Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Greetings from Tuscany

My apartment - spot the laptop

I’m sitting in my apartment at the Watermill.  Outside the sky is blue and the trees are just stirring in the breeze.  My window is open and I can hear the sound of the mill race below.  The first night, the ceaseless sound of rushing water kept me awake, but now it feels very peaceful.  There s jus the water and the clang of the church bell marking the half hour.   

It’s Wednesday, and a day off from the rigours of the course.  Breakfast at 9.00, a session 10.00 to 1.00, followed by a delicious lunch, and afternoon writing and then a feedback session between 5.00 and 6.00, before gathering again for drinks under the pergola and another fabulous meal.  The food is cooked by a succession of local ladies, I gather, and has been absolutely wonderful.  Every day I think, “ooh, that was the best pasta ever”, only to be forced to reconsider the next day.  Last night for a first course we had a sublime risotto, creamy and golden, with tiny pieces of courgette ... my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  As you can tell, it’s been tough.

Hard at work

We’re a small group, but that’s been working very well.  This course is about writing commercial/genre fiction rather than just romance, and everyone is writing something different, which is great.  So far we’ve considered the three key questions to ask yourself before you start writing anything:  WHY am I writing?  WHAT – exactly – do I want to write?  and HOW am I going to write.  We’ve looked at getting and developing ideas, character and conflict, motivation (why, why, why ... and why not?) and how to structure a story. 

And we’ve had a trip to the local town, Fivizzano,  for a wander round the market followed by coffee and a picnic in the shade of some fine plane trees overlooking the valley.  Lovely. 

Still to come: first pages, scenes, dialogue and process, including writing a synopsis and submitting a manuscript, but I expect I will be able to stagger through the rest of the week.  This is the first time I’ve tried updating the blog while I’m away - not entirely sure it’s a good precedent to set, but I’m going to have a go, so we’ll see if it works. 

The Watermill at Posara

View from my bedroom window


  1. Wow, I'd go just for the simplicity of that room. Must be wonderful working there. The whole place looks perfect. Enjoy the rest of the time!

  2. Have fun in Tuscany and i love the views and the photographs!!!