So You Want to Write a Novel Retreat • Course 147
1 - 8 June 2024, Camós, Spain
La Torre de Dalt
Mas la Torre
17834 Camós (Girona/Gerona), Spain
Date: 1 - 8 June 2024
Length of course: 7 days
Level: Beginners to published writers
Course fee: To be determined (2023's price was £1350)
WHAT kind of novelist are you? What sort of book do you dream of writing? Have you found your subject matter? If you have not written before, how do you begin? This 7-day retreat will consist of morning workshops, one-to-one tutorials and showcase readings of your work that will give you the confidence to develop your manuscript. During this novel writing intensive, material normally covered in 6 weeks will be covered in 7 days. Sessions will include:
- six 2.5 hour morning workshops, covering topics including "Getting Started", "Characterisation", "Point of View", "Setting", "Plotting" and "Editing"
- 1-2-1 afternoon tutorials to help students begin, shape or edit their material
- techniques to start writing/develop a novel already in progress
- advice on how to arrange and expand your material
- a chance to create new work that feeds into your manuscript
- the opportunity to have your writing read and discussed
- Open Mic nights for those who wish to have their work critiqued
The serene, inspirational surroundings offer time for writing, relaxation and recreation. There is a swimming pool on the grounds exclusively for the use of students. The first workshop will be on Sunday morning.
WHO CAN COME?
Despite the course title, short story writers, creative non-fiction writers, playwrights and poets are welcome to hone their skills or use the week as a retreat.
In 2022 Spain required visitors to have been vaccinated at least two weeks before entry. The current rules are here.
The course will take place near the village of Camós in the Girona Province of Catalonia. The venue is La Torre de Dalt, a beautifully renovated 17th-century stone house surrounded by olive trees, pine and oak forests. Girona and the medieval town of Besalù are 20 minutes by car.
There are 11 en-suite single rooms. Two double rooms (2 sharing, not en suite) will become available once all singles have been booked.
IF YOU'RE A LOCAL
Contact us for prices if you want to join the course but will not need accommodation. Let us know which meals you will join us for.
In addition to omnivores, we are happy to cater for vegetarians, vegans and those on dairy- and gluten-free diets. Please provide us with information on any special dietary requirements when booking. Lee Pennington is your excellent chef.
Afternoons are free. You can write, read, swim, relax, take a siesta or an inspiring walk to Banyoles Lake which is 55 minutes away on foot.
The workshop will be open to anyone with a serious desire to write, from beginners to published novelists. You need not to have started a novel to enrol. All sessions will be conducted in a friendly, constructive atmosphere which will help you develop, plan and expand your manuscript.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Bound notebook, pen & a spare. Clipboard. Photocopies if reading on Open Mic nights.
IF YOU'VE BEEN TO LA TORRE BEFORE . . .
Students love La Torre and often come back. If you have done the novel workshop before, you are most welcome to use the week as a writing retreat. All group and private tutorials are voluntary and any writer wishing to use the time to write will be free to do so.
OPEN MIC NIGHTS
On most evenings there'll be the opportunity to share prepared work. Word limit: 1300 per session. For best feedback, you will need to provide copies which will be returned to you.
VIDEOS FROM PREVIOUS COURSES IN SPAIN
Three short videos capture the relaxing, festive and hardworking atmosphere at "Writing Retreat in Spain 2012", "Writing Retreat in Spain 2011" and the 2010 novel course, also at La Torre, "Homage to Catalonia".
IMAGES OF THE VENUE
La Torre de Dalt have their own very appealing gallery of images of the venue.
HOW TO GET THERE
Flights: RyanAir fly to Girona ("Barcelona Girona"). Train: The Eurostar/TGV now runs to Girona/Gerona. If you arrive in Girona train station, buses are beneath the train station. Take one to Banyoles which is a 30-minute ride. A taxi can then be taken to Camós which is 4 kilometres from Banyoles. You can also fly into Barcelona ("Barcelona El Prat"), then take the bus or train to Girona.
STAYING LONGER IN SPAIN?
Girona Airport is the closest to the venue. In case you'd like to stay in Girona for a day before or after the course, we shot this footage in this beautiful old town.
TRANSPORT FROM GIRONA AIRPORT
Students will be responsible for transport to/from Camós. Bus: There is a bus from Girona Airport to Girona where you transfer for a bus to Banyoles. Taxi: Taxi costs are available at Taxi Banyoles. If several students are arriving around the same time, a taxi can be shared. Nearer the time, we can put students arriving on the same flight in touch with each other.
DO I NEED A VISA?
If you are a passport holder from a country outside the EU, you will need to check if a visa is necessary to enter Spain. After Brexit, British nationals can still enter Spain for 90 days without a visa. Participants are responsible for obtaining any visas, or other travel documents, necessary to enter the country. If this applies to you, click here for further information. You are advised to travel with a passport which has a minimum of 6 months left before its expiry.
Please check this link for the current Spanish Government policy regarding COVID.
Officially, it's 5.00PM on Saturday. However, depending on the activities of the previous week, we may be able to get access earlier in the afternoon, but if you can, aim for arriving in Camós by 17.00. There will be no formal tuition on Saturday evening; it is a time to socialise and break the ice before the first formal workshop on Sunday. If several students arrive on the same flight, they might be able to share a cab from Girona. We can recommend a reliable company that will be there to take you from the airport to the door.
WHAT IS INCLUDED
- 7 nights' accommodation in a single room (most are en suite)
- breakfast, lunch and 3-course dinner, inclusive of a couple of glasses of wine each night
- course fee for workshops, tutorials and Open Mic nights
- accommodation tax
- fiesta night with live music on the final Friday
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- Travel to, from and within Spain
- one evening meal at a restaurant in Banyoles
- a small fee for paper and printing
LEAVING LA TORRE DE DALT
The course will end at approximately 11.00AM on Saturday so the house can be made ready for the next occupants.
You can pay in any of the following ways. By post: Enrolment will be confirmed on receipt of your course fee. A cheque, payable to "Creative Writing Courses", can be posted with your contact details to this address. Bank transfer: To pay a deposit or the full fee by bank transfer, ring 020 7263 0669. Online: Please click the button below to pay now. If you would prefer to pay in euros get in touch and we can email you a PayPal invoice. If you secured your place with a deposit, the balance must be paid by 12 April. Bookings made after 13 April must be paid in full. You are strongly urged to carry travel insurance. Click here for Terms & Conditions.