Write that book

Treat your inner author to glorious, dedicated writing time! You will rocket your writing skills, learn tricks and tips to boost your creative output, and develop a life-changing plan for publication, all with the help of expert guidance in a bucket-list location. This retreat will meet you where you're at, whether you're writing a novel or a memoir.

During our week together, we’ll begin each morning with a nourishing meditation and a delicious, healthy breakfast. After we are focused and oriented, we’ll set our individual writing goal for the day. Allison and Jessie will provide proven writing exercises designed to help you release writing blocks, organize your time, and find your motivation, with a special focus on the craft of writing a novel.

Your afternoon is free to structure as you wish. Write on your own, receive individual coaching, take an inspiring hike through town or around the lake, soak in the hot tub overlooking a pine-scented forest, people watch, schedule a massage, nap. Listen to your body and heart. We’ll come back together at night to share insight and laughter.

All participants will be shown how to:

  • Write memorable characters

  • Build a page-turning plot

  • Create cinematic, multi-purpose settings

  • Craft a scene

  • Pull it all together using a neat and sweet 7-step method

  • Edit efficiently and effectively

  • Find an agent or self-publish

  • Organize their writing time to finish a novel in less than a year

Retreat location is in northern California on Lake Tahoe near the stunning town of Carnelian Bay.


Using the unique starting point of accessing the recurring themes in your life to produce dynamic fiction, Day 2 covers:

  • a simple yet powerful model for sifting through your crucible moments to select the one robust enough to sustain a novel

  • how to strengthen this novel idea, including adding depth as well as subplots to your existing idea

  • the “Use Your Good Stuff Now; Your Brain Will Make More,” and “Write to One Person” rules of writing and life

  • a plan for discovering and refining your writer’s voice

  • examples of how successful writers transformed their defining moments into the seeds of bestselling fiction.

Once you've selected your novel idea, you'll be shown the proven 7-step method for going from idea to completed novel in less than a year.


From Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple to William Goldman's Inigo Montoya, character is arguably the most memorable element of a novel. How do you create a full-realized unique protagonist that leaps from the page? How should you develop secondary characters as well as the protagonist’s nemesis? Day 3 will challenge you to eliminate cardboard characterizations and create something new and fresh.


We all want to write that book that readers won't put down, but how do we transform our ideas and characters into a riveting story? The simple but revolutionary Plot Box method shows you how. Day 4 will teach you the art of plotting using a foolproof Plot Box kit so your manuscript will attract the attention it deserves.


“I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday,” Raymond Chandler once said, and this seemingly tossed-off remark has much to teach us about the gentle arts of setting and description. Day 6 will guide you through the process and potential pitfalls of choosing a setting, and explore the ways in which descriptive passages can be honed to illuminate characters and themes. Then, we will immerse ourselves in meta editing (“re-seeing” your work to deepen and strengthen the writing) as well as nuts and bolts line editing, including introducing the ARISE (action, romance and humor, information, suspense, and emotion) method for evaluating the strength of your scenes.


Millions of books are published each year. Want yours to be one of those, or are you simply curious as to how a manuscript becomes a published book? Day 6 gives you the behind-the-scenes of the publishing world. Snap-, self-, and traditional publishing are covered.

Commit to finally writing that book with the aid of expert instruction. At Write That Book, you'll work with master instructors who value laughter, creativity, and community,  explore the world with a fun-loving community of creatives, and enjoy a relaxing, inspiring vacation rooted in creative expression.

Dates, Times & Locations

August 4 - 10, 2019
Lake Tahoe, California

(near Carnelian Bay, CA)


in US Dollars

$1,950 without lodging

$2,395 w/ shared villa bedroom

$2,850 w/private villa bedroom
Price includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages, and all instruction. Evening meals, airfare, and ground transportation not included.

Sample Schedule

Day One

1:00 pm   Lunch and Welcome

Day Two

8:00    Meditation
8:30    Breakfast
9:00-12 Selecting and Refining a Novel-worthy Idea; Poise Yourself to Finish Your Book in Less than a Year

12:00   Lunch

1:00    Writing on your own. You can also schedule a 1:1 session with Jess or Allison to get vision/voice feedback. 

5:00    Community support session: share your daily progress, get encouragement and feedback

6:30    Cocktail/walk/meditation

7:00    Dinner in the village, with fellow retreaters or alone, you decide


"Jess Lourey is a rare double talent. She is an outstanding writer. Just as remarkable is Jess’ ability to teach writing to others. She clearly communicates the essence of good writing — whether it is giving a novice writer broad guidance on how to structure a novel or write sentences that grab the reader’s attention, or working with experienced writers on the fine art of wordsmithing to improve elements of pace, suspense or character development."

— Stephen T., Write That Book, July 2015

“When I signed up for Jessica Lourey ’s fiction writing workshop, I was at a low point. I was stuck. I longed to write a novel, but I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t think I had any stories worth telling. Jess helped me realize that I have a lifetime of experiences just waiting to be tapped into, a lifetime of stories, characters, settings and plot twists. Anyone can teach the mechanics of writing, but not anyone can inspire like Jess.”

         — Tina M., Rewrite Your Life, November 2016