Just back from a wonderful writing holiday with Lois and Bill Breckon at The Watermill Posara in Tuscany Italy.

They provide aSAM_0048SAM_0046SAM_0049SAM_0052 variety of courses (scriptwriting, crime writing, romance writing, painting, etc), but the one I attended was the crime writing course with tutor, best selling author Meg Gardiner (that’s Meg, second from left).

There were only seven people on the course, which meant there was time for plenty of individual attention. Last I heard, just before I left for home, was that Meg was booked again for the course in 2014. so if you’re interested – get booking!

Although I’ve already had twenty novels published (eighteen crime), I’ve never been any higher than midlist, so I booked the course in order  to improve my craft and rise up those old bestseller lists.

Meg certainly put us through our paces. We learned about outlining, story structure,  beginnings, middles and endings, dialogue, synopses, pitches to agents, flashbacks, the arc of SAM_0051the story, characterisation (protagonist antagonist and secondary characters), strategies for revision, the editing process and what, specifically, to look out for when rewriting. Phew! I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed my SAM_0047week.

I thought the course was tremendous value for money at costs 1381063269295varying from around £1,300 to £1,400, depending on your accommodation choice.  You pay for your own fllight. I booked with Ryanair at around £100 return with another £69 for airport parking. The cost includes three meals a day, plus wine and other alcoholic SAM_0048and SAM_0055non-alcoholic drinks. It also includes outings. Our group had trips to the medieaval town of Lucca and a meal at a wonderful mountain-top restaurant. You’ll be picked up at Pisa Airport and dropped off  there for the return journey at no extra cost. Bill, who drove two of us, even bought us a cappuccino and a croissant!

Thanks, Meg. You’re a terrific teacher! And thanks to Lois and Bill for organising it so that it all ran like clockwork.

SAM_0053Here’s the website: SAM_0054www.watermill.net