John Gordon Davis - Fountain Pen

The House

Set in the tranquil countryside of Andalucia, 40 minutes from Malaga Airport and 25 minutes to the glitzy Mediterranean coast, this charming, rambling, rustic Spanish farmhouse is 100 years old, with interesting nooks and crannies, updated with all the usual conveniences. The house and surrounding terrace is deeply shaded by tall trees and vines. The thick walls are mostly rough-plastered whitewashed stone, its floors polished clay tiles, the ceilings beamed. The big lawn and garden area with pool has a high wall for complete privacy. This is situated in 20,000 square metres of working agricultural land with a small river bordering the property, then hills covered by pine forest providing lovely trails for walking, cycling and horse-riding.

Learn how to write fiction…

All the world loves a story. Story-telling is a compulsion the writer feels and needs to satisfy. But whence does the story-teller get his ideas, plots and what are the best ways to put them into evocative words on paper? It is often said “There are no rules”. That is untrue: there are plenty of pitfalls and many useful, important guidelines. A degree of talent is necessary, of course, but talent can be improved. In the charming environment of a rambling old farmhouse in Spain, the would-be story-teller will learn the basics from a best-selling author in friendly classes, pointed exercises and one-to-one discussions.

The Novel Writing Course covers the essential areas below:

Plot building:
The basic structure of almost all stories, from mythology to modern times. Short stories, travel writing, poetry and magazine articles are not covered in the course.

What is your Theme?
The 12 step “Clock”
The so-called “3 Acts”: The Beginning, Middle and End
The value of Subplots - Foundations, Denouement, Genre.

A grasp of this is important whether the student already has a developed plot in mind or is searching for one.

Character Building:
Round and flat characters and archetypes.
Using real life characters - libel.
Invention of characters.
Backstories and flashbacks.
Points of view: Using first person, third person, multi-person, “Character = Plot”? or “Plot = Character”? - which comes first ?

Character + Place+ Conflict = Plot ?
Place, Setting and Time:
Real or invented - Research.
”Character + place = Plot” ?;
The value of a Love element in story-telling.
Handling sex - Emotions.
Character + Place + Conflict + Love = Plot?
The role and structure – realism – relevance to Plot.
Mood and Pacing:
Your “dramatic eye” – flow and tone - suspense.
Practical Advice:
Draft after draft - The patchwork quilt.
“Letting it all hang out” - “Creative Conceit”.

A concluding seminar will be given by Frank Fehmers. He has been a book publisher for 40 years and licensed his titles into 42 languages. Frank will explain the miseries and pitfalls awaiting you with regard to getting your book published, and give sound advice.

Classes in these over-lapping subjects, delivered roughly in this sequence, will be held in the mornings, accompanied by questions and group discussions. At the end of each morning session exercises will be set.

In the afternoons one-on-one discussions will be offered between individual students and John Gordon Davis – which others may attend if agreeable all round. Generally, afternoons are for individuals to work on their writing or exercises.

Group discussions can continue during meals and sociable times. (Writers are individualists and a free, self-serve bar is open 24/7.)

Students are asked not to bring their pre-existing work for editorial advice as there will be no time for this. However, separate arrangements may be made for John Gordon Davis to consider and evaluate such work at a later date for a separate fee.



Tuition, accommodation at Finca la Palmera, all meals, courtesy self-serve bar at all times. Spouses and partners (SAPs), who do not attend classes, are charged half-price.

Accommodation consists of 6 double rooms – 4 of which have bathrooms en suite - for students sharing with their SAP. Students without a SAP may have to share with another SAP-less student, in which case the fee is reduced to GBP 680 per student. All rooms are roughly equal size except for the Tower Room which has double-bunkbeds. Rooms will be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis.

Meals consist of continental breakfast, lunch will be regional Spanish cold meats, cheeses and salads, dinner will be a casserole.

Boozing, smoking, singing, dancing is optional – provided you don´t disturb others.

SAPs can go horse-riding, walk in nearby forest, play golf and tennis nearby, sight-see to the nearby Mediterranean beaches and fleshpots, take tours to historic sites, or goof-off around our pool. Art classes in the nearby historic village of Mijas are available. Spanish Flamenco dancing, guitar playing and singing, plus bullfighting (Sundays only) are also available. All outside activities are at guests´ expense.


Full-time students for the 5 day course, including full board, lodging and booze: GBP 800
Full time spouses or partners (non-students): GBP 400, including full board, lodging, booze.
Full-time students sharing accommodation: GBP 680 each, including full board, lodging, booze.
Day students, including lunch and booze: GBP 400


5th-11th October, 2014