Workshop retreat in Wales

Well, that was another adventure. Not really getting there, but leaving. I thought they’d keep me hostage in Wales until the sun came back and I could be able to properly visit Harlech castle (which would have probably meant until spring ;-))! 😀 But this will be the topic of the next post – the traveling hassles, I mean.

The venue was neat, stables turned to house with a big living room with very comfy sofas – considering I spent indoors most of the week, it was a very important feature! 😉 I traveled from London with my roommate Daphne and we met with Jan Fortune Wood (the workshop runner) and Becky and settled in.  Sort of. For the first time in my life I 1) locked a trolley on a train (I usually lock luggages only on planes) and 2) locked the key INSIDE the trolley (one of those neat TSR-approved locks – TSR has keys to them, I didn’t). So I had to cut the trolley zip open, fish for the key and open it. How to ruin a brand new 40euros trolley. More on this later.

The morning after Gill came in, and later in the week Karen. Mornings were spent with writing exercised and individual workshops. I gave the first (rewritten) chapter of Air, which was discussed by all on Tuesday. Considering the other lovely ladies were mostly poets, they were very nice about my fantasy outlet. Being the writer that I am, I refuse to read aloud, so Jan and Karen volunteered to do it for me – how sweet! 😀

Afternoons were for one-on-one workshops and mentoring with Jan. I found my copy-editor for Air, and she promised to help with my book blurb, so I’m very happy. We also had readings after dinner once or twice, which was fun.

The only time I left the house was to get to Harlech (the town) on Monday to buy needle and thread. The castle was closing, so we couldn’t visit it, and as I kept hoping for a not-rainy-not-windy day, I ended up not visiting it – but Gill and Daphne went the day after and bought me the guide. So I sewed the zip of the trolley and managed to close it again – and in spite of me not being so good with needle and thread, it held until I got back home. I will have to decide if I get rid of it or keep it a little longer – the Stitched Trolley has now a name, haha! 😀

I also had time to read, so I went through 2 novels in 5 days – mine and “Lady of the Glen” by Jennifer Robertson (the link doesn’t give the edition I have, though…). The latter is historical romance, so it was useful to get into the mindset of historical novels. It’s set in 17th century Scotland when the Mc Donalds of Glencoe were slaughtered for almost no reason. You can google history if you wish so. I knew it was historical romance as the two protagonists meet in chapter one, even if she’s still a child and it takes them literally years to get together (mostly because they’re from warring clans, Campbell vs. McDonald, so it’s just another Romeo&Juliet story – or not?).

What was harder for me was getting the dialogues. I dinna ken what to make of those strange words at first. Och, aye, I understood the meaning, but kept struggling with them. But the end of the book I got them, though, so it wasn’t that bad. I dinna ken if I’ll ever be able to do something like that, though. I willna. Now way. But I promise I’ll try to keep the 21st century slang out of my historical dialogs! 😉 The sex quantity was just right, and the same I plan on having in mine… although it’s NOT historical romance (they CANNA meet in the first chapter as they live quite apart, haha)! 😉

I’ll leave you with my exercises on metaphors:

The open air market in the summer / The streets at rush hour.

busy ants running errands.


The sight of Earth from space,

blue marble on a black playground.

(the ladies hadn’t seen Men in Black, but I did… not very original, I know! ;-))

Leave a comment


  1. wow…the cottage looks cozy and about just write for a writer(s). Are you allowed to share the details of the workshop exercises?

    lol on the trolley mishap

    I’m surprised none of them watched MiB – amazing movie!


    • well, it was mostly fast writing (like for 10-15 minutes) and as I used those exercises to write either scenes from the upcoming historical novel (albeit relying on memory, as I haven’t looked at my notes in two years…) or for SKYBAND the novel (to be written when I finish the graphic novel), I don’t know. It’s very short pieces anyway, but if I get more requests, I’ll post them next week! 😉


  2. Karen Harvey

     /  27/11/2010

    Well I really enjoyed being able to join the course later with all you lovely ladies. Jan is a great teacher and facilitator and the accomodation was really gorgeous wasn’t it. I really enjoyed your company, I hope you didn’t mind being outnumbered by poets but I enjoyed listening to your amazing writng.

    I enjoying finding my way round this blg.

    Take care,



    • No, I didn’t mind being outnumbered by poets… and my very first post is a “poem” I wrote at another workshop with Jan in Spain, so… sometimes I do try it, I just don’t feel it’s my best talent! 😉
      Check the drawings for Air on my Facebook Author page (see side-bar)! 😀
      And welcome…



Leave a comment, I won't bite! Pretty please?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: