Our France retreat is officially full! However, we're planning on doing it again in 2014. What exotic location would you like to visit? Tell us and we'll put it in the running!
We'll have seven nights, six full days, in the Catalonian town of Ceret. The price of the program covers lodging, tuition, and breakfast. Lunch and dinner are flexible. Part of the fun of spending time in another place is pretending you live there – buying food at local markets and preparing it. Sampling local wine and other products. But nobody has to do this. We anticipate a mix of meals at “home” and restaurant meals, but we’ll decide what happens when and who participates as we go.
Every morning we’ll meet from 9:30 to noon for the “class” portion of the experience. We’ll have a group cocktail hour around 5:30, so from noon till then you can eat, sleep, write and explore as you wish. In the course of the week we’ll also organize a couple of strictly optional side trips to nearby points of interest. Three charming Mediterranean towns are only about half an hour away; incredible Cathar castle ruins are farther; Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals are sprinkled liberally throughout the region. We’ll try not to get carried away.
Day One – Saturday, August 31
Arrive in Ceret, get settled. The living quarters will be ready for us as of 3:00 pm. Note that Saturday is market day in Ceret, and its market is huge and crowded. Parking after 8:00 am is extremely challenging. If you’d like to experience the fully glory of the market, we suggest finding a nearby hotel for Friday night. We’ll have dinner together at a local restaurant and discuss the plan for the week, individual writing goals, etc.
Day Two – Sunday, September 1
The theme for the day is inspiration (if you need it). Simply finding yourself in a foreign environment can seriously spark inspiration, but we’ll also talk about various other sources: memories, fantasies, dreams, landscape, art and architecture. Writing exercises for inspiration.
Day Three – Monday, September 2
We’ll focus on character in fiction and nonfiction. What are your character’s motives, problems, excuses, wants and needs? How can you use dialog and action to develop character? Writing exercises – yes.
Day Four – Tuesday, September 3
Let’s think about plot, and talk about it too. We’ll look at various definitions of plot and discuss its function in your narrative.
Day Five – Wednesday, September 4
A day devoted to setting and how it functions in the narrative.
Day Six – Thursday, September 5 A big-picture day, when we consider the basic elements of narrative: scene, summary, commentary. How do we balance the elements? Can we do without any of them? And what about theme?
Day Seven – Friday, September 6
The art and science of revision. Revisit your dreams, your writing goals, the work you’ve done the past week. We’ll also cover fine-tuning your work and matters of style.
Day Eight – Saturday, September 7
We must leave our enchanted village – preferably after more market-day excitement.
BUT WAIT – what if you’d like to stay longer? Let us know immediately and we’ll arrange a second week. Program, if any, TBA.
Other details: The price for one week is $1800; we require a $250 deposit on registration. The program is limited to six participants. If your spouse or partner wants to come along, there will be a small additional charge.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.