The Art of Writing 2017

The Art of Suspense 
with Conrad Williams

and Special Guest Elizabeth Jennings.

Sunday June 4 to Saturday June 10

Book now to secure your place!

 

Sunday, June 4

17.00 – Meet at Florence Central Train Station Santa Maria Novella, Firenze. Mini-van transfer to Il Borgo a Caiano Residence in Casentino, Tuscany. Time to unpack and settle into your apartment.

19.00 – 20.00 – Welcome aperitivi (drinks) and antipasti. Introduction to your hosts – Ombretta and Roberto. Meet your fellow writers. Introduction to your tutors – Lisa Clifford, Conrad Williams, and Elizabeth Jennings.

20.00 – Dinner

21.30 – Post-Dinner session and introduction to your week’s programme. Q&A’s.

Monday, June 5

Breakfast

9.30 – Assemble in the garden gazebo

9.30 – 10.45 – The Unusual Suspects with Conrad Williams. For a suspense novel to have any chance of success, it must be populated with believable characters.

11.00 – Morning tea and coffee with Ombretta’s home-made cake

11.30 – 12.45 – The All-Seeing Eye with Conrad Williams. Settling on the right point of view (POV) in your work is one of the most critical decisions you are likely to make, especially if you are embarking on a series of books.

13.00 – Lunch

14:00  Private writing and individual sessions in the afternoon with Lisa Clifford, Conrad Williams, and Elizabeth Jennings. At 16.00 afternoon tea and Ombretta’s homemade cakes will be available in the garden.

18.00 – 19:00 – Indie Publishing with Special Guest, Elizabeth Jennings – How to create the writer’s life and run a successful writing business from home.  Tried the traditional route to publishing your novel through large and small publishing houses? What about self publishing and the many hybrid options in between? What are the pros and cons of independent publishing? Why is good self-publishing usually anything but “self”? What is partnership publishing, and why is it so popular? How do you decide which route suits you best? Learn about how the industry is changing, and how to devise a strategy that suits your goals, dreams, timetable and budget.

18.30 – Aperitivi in the garden

19.30 – Dinner

Tuesday, June 6

Breakfast

9.30 – Assemble in the garden gazebo

9.30 – 10.45 – Writing from a Sense of Place with Lisa Clifford  Learn how to mine the details that will add authenticity to your settings and the figures that populate them. It’s all about atmosphere, that’s how readers gain the sense of the place that you, the writer, has chosen to place them in. Your job is not only to articulate description but to show location through sound, touch, smell and taste. This is one of the most important lessons for all writers. Let your reader be where you want them to be because they sense it.

11.00 – Morning tea and coffee with Ombretta’s home-made cake

11.30 – 12.45 – Incidents and Accidents with Conrad WilliamsIn every good thriller, there exists an inciting incident, a spark that sets events in motion and draws your protagonist into the fray.

13.00 – Lunch

14:00  Private writing and individual sessions in the afternoon with Lisa Clifford, Conrad Williams, and Elizabeth Jennings. At 16.00 afternoon tea and Ombretta’s homemade cakes will be available in the garden.

18.00 – The Business of Writing via Live Skype with US Literary Agent, Trident Media Group, Mark Gottlieb ‘It’s the aspect of the hook that is all important,’ says Mark. ‘Writers can learn so much about the submission process but they should also understand how the advance system works, as well as how Royalties are paid out.’ So what about your Foreign Language Rights? What if you have a Back List that is languishing somewhere instead of making you money? How much can we expect in the USA for our first advance? Few agents are better placed than Mark to advise us.

19.30 – Dinner

Wednesday, June 7

Breakfast

9.30 – Assemble in the garden gazebo

9.30 – 10.45 – Obstacle Course with Conrad Williams. No exciting novel ever saw the protagonist sail through chapter after chapter without mishap or mayhem. We tackle the challenge of preventing your character from achieving his/her goal too easily without straining your reader’s suspension of disbelief.

11.00 – Morning tea and coffee with Ombretta’s home-made cakes

11.30 – 12.45 – Collecting, Collating and Recounting Your Story with Lisa Clifford  Author of best-selling memoir The Promise, Lisa Clifford explores the memoir, non-fiction, and biographical fiction genres. How to write a good story without sacrificing truth. Which details to leave in or out and how to nail a dramatic arc. Learn how to put your fragments, research, and family history into great chapters.

13.00 – Lunch

14:00  Private writing and individual sessions in the afternoon with Lisa Clifford, Conrad Williams, and Elizabeth Jennings.

15.00 – Meet mini-bus in car park.

A visit to Porciano Castle. Owned and maintained by Countess Martha Specht Corsi, Porciano Castle is a wonderful insight into medieval life and times. What is it like to own and live in a castle? Contessa Specht Corsi will tell us, as well as show us her own family museum.

At 16.30 we tour onto the Cipriani Farm to learn how to make sheep cheeses – an experience with Lorenzo Cipriani, which includes milking sheep (optional!), making ricotta and pecorino.

20.30 – Evening finishes with a light meal of the cheeses we’ve made, together with Lorenzo’s home-made prosciutto and salami.

Thursday, June 8

Breakfast

9.30 – Assemble in the garden gazebo

9.30 – 10.45 – Changes with Conrad Williams“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” The reader changes — however subtly — as the story is read; so should your characters, especially if you are writing a series of interlinked novels.

11.00 – Morning tea and coffee with Ombretta’s home-made cake

11.30 – 12.45 – Let’s twist again with Conrad Williams. Nobody wants their novel to be predictable, but is a “twist in the tail” the answer every time? We look at the advantages and disadvantages of this stock thriller trope.

13.00 – Lunch

14:00  Private writing and individual sessions in the afternoon withLisa Clifford, Conrad Williams, and Elizabeth Jennings. At 16.00 afternoon tea and Ombretta’s homemade cakes will be available in the garden.

18.00 – Live Skype with James Wills from Watson, Little. Meet for a live Skype with agent and former Secretary of the Association of Author’s Agents.  James will answer the most common questions on what the slush pile is really like, and advice for authors on how to stand out.

19.30 – Dinner

Friday, June 9

Breakfast

9.30 – Assemble in the garden gazebo

9.30 – 10.45 – Setting the Pace with Conrad WilliamsYou need to be able to switch from absorbing, involving scenes that allow your characters (and readers) space to breathe, to the more high-octane passages that cause the hairs on the back of the neck to rise. We analyse some relevant texts and experiment with a variety of narrative tricks.

11.00 – Morning tea and coffee with Ombretta’s home-made cake

11.30 – 12.45 – Scare Tactics with Conrad WilliamsIt’s impossible to avoid the presence of danger and fear in any thriller. We look at the importance of threat in the novel, and how to threat it so that it is authentic and believable.

13.00 – Lunch

14:00  Private writing and individual sessions in the afternoon withLisa Clifford, Conrad Williams, and Elizabeth Jennings. At 16.00 afternoon tea and Ombretta’s homemade cakes will be available in the garden.

18.00 – 19.00 – SKYPE Live with Martha Ashby editor of commercial women’s fiction at HarperCollins, London.

19.30 – Farewell Celebration Dinner

After dinner – Reading our work together

Saturday, June 10

Check out before 08.00AM

09.00 – Mini-bus transfer to Santa Maria Novella station