It is always a joy to be at Chez Castillon. Next course up – could it be for you? – Write and Sell Short Stories. Write a short story for Woman’s Weekly – and get personal feedback from their fiction editor – or a prize-grabbing entry for a competition.
To give you a flavour of what to expect I’d like to share a post from Lynne Shelby, winner of the Accent Press and Woman magazine novel competition who blogged about her experience at Chez Castillon, in May. You can read the original – and find out more about the fabulous venue – at http://www.chez-castillon.com/437/champagne-de-romance-at-chez-castillon.
It’s market day in the small French town of Castillon de Bataille. Writer’s notebook and camera in hand, I edge through the crowds gathered around stalls selling fish and meat, fresh herbs and spices, and dresses fluttering in the breeze like brightly coloured flags. Later, I am to write an atmospheric description of the market through the eyes of a character in my WIP.
I am spending a week at a writers’ retreat at beautiful Chez Castillon, part of my prize for winning the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition with my debut novel French Kissing (I’m so excited that it’s now available on from Accent Press!)
Days at Chez Castillon begin with a breakfast of fresh croissants and baguettes from the local boulangerie (I could get used to this!). Then I and my fellow writing students, Sue, Mary, Helen and Peter, spend the morning in the “classroom” with our inspiring and insightful (and patient!) tutor, Jane Wenham-Jones.
Janie and Mickey who run Chez Castillon are wonderful hosts. As well as being a writer (her novel, Life’s A Drag, is published by Accent Press), Janie is a superb cook, and for lunch and dinner, all the students, and the writers in residence, Katie Fforde, Judy Astley, Catherine Jones (writing as Fiona Field), Jo Thomas and Clare Mackintosh, gather in the dining room for delicious food, fabulous wine and much laughter (I do like being a writer!).
Today, after lunch, best-selling novelist, Katie Fforde, one of the judges of the Accent Press and Woman Writing Competition, helps me with my WIP. I sit by the pool in the sun, holding my breath while she reads my work, and I’m so thrilled and delighted when she likes it. She very generously shares her expertise and knowledge, and gives me some invaluable advice on how to sort out my plot.
Also at Chez Castillon this week is David Headley of DHH Literary Agency. Jane helps me, Sue, Mary, Helen and Peter work on the pitches for our books, which we then present to David for feedback. I’m very encouraged by his appreciative interest in my WIP. It’s such a great opportunity to hear what a top literary agent looks for in a submission and to learn a little more about publishing.
My first visit to Chez Castillon goes all too fast. It’s been an inspiring and exhilarating week of writing, with great food, great wine, and above all great company – and so much fun. And what better way to toast a gathering of writers that includes romantic novelists than with Champagne de Romance? Santé.
If you’d like to be inspired by the beautiful Chez Castillon and its writers in residence, why not join bestselling novelist and tutor Jane Wenham-Jones in October?
The following courses are held at Chez Castillion in the beautiful Dordogne region of south-west France. Places are limited so do book early.
Write And Sell Short Stories
- Date: Saturday 3rd to Friday 9th October 2015
- Host: Jane Wenham-Jones
- Venue: Chez Castillon, 7 Rue Victor Hugo, 33350 Castillon-la-Bataille, France – see http://www.chez-castillon.com/course/write-and-sell-short-storiesoct-2015.
- Cost: £875 (pounds) per person including accommodation and food. Excluding flights and transfers.
- Details: This practical, five day course will introduce you to the craft of writing successful short stories for competition entry and / or the women’s magazine market. Sessions will cover generating ideas, matching your style to the market, preparing for publication and how to approach an editor. Students will receive guidelines for paying markets and will aim to complete the course with a finished story which they will be helped to submit to a suitable publication. Suitable for all levels from beginner to experienced writers. Day students welcome – ask for details.
Daily Timetable for the October course:
- A 3-hour workshop
- 3 hours of personal writing time in the afternoon
- 1-1.5 hours of group/one-to-one chat, feedback, editing, group critique & support
Make this the year you start writing your memoirs
- Date: January 2016 (dates t.b.a.).
- Venue: Chez Castillon, 7 Rue Victor Hugo, 33350 Castillon-la-Bataille, France – see http://www.chez-castillon.com/course/test-writing-course for the 2014 equivalent.
- Cost: t.b.a.
- Course description: As a precious gift to leave the family, for publication or just to take a joyful trip down memory lane, more and more people are choosing to record the highs and lows of their life experience for future generations to learn from and enjoy. With some memoirs famously becoming bestsellers! Whether you’ve had an inspiring career, a challenging personal life, known great joy or impossible sadness, travelled or met a fascinating cast of characters along the way, everyone has a story to tell. This course will help you evoke your memories, and bring them to life in readable form for your own satisfaction, your relatives’ or – who knows – a much wider audience….
- Thursday evening: Welcome drinks, canapes and talk: Getting Started as a Writer…
- Friday to Sunday: Morning coffee & croissants, Three hour group workshop, Two-course lunch and chat with special farewell lunch and feedback session on Sunday. There will be also be time for individual consultation and advice will be available on self-publication if wished.
- Sterling price and/or Dinner, Bed & Breakfast rate available on request.
For more information on any of these courses, see www.chez-castillon.com.