I recently went on a retreat with some writer friends.
Tam and Sharry describe it oh so well. (Happy Blog-0-versary to Kissing the Earth!) And I stole this picture from them. This was one of the views as we took our daily walks – where we talked about books and writing and writing and books.
Prior to the retreat, we each submitted pages (and the terrifying synopsis) from our new WIPs so that we could talk about things like character development and desire, forces of antagonism and obstacles, secondary characters, structure and plot development with our particular stories in mind.
For me, this feels like it has been such a booster engine jet-pack for my story. Wanting to get the most out of the retreat as possible, I prepared by diving into my story with a stronger sense of urgency and focus, trying to get as far along my messy first draft as time permitted. Simply writing the synopsis was a tremendous feat – and made me feel both queasy and elated.
I have a hard time talking about my stories when they are loose and forming, so this retreat examination was a new experience for me. This forced me out of my comfort zone. During our discussions, I honestly felt this sort of simultaneous losing and yet discovering my story at the same time.
I’ve hit some moments of doubt and frustration over the discoveries this retreat made clear – but the thing is, these are the same moments I had writing my last story – but it took me so much longer to reach a point where I could recognize the fatal flaws. There will be more moments, of course! But I feel like I have a good base on which to work – and a notebook to consult.
The key to this type of retreat is the company. I was surrounded by brilliant minds and hearts that I trust implicitly.
The walks, chocolate, and wine helped too, of course…
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK