​Image courtesy Dietmar Temps

​Image courtesy Dietmar Temps

What lies at the foundation of successful stories?

Compelling characters, a story that fairly whizzes along, an opening that intrigues or charms?

Sure, they all play a part. But concealed within lies the key to them all – the answer to the eternal enigma of what makes a piece of writing special.

That’s the theme of our weekend of mutual exploration. Intrigued? We hope so.  Otherwise, what’s the point of a cliffhanger?

You’ll learn some essential truths about writing. And you’ll also get a lot of writing done.

Novelist Jo-Anne Richards and script writer Richard Beynon will lead participants through a series of writing exercises designed to expand creativity and illuminate the secrets to great writing.

The course will inspire fiction and non-fiction writers, film and television writers, and anyone who is interested in trying their hand at writing as well as active readers passionate about expanding their reading pleasures.

DATE: 14 and 15 March 2015

VENUE: Highlands Country House, 36 Tennant Road, Upper Kenilworth, Cape Town

COST: R1995 – includes 2 x lunches, workshop refreshments and 2 day non-residential writing course


Saturday  morning session: The theme of the weekend is conflict -the engine that drives all narrative. Literary conflict comes in an infinite variety of guises. We explore these in depth with examples from books and films. We consider what kicks conflict into play – and end with an exercise designed to sharpen your new-found skills.

Saturday afternoon session: We examine the scene -the smallest dramatic unit -considering how best to structure it, how to begin, and how to exit from it.

Again we do so against the benchmark of a number of examples – and end the session with an exercise

Sunday morning session: We look at the best ways of exploring conflict on the page. We focus on the all-important issue of showing how the conflict plays out. We draw on graphic examples from Prime Suspect, There Will Be Blood, The Wire, and Witness. We consider the use of telling detail.

Sunday afternoon session: A short session after lunch consists of a brief recapitulation of everything we’ve learned over the weekend. An exercise which brings together all the skills and techniques we’ve explored ends the course.

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