Our May retreat at Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire took place last weekend. 10 writers spent four days in glorious sunshine in an inspiring and creative environment working on their novels and getting some help and advice from our guest tutors and BPA editors Sara and Emma.
The highlight of the weekend was an afternoon workshop on Structure and Plot with Louise Doughty, award winning author of nine novels including Apple Tree Yard. Using her sixth novel Whatever You Love as a worked example, Louise illustrated that plot is story and explained the importance of structure in telling the story. During the evening Q and A she answered many questions on writing technique as well as the business of being an author. After dinner she read from her new crime thriller Platform Seven which will be published by Faber on August 22. The ghostly novel is about two mysterious deaths at Peterborough station.
Literary agent Caroline Wood and publisher Selina Walker performed a double act on Sunday with insights into the world of publishing. Their explanations on the differences between commercial and literary fiction were particularly helpful and also their take on trends in publishing and how various genres such as up lit are selling at the moment. Caroline gave some key advice for submitting to agents and explained what to do and what not to do during the submission process.
Our next retreat for both published and unpublished writers is October 14 – 18 eat Grendon Court in Herefordshire. Guest tutors to be confirmed soon. Please check the website for details and get in touch if you are interested.