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Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt, the author of eight critically acclaimed novels, is on a mission to write strong women back into history. Her novels include the Nautilus Award-winning Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen, Daughters of the Witching Hill, The Dark Lady's Mask: A Novel of Shakespeare's Muse, and Ecstasy, about the life, loves, and music of Alma Mahler.

She has taught creative writing at the Munich Writers Workshop, at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and at the Geneva Writers Conference. Originally from Minneapolis, she currently lives near Óbidos, Portugal.

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Story building:
How to Craft a Spell-binding Plot

As writers, we must learn to put ourselves in the reader's place and learn to discern when a story is a story: that is to say, when it has a narrative thread—a plot—that winds and twists to reveal and develop a situation and characters to some satisfying end for the reader. "Plot" is not something we merely impose on our writing. We need to find the right organic form for the story we want to tell, thus developing a compelling narrative without resorting to mere formula. We need to create fully fleshed characters interacting with external events in a way that touches the reader and keeps her turning the pages.

This will be an intense 5 days hands-on seminar with lots of practical exercises. We will cover dramatic structure, narrative voice, and point of view. At the end, each participant will have completed character sketches and an outline for their work-in-progress, which will be the scaffolding for the characters to move, breathe, and develop. Participants are invited to bring up to 10 double-spaced pages of their work-in-progress for in-class review and peer discussion.


For students who wish it, the instructor will also critique an additional 15 double-spaced pages.  

For the participants of the workshop there is the exclusive option to book additional online sessions with Mary Sharrat to support you with the development of your own book.

  • Date: 03/19/2024 – 03/23/2024

  • Venue: Foz do Arelho/Portugal

  • Maximum number of participants: 8

  • Costs: 1125,00€ 

  • Registration deadline: December 31, 2023

* the price includes the seminar fees, coffee/tea/water & small snacks in between, the evening sundowner to enjoy the spectacular sunset over the Atlantic in a relaxed atmosphere, as well as a dinner together in a restaurant by the sea on the last evening.



Tue: 1.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m

Wed - Fri: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

Sat: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m

Each with a 1.5 hour lunch break - restaurants are within walking distance

In Foz do Arelho there are numerous holiday apartments & Airbnbs within walking distance.

We are happy to help with the search and with questions!

There is the possibility to book a shuttle from the airport to us, so that no rental car is necessary.

Costs around €100 per trip. If the shuttle is used by several people, the journey is correspondingly cheaper.

There is also an express bus from Lisbon to Caldas da Rainha. There we can pick you up in groups from the bus station and bring you to the apartment.

For inquiries: +351 924 433 640 (Whatsapp)

Registration form

We look forward to your registration!

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