Go away, damn snow! Melt, you stupid ice!
Nothing is going to keep my writer friends and me from gathering this weekend to write and talk about our works in progress.
I’m playing host for the Revisionaries’ first annual writer’s retreat, starting in a few hours. We’ve all watched the weather forecasts like little kids hoping for a snow day. Only, this time, we are hoping those storms move past us without a flake. Too late. The snow is already falling—but temperatures will be in the 40s and melt it all away.
So what do we have planned, you ask? Hours and hours of uninterrupted writing. Punctuated by meals and snacks, pots of coffee and tea and, for some of us, bottles of wine.
The Revisionaries, usually an on-line critique group, has become a group of friends. We see each other at Maryland Romance Writers’ meetings. We’ve gathered for breakfast for dinner a few times too. I knew I could count on my friends to help celebrate the launch of my book a long 18 months ago.
Separately, some of our group have participated in this kind of a weekend. This is the first time we’ve been able to clear a weekend of family, work and other responsibilities (thank you, dear spouses) and get together. Well, at least five of us have. The other three will be in our hearts and attending via Skype. More on that aspect later.
Before you think, oooh, how boring!, a weekend in front of your computer, listen to what we have planned.
First a little credit: I planned all this after reading Fae Rowen‘s post on this very topic in the wonderful blog Writer’s in the Storm. She made putting together an event like this sound easy and, most importantly, rewarding.
Our Friday schedule is pretty loose. I’m making a big pot of soup and have sandwich fixings at the ready for the moment everybody is here. (Keeping food simple with lots of do-it-yourself, a suggestion offered in Fae’s post.) The wine and the iced tea are standing by. I’m expecting the first of our group around 2 p.m. The rest will come as their schedules allow.
We’ll probably spend tonight getting caught up, before critiquing the work we submitted last weekend. Knowing this crowd there will be much giggling involved.
Saturday starts with our usual 6 a.m. sprint. The early risers among us already get together on line every weekday morning for an hour of furious writing. It’s made, I think, all of us more committed writers. Better writers, too. So we’ll continue this, but for the next two days, it will be in person. That should be fun.
After breakfast, the whole house will be filled with people staring at their computers. We have two discussions planned to break up the writing.
First is a discussion of story boards. Several among us use them and the rest are curious.
Second is a discussion of last week’s RWA marketing presentation by novelist Skye Warren. I’m still going through all the emails that landed in my inbox with great questions and information. And I’ve downloaded Skye’s presentation to the RWA conference in 2018. So we’ll have lots to talk about.
We didn’t want to leave our writers at home out of the discussions. So we’ll let them know when we’re going to be discussing these topics so they can join us by Skype. It’s how we usually discuss our critiques anyway so it should work just fine.
We’ll take a break once our eyes glaze over and the words start running together. We’re staying close enough to the beach, the ponies at Assateague and the adorable little town of Berlin, Md. (The weather will have something to say about our diversions.)
Sunday begins with a sprint, as well, followed by breakfast and either one of the discussions or writing. The weather is supposed to be terrible and my friends will be departing early enough to be home by dark.
I’ve assembled copies of Writer’s Digest, Historical Novels Review and the RWA magazine, along with some good books on writing, too. For inspiration and guidance. The rest of the group may have some of their own to add.
When we scheduled this weekend, I didn’t realize this is Edgar Allan Poe‘s birthday weekend. The master of the macabre, the creator of detective fiction, the author of The Raven and Annabel Lee and The Tell Tale Heart was born Jan. 19, 1809. Tomorrow would’ve been his 210th birthday. I’ve dubbed him the patron saint for our weekend’s creativity. Edgar started his writing career in my hometown of Baltimore where I volunteer in the house where he penned his first published stories.
All of us are coming with different exceptions, different goals, and totally different writing styles and methods. It will be great to share our ideas, discuss our writing and work side by side with some dedicated writers. I’ll report back on our wonderful it all was.