Retreat Aftermath

Last week I wrote about going to a writers’ retreat. (Retreat from Harsh Reality.) Well, I’m back, energized, and ready to write. Christie Craig is a wonderful speaker.

Christie Craig

Christie Craig

First of all, she has roots in Alabama and lives in Texas, which means she has a way of talking and an accent that I could listen to for hours. In addition to her voice, she’s funny, informative, and inspiring.

Friday evening she entertained us with humorous stories, many of them personal. It’s easy to see why her books are known for their humor. Saturday she talked about Building Characters, how a character’s weaknesses are as important in a story as his or her strengths. That talk was followed by Point-of-View (POV). In that talk she gave some great examples of how using a character’s thoughts about what she (or he) sees not only to describe a room/person/situation, but also to relay information about the character to the reader.

Consider how a 320 pound football player would think about a tiny tea cup. Now think how a 98 pound elderly woman might think about it. How a young woman whose grandmother collected tea cups might view that cup. How a five-year-old girl might view the cup. In each case, if the cup is described from the character’s pov, the reader will gain information about the character as well as something about the cup. It’s a great way to “show” character.

Besides Christie’s three talks, this year’s retreat was structured so we had the option of three “Write Ins.” (Blocks of time when we had a room where we could set up our laptops or get out our pen and paper and just write.) Two brain storming sessions were also planned poolside, but those didn’t turn out as well because other guests at Bay Pointe Inn were using the pool. Nevertheless, those who were there managed to do a lot of talking.

I really liked the “Write Ins.” The room was spacious, had a fireplace with a gas log fire burning, lots of plug-in terminals, and enough room so we weren’t on top of each other. Even with over fifteen people in the room working, it was quiet. I actually managed to put together a possible plot outline for my next book. Sure, it needs a lot of work, but it’s a start.

Sunday morning write in

Sunday morning write in

During the retreat, we also had social time when we could simply talk. Some serious eating and drinking went along with this. We applauded each other’s accomplishments; shared information about publishers, markets, and computer programs; complained about interruptions we all seemed to share; and laughed…a lot.

I’m out of the dumps. Now I just have to write…and write…and write.

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20 Responses to Retreat Aftermath

  1. Wouldn’t have missed it. Never have I had so many a ha moments regarding my wip in such a short span of time.

  2. This sounds like a very worthwhile experience. Glad you could share it with us!

  3. Wow sounds like a wonderful retreat!
    Good luck and God’s blessings.

  4. Bonnie Alkema says:

    So glad the retreat was just what you needed!! I was getting worried about you and thought I’d have to head to South Haven with Chocolate cake and a bottle of wine.

  5. Becky Lower says:

    Christie was our chapter’s conference speaker a couple years ago, and what a delightful person she was. Even a year later, at an RWA conference, she remembered who we were and gave big Texas-sized hugs to everyone.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Delightful is a great description of her, Becky. Every time I saw her, she had a smile. I have a feeling I’ll never forget her mattress story.

  6. Melissa Keir says:

    Sounds Amazing. I’m sorry to have missed it!

  7. Lucy Kubash says:

    Christie really did give us a lot of advice that we can use in our own writing. I took a lot of notes and hope to refer to them, especially when I get stuck!

  8. A retreat sounds lovely. I hope to someday have the chance.

    I love Christie’s stories. I have many of her books and they are very funny with a good dose of suspense.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Zia, if you live near Michigan, keep the Retreat from Harsh Reality in mind. It occurs in the spring, usually late April, and it’s a great way to get new ideas and bond with other writers.

  9. Diane Burton says:

    You are right on about the retreat. Loved the time to put into practice what we’d heard and to chat (aka pick each other’s brains). I’m so glad I went. Like you, I came home energized and ready to write.

  10. Sandy Parks says:

    I try to do a writing retreat with friends once a year. It is as much for the spirit and camaraderie as for the writing, but we get things done. I enjoy your posts.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Thanks, Sandy. I’d like to attend more writing retreats during the year, and you’re right, they’re for more than just writing, but the writing does get done.