Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Retreat for Advancement

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went on a writing retreat this weekend. This was different from my retreat in March in that I went with about a dozen of my writer pals from my RWA chapter. We trekked down to Bisbee, a beautiful little tourist town leftover from the mining boom of the late 1800s. The drive down was gorgeous--maybe one day Arizona will cease to amaze me in the many different ways it can be beautiful, but I'm not sure I want that day to come any time soon.

(Driving aside: For a stretch of about twenty miles, lots of tarantulas were trying to cross the road to varying degrees of success. I wasn't quite sure what manner of creepy-crawly it was I saw crawling its way across the pavement until Sunday on the joureny back home. Then the sun happened to strike the nasty spider just right as I came up on it. I clippled one of the icky things with a wheel and sent it thunking up into the car's undercarriage. Ah, desert driving.)

We broke up into groups for chunks of time on Saturday to brainstorm our books in whatever fashion the groups chose. My group, thankfully, was less about novel structure (in terms of acts and turning points and beats and scenes and such) and more about characters and the best conflict we could create to force the most dramatic arc. It was exactly what I needed to confirm I had a good revised outline for PPR and to sketch out the central premise and characters of Books 2 and 3 in the PPR universe. That's right, dear blog readers, I actually have more of a vague outline for two novels than I've ever had before--and I haven't written a single word of draft for either story yet. I don't know if this means my overall process is adjusting or if this set of stories is lending itself better to pre-planned writing than my others. I guess I'll find out if PPR sells next year.

It was a fabulous weekend that revitalized my writing plans for PPR and also gave me ample time to relax and revel in a whole boatload of extended adult conversation about all manner of things. Plus I got to know my fellow chapter members better and had a blast brainstorming other stories besides mine. I hope those books sell as well, because it would be fun to read elements that unfolded right before my eyes this weekend.

Sigh. I love this state, I adore my chapter (both the members and its continual focus on advancing our writing skills and careers), and I can't wait to see where all the ideas I fleshed out this weekend take me over the course of the next year or two. Yup. Life is good, and that's how you know it was a very successful retreat.

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