A weekend of ideas

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Alexa Jacobs and Kristie Wolf take a break during a Saturday morning writing session.

The Revisionaries’ First Annual Writers Weekend has left me breathless.

My fingers are exhausted. My head is throbbing. And my soul sings from the long hours of inspiration.

I’d never been on a writing weekend: hours and hours of virtually uninterrupted writing, plotting, planning and thinking.

Besides some solid writing, here’s what I got out of it.

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Nellie Jane led a discussion in storyboarding.

Everybody should do this. Absolutely should. Pick a day. Or two. We had Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and Sunday morning. Then everybody had to get back to sports and church and family dinners.

Friday was mostly a bonding day. We caught up, talked about where we were in our stories and set aside a time to critique our works in progress. One of our non-attendees joined by video-conference. It almost felt weird talking about our writing in person.

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Kristie talked about the plot of her book as she tried out storyboarding.

There was time for dinner and more chatting before we collapsed into our beds. Early to rise, you know. We had a 6 a.m. sprint planned.
We actually got up and gathered at the dining room table soon after six. While coffee percolated, so did our brains. The loudest noise in the room was the tapping of fingers on laptops for a solid hour.

We talked about plot points, characters, writing techniques and plain old persistence throughout the day whenever we looked up from our laptops.

Nellie Jane gave a presentation on storyboarding as a way to keep track of structure, dialogue, plots and POV. Alexa added to the discussion with a recommendation of one of her favorite books, “Romancing the Beat.” Group member A.R. Case offered her own ideas on keeping all the points on a storyboard on a series of index cards both to keep a good record of them and for ease in moving story lines around if necessary. We planned an hour; it went over and was a rollicking good discussion that gave us all new insights into story structure. We talked about a second hour of discussion after lunch—but fingers were flying on the keyboards and we all agreed to spend take the discussion to our own stories for the afternoon.

All that time to write was a blessing and a joy. Having people nearby who support

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Mementoes of our weekend recalled an important date. Saturday was Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday.

our word every day made it even better.

We celebrated our work with a dinner out that led to a long evening of talking about everything from writing to weddings and families. We didn’t want our delightful Saturday to end.

But there was that Sunday 6 a.m. sprint. Hah! We didn’t make it. But after breakfast, we pulled out our laptops for one last hour of writing before it was time to leave.

I kept meals simple so that we weren’t spending time preparing and cleaning up and so we had plenty of good food to keep our spirits up. I had a hearty soup bubbling on the stove before everybody arrived and accompanied it with salad, wine, tea and water.

There were vegetable and cheese omelets for breakfast each morning. Kristie brought muffins to round out our meal. Sandwiches, and plenty of Kristie’s spinach dip, crudités, cheese and crackers kept us satisfied throughout our long Saturday.

We had time to stretch our legs, take a good long walk or sit and ruminate.

The Revisionaries are comfortable with each other. We’ve been critiquing on-line each other’s work for more than a year and a half. And we’ve met off and on at Maryland Romance Writers meetings and other times to solidify our relationships and our friendships.

I worked hard as host. But not as hard as I could have. Mostly it was a weekend of thinking, writing and revising, learning and laughing. Don’t think we could have had a better experience.

Thanks, fellow scribblers!

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