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High Plains Writing  Philosophy


 To progress our craft, a writer needs both inspiration and time for new ideas to incubate, crack open and grow.  Immersive, week-long workshops in spectacular locations help us time travel, shape-shift and dream new dreams. 


To explore new artistic territory, to excite ourselves and ignite out work, a writer also needs a third element, a bit of pressure. We need risk in order to leave our comfort zones, our time zones, hemispheres. A little push off the cliff’s edge. 


Generative workshops are intended for just that, for you to generate new work, or delve more deeply into pre-existing stories. 



Through a series of craft exercises and approached we will open hidden doorways that already waiting in your writing. Once there, we will venture deeper in. Exploring and learning to exploit these umapped landscapes. Dismantling the barriers to our best and deepest, most adventuresome writing.


The workshops will be tailored to the location, theme and group.

In the vast and powerful landscapes here at Ike’s — as well as the ancient, mythic, historic landscapes around the world — your work, whatever style or genre it is, will shift, grow and deepen.


The workshops are open to all levels of experience.

All workshops will be lead by Robin McLean.

8-12 writers per workshop, except at Ike's,

where the workshops are limited to 6.

Unless otherwise noted, the workshops are all

High Plains Writing generative Workshops.


What is a

High Plains Writing Generative Workshop?

generative workshop

People kind of write as they dress – with a particular style that they barely think about. But sometimes our style limits us. We need some other way to express what we want to get at.


In A High Plains workshop we will be subversive. Using a variety of craft exercises we will turn our usual writing style upside down, find ourselves constructing lines we didn't know we could write.


With new tools, participants will go away from the week comfortable with new ways into their work, and with fresh techniques to stimulate and open their short prose beyond the tried-and-true.

Workshops 2020

Monsters, Tales & Going to the Dark side

a one day Generative workshop

June, 22

Rende, Italy

@ the

International conference for the Short story

Image by Dario Veronesi

Other Hemispheres

6 day Generative Workshop

accommodations included

November 8 -14

Melbourne, Australia


Home Sweet Home

6 day Generative Workshop

accommodations included

July 26 - August 1

Ike' Canyon Ranch


Monsters, Tales & Going

to the Dark side

Image by Kamile Leo

We live in strange times. On one hand, we in the 21st Century claim to prize logic and rationality above all else; in our college classrooms, in our Fortune 50 boardrooms and in our civic debates over immigration, climate change and other vexing moral and ethical issues, our society seeks empirical data and proof. Yet in the popular and artistic media the irrational is booming! We are obsessed, it seems, with zombies and vampires, magic and tall tales. Why? Is there something in us that craves the balance of light and darkness? Whatever the reason, short fiction writers should rejoice over the surging interest in the modern fairy tale. Fairy tales—the oldest form of the short story—have always provided an artistic and intellectual space to explore what logic and reason cannot, the unspoken possibilities inherent in human beings.

In this workshop, through a series of exercises, we will leave reality in the dust. We will explore the fairy tale as a highly relevant, accessible, fun and liberating modern form of the short story. In doing so, we will see how this form can enlighten us about the light and dark sides of ourselves.

Workshop early bird fee is 90€.


Participants may register for workshops without attending the conference.


Please note that participants attending the workshops need to arrive on the 22nd of June.

The sign up link will you take you to the conference website.

Sign up to our email list for updates.

The  international Conference for the Short Story in English is a biannual gathering of scholars and writers interested in the short story. 

Ike's Canyon Ranch

Home Sweet Home @ Ike's

June 26- August 1, 2020 

Workshop Leader: Robin McLean

Ike's Canyon Ranch

This is a Six-day Generative Workshop.
Up to 6 participants.
Early Bird Cost = $1200
If you sign up before March 15
 After March 15 = $1350 per person
A $200 non-refundable deposit is required to hold a space
Image by Daniil Vnoutchkov
Cost includes six nights accommodation at Ike's Canyon Ranch. does not include transportation to and from the ranch. contact us for transportation information.

Sleeping accommodations at Ike's: There are two Private bedrooms in the main house allocated on a first come first served basis. If the workshop is full, two writers will share the 1870's stage stop cabin, which is just feet from the main house. 


Bathrooms are shared.


All Residents will have private writing space.


Food:  Light breakfast will be provided. Writers will bring there own lunch supplies, and ingredients to make one meal during the week for the whole group. 

Sign up to our email list for updates.


Exploring other Hemispheres

Session 1:  Upside down? Right side Up?

November 8   -  14, 2020

Workshop Leader: Robin McLean

Just outside Melbourne, Australia

This is a Six-day Generative Workshop.
Up to 8-12 participants.

Cost includes six nights accommodation at Melbourne Equine therapy, a beautiful farm outside of Melbourne. The does not include transportation to or from the workshop location. You will have a private bedroom and bath.

Food:  Light breakfast will be provided. Writers will bring there own lunch supplies, and ingredients to make one meal during the week for the whole group.  

Session 1: Icebergs & Elbow Grease: the creative necessity of editing

Workshop Leader: Robin McLean

November 20 - 22, 2020

Melbourne, Australia

This is a two-day Editing Workshop, see below for details.
Up to 6 participants.
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  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.

More details to come.

Sign up to our email list for updates.

Payment Policy

Payment Policy

A $200 non-refundable deposit is required to hold a space in any workshop. ​The full cost of the Workshop is due six weeks Prior to the start date of the workshop and is non-refundable 30 prior to the start date. If you need to cancel before 30 days of the start date of the workshop, you will get a full refund minus the deposit.

We accept payment by  PayPal,  major credit cards and personal checks.

We value our privacy and we will value yours. Your information will be kept private.

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