Posts Tagged ‘writer’s retreat’

“The Essential Wound” and other delights

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I promised you a recap of “Weekend on the Water,” the fabulous 3-day retreat sponsored by SCBWI WWA, so here’s the scoop:

We arrived at the beautiful Resort at Port Ludow on Friday afternoon and had a bit of time to wander the gorgeous grounds and check into our rooms before our first session with our fearless leaders, editor Jordan Brown of Walden Pond Press and Balzar and Bray, and Anne Ursu, the bestselling author of BREADCRUMBS. They talked in general about revision, emphasizing the importance of character and of getting to the end of a first draft before you begin to revise.

But it was in their second session on Saturday that they really got to the meaty stuff. Anne shared author Frannie Billingsley‘s genius thoughts about the “essential wound,” the idea that your main character has been wounded in her formative years and that the consequences of this wound – the character’s controlling beliefs – are what creates your story. Anne gave us some great questions to think about, such as “What single belief rules your character’s life?” and “What primary emotion has sprung from that belief?”

These ideas were huge “aha”s for me. I was finally able to identify how Joan, the character of my current WIP had been wounded and how the shame she carries from that wound drives her behavior in the novel. As I go back and revise, I know that this understanding will help me shape and focus my book.

The retreat wasn’t all work, though. We had great meals, a KidLit Drink night complete with a bonfire and s’mores, and morning walks to work out the sitting-all-day kinks. There was plenty of free time for writing, peer critiques, and connecting with friends.

Attending the retreat was a financial stretch for me, but I’m really glad I decided to take the plunge. “The wound” was worth the price of admission.

And I’m off…to Weekend on the Water!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

I have the wonderful opportunity this weekend to attend SCBWI Western Washington’s Weekend on the Water Retreat.

This annual Fall retreat is held at the Inn at Port Ludlow on the Olympic Peninsula, which I hear is gorgeous. The theme this year is novel revision, something close to my heart, as I’m currently in the middle of revising my Work in Progress. With the guidance of editor Jordan Brown and bestselling author Anne Ursu, I’m hoping to hone my revision skills so I can whip this puppy into shape to send off to my agent!

It should be a wonderful weekend of learning, critiquing and being critiqued, networking with other writers, and enjoying beautiful Northwest scenery. I have to give a shout-out to my husband, because without his generous offer to cover half my tuition, I never would have been able to attend. Thank you, Steven!

Have a great weekend. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back!


Writer’s retreat take 2

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

 As you may know, I’m a big fan of writer’s retreats. I crave the chance to get away from daily concerns and immerse myself in my writing. At least once a year, I do a solo retreat. But I also like to retreat with other writers.

Today, I did a retreat with members of my critique group. We had planned to go to La Conner, a lovely little town in the Skagit Valley, just north of Seattle. But with snow predicted, we decided it wasn’t such a wise idea to make the drive. Instead we did an in-town "stay- cation."

We started in funky Columbia City, where  found the heavenly Columbia City Bakery. There we powered up our laptops and sampled such treats as miniature p. b. and J. cookies (yum!), muffins, and sandwiches on to-die-for bread. Plenty of coffee – and in my case, tea – was consumed as well.

After a couple of hours we started feeling restless, so after a stop at a fun consignment store, we headed up to Capital Hill, where some of us had lunch and wrote some more at The Canterbury (killer tater tots!), and others took a stroll along the cold but not yet snowy streets. Then we reconvened at Cafe Ladro for more pastries, tea and coffee and, of course, more writing.

It hasn’t snowed yet, but I don’t regret spending a day in town in the company of friends doing what I love most: writing!

What about you? Is there a particular place you like to go to get away from it all and commune with your muse? And eat pastries?

Writer’s Retreat

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

 Every year I do a three-day solo writing retreat on beautiful Whidbey Island. My 2010 retreat was last week, and here are 10 things I loved about it:

1. Standing on the ferry deck and watching Seattle recede into the distance.

2. Driving on open country roads and not getting honked at once.

3. The view from the deck of Bell’s Beach Bed and Breakfast

4. The incredible gourmet breakfasts served at the above! (Try an apple pancake with homemade apple-walnut syrup!)

5. Going into Langley for a chai (and writing) at Island Coffeehouse and Books. 

6. Taking a break to walk the trails at Greenbank Farm.

7. Double Bluff beach.

8. Incredible sunsets.

9. The chance to dive deeply into my writing, without distractions.

10. The relaxed, happy me that got on the ferry to come home.