for writers and readers….

Creative Writing Exercise Number 1 from the Archive

country houseWant to write about the seriously wealthy but when you look out the window for inspiration the view is dominated by grey pebbledash and black bin liners spilling a week old turkey carcass onto the pavement?
Or perhaps you just want to visulise how life will be once Spielberg wins a bidding war for the right to put your Nobel prize winning novel on screen? (This is fantasy, right, so forget the small stuff.)
I suggest you look no further than a Country Life article that describes in over-the-top detail the recession-proof homes it loves to advertise within its glossy pages. These are the houses that will sell no matter what disasters befall the economy.


In the west country pulses race for Georgian country houses – the real deal or new build faux – that overlook water, preferably estuaries because the traffic on the river gives the owner something interesting to look at.

Also essential are substantial acres of land, just to ensure privacy and the house itself would sit at the end of…

a long but discreet drive of gravel…the sight of tarmac might invite unwelcome lost tourists… Outside, the garden would be filled with camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas.

Nice detail!

South Downs estate agents would love to have a stone house on their books “with a little bit of tile hanging to the upper elevations.”

The gardens should have…

…herbaceous borders with the odd yew hedge, and perhaps a seat under an old oak tree.

In Yorkshire there’s no need for a big sweeping garden, but  classic dry-stone walls are a must,

…laid out on different levels, with perhaps a rose garden and a wood on the west side to protect it from the prevailing winds.

Apparently, a Des Res within commuting distance of London would fly off an estate agent’s books if it needed work after being in the same family for decades. Inside would be “a few large and beautifully proportioned rooms”, outside a neglected a tennis court and a swimming pool installed in the 1960s. Once a groovy pad for the famous,  now the fact that it is clogged with weeds gives the property more soul…and could start a bidding war.

For more invaluable research material read the article in full here
It could be the start of your own 2013 Downton Abbey and isn’t it nice to know that estate agents have such a rich fantasy life…

This exercise first appeared on December 31st 2012

3 comments on “Creative Writing Exercise Number 1 from the Archive

  1. R.F.Hunt
    August 2, 2017

    I’m doing a blog series about creative writing courses, red brick, online and in any other formats. Would you like to be on it to talk about your book?
    Best wishes,
    Ruth F Hunt. @RFHunt1 on Twitter

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2017 by in Muse and tagged , , , .


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