." Derek and his wife are attempting to raise funds through a Kickstarter to purchase a castle to be a permanent retreat location. For now, you can join them at a rented French castle in November during NaNoWriMo.

2. The Horror Writer's Workshop - Transylvania

August 7-14, 2016 in Bran, Transylvania.

This would be incredible!

"THE HORROR WRITER’S WORKSHOP, TRANSYLVANIA is honoured to invite Brian Evenson as guest instructor for the seven day workshop and retreat in Transylvania, Romania from August 07-14, 2016. The workshop will take place in the a quaint, award-winning hotel situated in the mountains of Bran, overlooking Bran village and Dracula’s castle. Along with daily lectures and workshops, you will be given personal attention to your writing, including one-on-one tutorials and comprehensive critiques by our guest."

I can't imagine how much it would change one's life, not just as an author, to participate in this. I can only think it might take me quite a while, once I was back home, to process what I'd just experienced on this trip!

Horror Writer's Workshop - Transylvania, on Facebook

3. Ardtornish Estate

Located on the West Coast of Scotland. Not a writer's retreat, but how fabulous would it be to rent one of the Victorian apartments or cozy cottages while writing your novel? One would be there to write, not engage in the diving, snorkeling or sports pursuits on offer. However, the walking opportunities surely would be conducive to deep and inspiring reflection.

The Ardtornish Estate, on Facebook

Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat

October 20-23, 2016 at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

This Indigogo-funded writer's retreat is apparently a go! (It makes me a bit nervous that the event doesn't have an official Facebook page as of yet!) You could stay overnight and write at the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining! This is meant to be an informal, casual writing retreat where you can get lots of writing done, not a convention or conference with tons of meetings.

Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat at IndieGogo

4. La Muse Artists and Writers Retreat

One, two, three, or four week retreats in the mountains of southern France. You can rent an individual room, book rooms for a group event, or stay in the Mews or a cottage. They try to keep rates affordable so writers and artists can afford to stay long enough to get a good amount of work done. This place is not a castle or chateau, but is surrounded by so much picturesque countryside, it makes up for it.

5. Camelot Castle

Stay in a private family home in Cornwall, England. You can rent a room with a four poster bed, desk, and a view of the Atlantic and the ruins of King Arthur's Castle at Tintagel. Sounds fabulous to me! Then again, I might fall prey to staring dreamily out the window all day instead of actually writing.

However, Buzzfeed claims this castle is owned by a Donald Trump superfan who is also a Scientologist. Thought you should know!

6. Winchester Mystery House Writers Retreat, San Jose, CA

August 11-13, 2016.

R.J. Cavendish put together this Indiegogo funded writers retreat. Note that you wouldn't be staying overnight at the actual Winchester house, but at a mansion about 20 minutes away.

Winchester Mystery House Retreat, at Indiegogo

Winchester Mystery House Writers Retreat, on Facebook

7. Rocaberti Castle Writers Retreat

October 7-12, 2016, in Figueres, Spain (near Barcelona).

This writers retreat especially emphasizes screenwriting. "You’ll be part of a small and exclusive group of a maximum of 16 writers at the retreat. Through focused, practical presentations in the mornings, afternoon mentoring sessions, evening social events—and with a mentor/writer ratio of approximately 1:4—you’ll learn how to tell your story on the page and on the screen, and be one step closer to seeing your dream come to life!"

Rocaberti Castle Writers Retreat, on Facebook

8. Writeaway in France

September 25-October 2, 2016, Chateau du Pin in France.

Nothing particularly dark about this writer's retreat - I probably wouldn't bring a bloody or gory horror novel to read aloud from in group sessions.. scaring off the poor other writers. However, how cool is this locale? Writing in a 15th century chateau.. I am swooning!

9. Ballyhannon Castle, Ireland

If castles in France and Spain don't tempt you, how about this one in Ireland?

The castle sleeps 10 people. It's not a hotel, so you have to cook for yourself. Unless you're rich, you probably don't want to rent this all by yourself. What a fabulous writer's retreat you could concoct here to share expenses and inspiration with likeminded authors!

Ballyhannon Castle on Facebook

10. St. Peter's Abbey, Saskatchewan, Canada

At these three-week writers retreats, held by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, you stay in the guest rooms of the abbey. This is another instance of a writer's retreat not specifically seeking out dark authors, so you won't be comparing notes on your gothic romance or horror novel with the other authors. As a bonus: "A reference library specifically designed for writers and artists is set up in the lounge of the Abbey Guest wing."

St. Peter's Abbey

Saskatchewan Writer's Retreats

Hope you enjoyed daydreaming about writing as much as I did today! Now I really need to go sit down and do some actual work on my novel, retreating merely to my quiet backyard today!

--Copyright 2016 Carrie Carolin, Dark Side of the Net

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