Writing Retreat UPDATE: It was a dark and stormy night...

The Darling Axe is planning a writing retreat to the beautiful and rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island in Tofino. 

Join us during storm-watching season, February 5-9, 2024, for five days of distraction-free writing. Connect with a new community of writers, attend workshops, and get one-on-one coaching from the two senior editors at Darling Axe, David Brown and Michelle Barker. 

Questions? We have answers. 


David Brown and Michelle Barker are both long-time editors and award-winning authors who’ve been teaching workshops together for several years. We both have MFAs in creative writing from UBC and are excited to host you at this retreat. 


We have a schedule planned that allows for both instruction and private writing time. 

Monday: Welcome dinner at the hotel
Tuesday: Morning workshop and individual coaching
Wednesday: Morning workshop and individual coaching
Thursday: Workshop and farewell dinner at the hotel 

The morning workshops will be two hours long and will be based on content from our new book, Immersion and Emotion: The Two Pillars of Storytelling. Each participant will get a complimentary copy. Individual coaching will be an hour. Aside from that, we want you to have plenty of time to be inspired: enjoy the stunning location and get as much writing done as possible.

The two scheduled dinners are included in the retreat price and will take place at the Great Room in the hotel, a five-star restaurant with an unparalleled view.

There will also be opportunities for extra activities such as whale-watching, storm-watching, and long walks along the beach or on forest trails. 


We will be staying at the beautiful and luxurious Long Beach Lodge in Tofino. Our goal is to provide you with inspirational programming, lots of time to write, and a new community of writers, but we’re also mindful of the cost and are providing many options. 

Your final price tag will depend on the type of room you choose and if you decide to share with a friend. 

The following early bird prices are in Canadian dollars and include accommodation, retreat fee, and two dinners. They do not include tips, tax, or extra meals and activities: 

  • Shared standard room with double beds:
    • $1564 (deposit of $1094)
  • Shared two-bedroom rainforest cottage:
    • $2068 (deposit of $1242)
  • Standard room with king:
    • $2228 (deposit of $1288)
  • Partial ocean-view room with king:
    • $2444 (deposit of $1352)
  • Beachfront deluxe room with king:
    • $2768 (deposit of $1446)
  • Pacific penthouse suite with king:
    • $3524 (deposit of $1668) 

There are many other options available, including pet-friendly rooms. If you decide to join us, we will work out your individual booking at that time. 

Most of the price tag is comprised of your accommodation. We require a deposit to register, which includes your first night stay, two dinners, and our retreat fee. The retreat fee covers the presenters’ costs plus $200. 

You will only pay the Darling Axe once. Beyond your deposit, the remainder of the cost is for accommodation and anything else you book through the hotel, so you will settle up with them at checkout time. 


The retreat is booked for Monday to Friday, February 5-9, 2024. That gives you the weekends on either end for traveling or to extend your stay. It’s the ideal time to come. Tofino itself is quiet, but the weather is wild and wonderful. 


The airport in Tofino is small and there won’t be many flights going in at that time of year, so if you plan to fly, you’ll want to head to Nanaimo or Victoria and then drive from there. The drive from Nanaimo is approximately three hours; from Victoria, it’s approximately five. There are also ferry options from the mainland and Washington. Keep in mind that winter tires are mandatory as there is often snow on the road at this time of year. 

There might be a bus to Tofino, but winter service is seasonal. We cannot organize ride sharing for liability reasons, but we can put you in touch with other participants if you’d like to arrange that on your own. 

Please note that travel costs are not included in the retreat. 


It’s easy for life to intrude on writing time. Setting aside time exclusively for your creative work is a way to honor your commitment to the craft. Doing it among like-minded folks in an inspiring environment gives your work a jumpstart. You’ll come away from the retreat full of new energy and ideas. Plus, you’ll have access to experienced teachers and editors who can help you navigate the rough spots in your manuscript as they arise.  

Research has shown there are five key benefits to attending a writing retreat:

  • Protected writing time and space
  • A strong sense of community, which is essential to the largely solitary pursuit of writing
  • Increased motivation to write
  • Increased productivity—no distractions, no to-do lists, no excuses
  • A new and valuable support network that can translate into critique partners and lifelong friendships. 

Anything else? 

Please get in touch with us at editors@darlingaxe.com. We’re happy to answer your questions and hope you’ll consider joining us. 

About the Darling Axe

Our editors are industry professionals and award-winning writers. We offer narrative development, editing, and coaching for every stage of your manuscript's journey to publication.

Work with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services

Book a sample edit with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services

Darling Axe Academy – Query Quest: a self-paced querying course

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