Monday, May 29, 2006

The Annual Retreat

I spent Friday night until Sunday at our annual chapter retreat. This year we stayed at a beautiful cottage at White Point Beach. Talk about an amazing place. Right on the water, lots of windows and light, nicely decorated, plenty of room for everyone, all the amenities you need.

And on top of that, lots of great educational sessions. We started off Friday night with a fun writing exercise. Index cards where everyone had to blindly pick two character traits—one for their hero, one for their heroine; a setting; and ‘one thing’, an obscure item, etc that they needed to use. Then they had to create a scene from what they drew. I ended up with (1) believes in aliens; (2) recently quit smoking; (3) the red light district; and (4) a dark, dank smell. It was fun/challenging trying to figure out how to fit all those elements into one brief scene.

The next day we did a session followed by a writing exercise. We covered master plots, digging deep into your character, great beginnings and the push and pull of attraction. The sessions and the questions they raised led to a few timely epiphanies with respect to the revisions for Outlaw Bride. And you know how I love my epiphanies. I couldn’t wait to get started this morning. I consolidated my notes first and then went to work. I think what I learned at the retreat will definitely make the revisions process more focused and the book ultimately better.

Sunday morning we spent broken up into two groups and then brainstormed. Each person got 30-40 minutes. They presented an idea they had and then we went to town on brainstorming ideas for the plot, characters, etc. The group I was with all came to the table with a bare bones idea. One word, or a character, or an idea. By the time we walked away, we all had the plot for a new book. Amazing what can happen when you put four creative minds together and give them a 30 minute time limit.

All in all, I think it may have been the best retreat yet and I can’t wait to go again next year.


julia said...

It was so much fun. The people I work with can't quite get their brains wrapped around the fact that we spent most of our time indoors, looking at the beautiful scenery but not going outside to do our workshops. They try, but it fries their internal hard drives. Meanwhile, they can tell by the look on my face that it was very rejuvinating and creatively liberating, especially that brainstorming session.

Peggy said...

Sounds like a nice way to spend the weekend. :-)

Tess said...

Oooh - sounds like a great weekend, Kelly. Always cool when you can come back from a retreat so energized and ready to write :-)