Writing in Paradise August 2012

Published : Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | Label:

This August (18 to 25), I’m reprising the creative writing masterclass, “A Dream With A Pen in its Hand”, I ran at Daku Resort in Fiji last year.

I’m posting below (our host) Delia Rothnie-Jones’s description and outline of the course. For what we got up to last time:  http://dakuresort.com/blog/creative-writing-retreat-mark-tredinnick/

A Dream With a Pen in its Hand
A Masterclass in Creative Writing
18 – 25 August 2012

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The course

This inspiring and practical masterclass will show you ways, and give you time, to start (and keep) writing the stories or poems that only you can write. “Creative writing,” said E B White, “is the Self escaping onto the paper.” Let your Self escape here in paradise, and let Mark help you get it down, memorably, as he leads his second retreat in Fiji (look at an account of his first one at http://dakuresort.com/blog/creative-writing-retreat-mark-tredinnick/)

Mark’s approach combines instruction—especially on technique and craft—with free-flowing discussion, reading of exemplary pieces of copy, and in-class and out of class writing exercises. Mark won the world’s biggest poetry prize last year, the Montreal Prize, and his many works of prose and poetry (The Blue Plateau and Fire Diary, in particular) are much awarded. In this masterclass, Mark’s teaching arises out of the craft he has mastered over the years. It’s an interaction between the experienced practitioner (Mark) and accomplished participants (that’s you ). And as a masterclass, there is an emphasis on deep immersion, and in Mark’s particular class, a balance of inspiration, practice, free-wheeling discussion, rigour of thought, and spiritual challenge.

Good writing sounds like someone speaking in a voice truer than the voice they use for gossip and scolding—it sounds like someone in particular, talking to someone they love about something they know well. Writing well asks you to master the divine dichotomy—the meridian you hold between fierce attentiveness and reckless abandon. Learn more about that in the safety of the workshop, within the heavenly calm of this retreat.

In creative writing, what you write about matters much less than how you do the telling. Voice, in other words, is just about everything in a novel or a short, a poem or a memoir or an essay; the narrative is just the task that gets the writer to the table; the tale’s the vessel that floats the telling. Though of course the tale (the plot, the topic, the setting) counts, it’s the telling the reader really reads, and it’s the telling that lasts. To tell you what a good book is about is to tell you next to nothing about the book. What lasts is everything not reducible to the narrative.

Good writing is talk tidied. Writing is talking heightened by art and set down on paper. Literature is divine chatter—the god in you talking with the god in me.

So, to write well is to talk like someone in particular (you way down deep); it is to tell a story the way that only you can tell it. But, curiously, one’s own voice doesn’t come easy; naturalness is hard work. How you get your authentic voice down on paper—this is where technique comes in. Sentence craft, rhythm, and the other disciplines of grace: this is what, like all Mark’s teaching, this masterclass focuses on.

The retreat is open to writers of all levels, although it assumes that everyone will have done at least some creative writing before. It looks at creative writing of all kinds, short and long fiction, poetry, memoir and narrative nonfiction. The program includes five half-day sessions and plenty of time for writing, reading, reflection and consultation with Mark. The workshop is based on Mark’s acclaimed and bestselling guide The Little Red Writing Book, and each session explores ideas and practices that help writers with creativity, composition, style, plotting, planning, editing and publishing their work.  Each day, you’ll also have a chance to share pieces of writing you’ve composed overnight, thoughts about your writing progress and your responses to the daily readings. 

And we’ll be dreaming. “Writing”, Mark wrote in his poem ‘Things I’m Trying to Believe’, “is dreaming with a pen in its hand”. So bring your pen, and let this magical place take you back to your own dreaming place, your self way down deep—the place where the writing rises—and let Mark help you get your dreaming down on paper.

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Course structure

Day one: All Good Things Come by Grace, and Grace Comes by Art, and Art Does Not Come Easy—on what writing really is, on cliché-busting, originality, and the creative disciplines

Day two: Write What You Don’t Know (about what you do know)—on what to write about and how

Day three: Shortcuts to Your Writing Self—on tricks and tools and techniques for writing memorably

Day four: Wild Mind: Tidy Mind—on planning, cohesion, structure and form

Day five: The Art of Silence—on letting the writing come, on editing, unwriting, finishing

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Course teacher
For ten years Mark was a book publisher and, before that, a lawyer. He lives and writes in the Southern Highlands, southwest of Sydney, where he runs the Cowshed Classes. Check him out at http://www.marktredinnick.com.

MARK TREDINNICK is an acclaimed poet and essayist, and a much-loved writing teacher. His books include Fire Diary (2010), The Blue Plateau: A Landscape Memoir (2009), The Land’s Wild Music (2005), and the bestselling writing guides, The Little Red Writing Book (2006) and The Little Green Grammar Book (2008).

The Blue Plateau was shortlisted in 2010 for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards; Fire Diary won the WA Premier’s Book Prize. Mark’s other honours include the Montreal Poetry Prize, the Calibre Essay Prize, the Blake Poetry Prize, and the Newcastle Poetry Prize, and his work has been published in The Best Australian Poems and The Best Australian Essays.

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Program
The course dates are Saturday 11 to Saturday 18, with both Saturdays as travel days. The workshop runs over six days. We’ll run workshops on five mornings with one free day. You get the afternoons off to wander and read and write and talk with Mark about your writing.
Saturday 11 July
Leave Sydney, arrive Nadi. Local flight to Savusavu.
6.00pm: Drinks and welcome.
Sunday 12 July
9.00am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
2.00pm – 2.30pm: Mentoring
Afternoon free
7:00pm: Dinner
Monday 13 July
9.00am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
2.00pm – 2.30pm: Mentoring (1 session)
Afternoon visit to Savusavu
Tuesday 14 July
9.00am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
2.00pm – 2.30pm: Mentoring (1 session)
Afternoon: Beach outing
Wednesday 15 July
9.00am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
2.00pm – 3.00pm: Mentoring (2 sessions)
Afternoon free
Thursday 16 July
9.00am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
2.00pm – 3.00pm: Mentoring (2 sessions)
Afternoon free
6.00pm: Drinks and dinner at Savusavu Yacht Club
Friday 17 July
9.00am – 12.30pm: Workshop
1.00pm: Lunch
2.00pm – 3.00pm: Mentoring (2 sessions)
3.30pm – 5.30pm: Village visit and meke (traditional dance)
Saturday 18 July
Return to Nadi and on home

Cost of course:
$2980 per person twin share including flight from Sydney / Brisbane
$350 single supplement

Program Includes
Return domestic flight from Nadi to Savusavu.
Return airport transfers from Savusavu to Daku Resort.
7 nights accommodation at Daku Resort in traditional bures with private facilities.
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are provided.
Course fees.
Lectures, excursions as indicated.

Program Excludes
Comprehensive Travel Insurance.
Optional activities not listed on the program
Costs of a personal nature eg laundry, massages, private trips
Meals taken in transit at the airport

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