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Breakthrough Writing with Jan Cornall 8 – 15 March 2014

End of summer special $1650

Mapping out an idea

Mapping out an idea

Jan welcomes writers of all abilities. Her workshop in 2013 contained the entire spectrum of writers from the complete beginner to a couple of published authors.

Have a look at what the writers on that week said about it at the blog: for instance,  published author Margo Lanagan: I came here for the companionship of other writers, and to shake my mind and my writing loose from their usual patterns by listening to other people’s stories and discussing their work and my own. I found affirmation in what I was writing, and that lifting of spirits that happens when you’re being transported by someone else’s writing, whether halting first draft or polished near-done chapter.

And here’s beginning writer Dinny Laufenboek: All too conscious of being a complete novice as far as writing fiction was concerned, I took the precaution of emailing Daku to ensure that the presence of a wannabe-story teller starting from scratch would not hinder the flow of ideas to/from more experienced workshop participants. “No problem”, the answer came back from Jan.  And here’s the thing – it wasn’t!  It would be difficult for me to pinpoint what triggered my “breakthrough”  but my experience truly was just as promised by the Workshop write-up i.e. Jan doing what she’s so good at: focussing on what’s swirling around in your mind, accessing it and getting it down on paper in your own voice.  And that’s what happened!  My turn to read in the evening, I was told at the morning’s workshop session – so I went back to my room and I wrote.   And I wrote again.  And again.  And haven’t stopped since!

Breakthrough writing is a week’s creative writing retreat that will help you break through whatever barriers stand between you and your writing project: lack of confidence, procrastination, structure, not knowing what it’s all about. This is a week when you will be guided towards focussing on what’s swirling around in your mind, accessing it and getting it down on paper in your own voice. As any writer knows, none of this is easy – and all of it is essential.

Workshops take place every morning and participants are expected to use some of their time in the afternoon to complete specific writing goals. During the workshops, we’ll revise the essential elements of the writer’s craft, and you’ll have a chance to read, critique and receive feedback on any aspect of your writing or writing process. Begin a new work, refresh a tired old draft or come as you are. Jan uses the principles of the course to work with all genres including scripts, poetry and non-fiction with the emphasis on breaking new ground in your chosen writing form.

This workshop takes place in March, which is the end of summer in Fiji and can still be hot and humid – but this end of summer price is a real low-season bargain which should really take the heat out of your wallet.

A writing workshop is a precious opportunity to forget all your daily responsibilities and be greedy with your writing time. No work; no cooking or shopping – just pens, paper, inspirational teaching and a group of others who share the passion.

Then spend the afternoons relaxing or exploring the island – snorkeling the reef, hiking up the mountain, visiting a local village, having a spa massage or reading by the pool.

Throughout this week you have the opportunity to be a serious writer and show yourself and others just what you are capable of. The lab concludes with celebration drinks and readings.

Jan’s YouTube video of the week:


Cost of course

$1650 per person twin share
$300 single room supplement
The course runs for 6 days, and includes workshops, local excursions and free time.

For enquiries please fill in our contact form or call (02) 8094 1613 or email
To make a booking go to our booking form.

Program Includes

  • 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

  • Travel.
  • 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

Jan Cornall - Writing Workshops in FijiJan Cornall is a highly experienced teacher, renowned for motivating writers in all genres to set and complete writing goals while instructing them in essential writer’s craft. Participants in past workshops include many who go on to publish. First time author Marguerite Van Geldermalsen, Married to A Bedouin, received invaluable help from Jan’s workshops. Margo Lanagan, award winning fantasy writer wrote her novel, Tender Morsels, with the support of Jan’s Draft Buster workshops, as well as her novella Sea Hearts, the winner of the 2010 World Fantasy Awards.

Others who have benefited include : Margaret Wilcox, Gone (Penguin); Anne Lovell, Connie’s Secret (Allen & Unwin); Catherine Therese, The Weight Of Silence (Hachette Livre); Margaret Stevenson Meere, The Child in The Lotus (Rockpool); Walter Mason, Destination Saigon (Allen & Unwin); Yvonne Louis, Brush with Mondrian (Murdoch); and Mary Delahunty, Public Life, Private Grief (Hardie Grant).

She has also written over 15 produced plays and musicals, a feature film (Talk 1994), a novel (Take me to Paradise, 2006) and three CD’s of songs. Jan’s cabaret musical, Failing In Love Again, (with pianist Elizabeth Drake), was a cult hit of the comedy/cabaret revival in the early 80’s when Jan performed alongside Jeannie Lewis, Margaret Roadknight, Robyn Archer, Wendy Harmer and Gretel Killeen.


Day 1:
Arrive : Welcome ceremony and dinner.

Day 2:
10.00am – 1.00pm: Workshop – Breaking Through to the Essence of Your Writing.
Setting goals, mapping the territory, making a plan, hunting and gathering. Dreaming up descriptive detail, creating the atmosphere of your writing.
6.00pm –7.00pm:  Reading and feedback
7.00pm: Dinner

Day 3:
10.00am – 1.00pm: Workshop – Breaking Out of Old Habits.
Dealing with the negative critic, procrastination, avoidance addiction, transforming obstacles into descriptive imagery, character and plot.
Afternoon: Visit to Savusavu town
6.00pm –7.00pm:   Reading and feedback
7.00pm: Dinner

Day 4:
10.00am – 1.00pm: Workshop – Breaking Into Voice.
Rediscovering your writer’s voice, developing its character, tone and rhythm, through the building blocks of sentence, paragraph, scene, chapter, story.
Afternoon: Beach outing
6.00pm –7.00pm:   Reading and feedback
7.00pm: Dinner

Day 5:
10.00am – 1.00pm: Workshop – Breaking It Down.
Effective editing, busting bad writing habits, going for the jugular, ensuring the impact of our writing with pace, style, rhythm, timing.
6.00pm –7.00pm:   Reading and feedback
7.00pm: Dinner

Day 6:
10.00am – 1.00pm: Workshop – Breaking Into a Run
Finding dramatic tension in action, plot, juxtaposition and opposition. Foreshadowing and suspense techniques, character development,  emotional subtext, subplots and storyline.
5.00pm –6.00pm:   Reading and feedback
6.30pm: Drinks at Savusavu Yacht Club. Informal dinner at Daku

Day 7:
10.00am – 1.00pm: Workshop -  Breaking Out of The Mould
Enhancing the unique qualities of your writing, finding unity and cohesiveness, experimenting with form. Setting future writing goals, discussing publishing options.
4.30pm – 5.30pm: Village visit and meke (traditional dance)
Final dinner and readings and celebratory drinks

Day 8:
Return home.