Creative Writing Retreat at Rancho Las Cascadas

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A Specialist Week of tutoring in Writing for Young People (to include writing for children and young adults).

November 12 –19, 2016

@ Rancho Las Cascadas –

Fiction for young people often uses wild places and natural settings in innovative and evocative ways. What better place to explore this powerful combination than in the beautiful and luxurious Rancho Las Cascadas … complete with waterfalls, stunning natural vistas, authentic Mexican villages, and even wonderful local creole horses! How could you not want to write stories?

Join award-winning, bestselling and groundbreaking authors Melvin Burgess and Lucy Christopher in discovering what it takes to write new and original fiction for a younger audience.

Through exercises, workshops, lectures, one-on-one tutorials, fieldwork and “serious play” in this amazing setting, Melvin and Lucy will introduce some of the key components for beginning, or developing work, for a young audience. They will discuss how to find an original voice, how to push boundaries, as well as how basic elements such as character, setting and plot can enliven and deepen a creative piece. Come prepared to experiment, begin or develop new work, and open your mind to this exciting and innovative area of fiction.


This course is suitable for writers both new to the discipline of Writing for Young People, as well as writers who want to work and develop existing work in this field. Depending on the ability, and desires, of the group, Melvin and Lucy may also conduct some teaching and research activities in the field, perhaps even on horseback! This will be a specialist, intense and hugely enjoyable course taught with fun and care and absolutely tailored to the group’s needs.

As well as the writing course itself, guests will be able to enjoy as much horse riding as they wish (and can fit in). There is a lovely pool and hot tub (overlooking the waterfall), and there will be yoga classes on request (of three guests or more).  Delicious food, drink and alcohol (including lovingly-prepared cocktails) all come as standard too. Each day there will be several hours put aside for guests to do with as they please – write, ride, swim, walk to a local village, or just relax and be inspired.


COST will be $2175 all-inclusive for seven nights (all group and individual writing tuition, guest lectures, all food and drink and all alcohol, luxury accommodation in a private room, airport transfers, and all horse-riding and yoga)

Email Jenny at the Rancho to book your stay


A typical day could consist of:

  • 8:00 – 9:00 am: Breakfast on the Terrace
  • 9:30 am – 12:30/1:00 pm:  Morning Creative Writing Workshop – This could be on character, voice, setting, research, constraints of writing for young people, dialogue etc.
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm: Lunch beside the waterfall
  • 2:00 – 7:00 pm: Individual Tutorial Slot with the Creative Writing Tutor/s and/or Free Time for writing stories, riding horses, doing yoga, relaxing by the pool, excursion to a local village, getting inspired etc. Tutor/s may also join in an afternoon ride with the students if time permits
  • 7:00 pm: Mexican Dinner
  • After Dinner: Evening Talk and/or Reading


July 27, 2016 in General, Stolen, Teaching, The Killing Woods, Writing, Writing Retreat by

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Riding And Writing At The Rancho – The Perfect Combination!



I came to Rancho Las Cascadas by accident. I had been invited to speak at the Guadalajara International Bookfair and I was looking for somewhere idyllic to spend a few days afterwards. I wanted rejuvenation and a bit of ‘soul-time’. Perhaps a beachside yoga retreat would revive me out of my current writer’s block; perhaps I could, even, return to UK winter with a tan.

Still, I hesitated to book. Maybe that particular ocean in front of that particular yoga retreat wasn’t quite the right inspiration for my novel-in-progress. Perhaps the yoga guests on the hotel’s website didn’t look too friendly? Maybe I could find a yoga retreat where I could ride a horse, too?

I typed many combinations into trusty Google. Horse yoga in Mexico yielded some particularly …ah … interesting results, though none returned as a combined yoga and riding retreat. Certainly, none of the retreats I discovered combined yoga, riding AND creative writing. Nevertheless, one website was persistent. Over and over again, the website for Rancho Las Cascadas begged me to consider it. But this place was all wrong, wasn’t it? It had no rejuvenating ocean waves, no barefoot peaceful yogis, and how would I find time for inspiration if I were gallivanting on horseback all day?


But, hey…the opening photo on their website looked like it was on a beach, sort of. And the guests in their photos looked friendly at least. And there were HORSES. Horses that looked exceedingly gorgeous from their photos no less.

I sent a cautious email to Jenny, the Rancho’s manager. She replied within minutes, almost beaming with smiles through the printed words. It took me about a day to change my plans from the Mexican Riveria to a Mexican Rancho.

I am so glad I did.

Not only did I find perfect rejuvenation and ‘soul-time’ at Rancho Las Cascadas, I found what I’d been searching for – inspiration and, yes, even time to write. Despite riding each day during the six days I was there, and even fitting in two wonderful yoga classes (yes, they DID do yoga and riding at the same place it seemed!), I wrote every day. I returned to the UK with half a story written for children about a wild horse, as well as a novel idea about horses. Now, I wonder where I got that inspiration?



The Rancho really is the perfect place to write – there is sunshine, smiles, peace, the calm of horses, and time to explore. However, best of all, I also returned with a wonderful idea for teaching. It was in the lazy haze after a yoga class that I spoke to Jenny about the possibility of running a Creative Writing Retreat at the Rancho. As always, Jenny was positive and helpful. Why not, she said, that would be fabulous!

And why not, indeed!

So, I’m doing it. And I cannot wait. Because, what really could be better than sunshine, writing books, riding horses and, yes, even a little yoga!

Watch this space for details about the Creative Writing Retreat I plan to hold at the magical Rancho Las Cascadas from November 12 -19, 2016.

If you’re interested, let Jenny know ( 

For more info on the Rancho –

June 3, 2016 in General, Lucy Speaks, Teaching, Writing, Writing Retreat by

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