Feb 2020, Icebergs and Elbow Grease, Online

The creative necessity of editing.

via Zoom, Friday 27th February – Sunday March 1st 2021

Led by Robin McLean, Icebergs & Elbow Grease is a three day workshop to help you discover what lies beneath the surface of your work, and how to craft your story.

The workshop is suited to writers of all levels who have some work, whether a story or novel, at or beyond the first draft.

With Robin’s guidance, you will have the time and inspiration for new ideas to incubate, crack open and grow.

Icebergs & Elbow Grease

We live in an age that adores “Genius,” the Mozarts of the world who get things perfect — Glorious and resonant — on the first draft. Most of us don’t, and perhaps we should be thankful.  In this workshop we will delve under the tip of the Iceberg, which is what most early drafts are. We will examine work on the line level, but we also mine larger fissures for troves of treasure. We will dig and expand and excise with the eye to make your work more like  your work can be.

Each writer will submit 10-15 pages of work for peer-review, workshop discussion and feedback from Robin. The process of reviewing each others work is part of the editing workshop experience, providing invalauble insight to how you might also improve your own work.

Introductory prices for this intimate workshop of 6 writers are AUD$620 per writer.

What to expect

A spotlight focus will be put on each writers work for a rigurous in-depth, hour and half discussion of what is on the page, what about the craft is making the writing work, and what is needed to elevate and deepen the writing.

Writers will participate in this indepth analysis of the work. Robin’s guidance will highlight how specific elements in the drafts are working – and why – giving all participants insight in how to use these tools in their own writing. All discussion will focus on amplifying the writer’s goals for the specific work, and talents.

Before the workshop

All writers will need to submit the 10-15 pages they wish to workshop one month prior to the commencement of the workshop. This can be either a short story or novel-extract.

All participants will need to have read their peers work at least three times before the workshop commences, marking up their copy of the work with notes they feel are relevant and a minimum half page summary. Further guidance on this will be provided when you are sent your peers work.

Getting to know each other

Part of the workshop experience is being able to make connections with other writers. It is an enriching opportunity to be able to talk about writing, and even not to talk writing, and even to not talk. New friendships are often made, and the things learnt outside of the formal tuition are a wonderful complement to your writing life.

To support this engagement with each other, we will host a forum where we can discuss different aspects of writing, the writers life, or other things that come up that have nothing to do with writing at all.

Workshop times

Bringing together writers across the globe, the three day workshop will run in:

Australia, Friday 27th, Saturday 28th February and Sunday 1st March
Eastern Daylight Savings Time, 9am to 1pm.

USA, Thursday 26th, Friday 27th and Saturday 28th February
West Coast, 2pm to 6pm
East Coast, 5pm to 9pm.

Writers will join via Zoom.

Technical support

We appreciate that the move online does create some new hurdles and Kirsten will be available in the lead-up to the week and during the week to make sure you are comfortable logging in and participating online.

A practice session will be held a week before the wokshop commences to ensure everyone is able to login and is comfortable with the participation format.

Payment terms


  • $200 Deposit is required to secure your booking
  • Full payment required by Friday 5th February

Note: Until the deposit is paid your place is not confirmed.

If full payment is not received by Friday 13th November, it will be assumed you have cancelled.

Cancellation fees

In the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your booking, the following fees will be held

  • $50 non-refundable admin fee for cancellations made after booking
  • $200 deposit is non-refundable for cancellations made after Friday 15th January
  • Full amount is non-refundable for cancellations made after Friday 5th February

In the unlikely event that the workshop is cancelled, the full deposit and fee paid at the time of cancellation will be refunded.

For more information, contact kirsten@kirstencameron.com.

“The workshop and the retreat I had with Robin were both transformative for me, and for my approach to writing and revising. The first focused on essence–how to home in on the emotional core of the story–and the second focused on voice–how to find a voice, a narrative approach to material, that distracts from any conscious intention. Both were incredibly clarifying and freeing–enabling me to step out sideways from my own work and making me feel the immense range of possibilities for language and story-telling. I don’t think I will ever be able to feel “stuck” again. And on a personal level, Robin is incredibly engaging, generous of her time and ideas, and flexible in her approach, with a sensitivity to the mood and needs of the workshop members.”

Rebecca Starks