Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Whole Novel Workshop

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Highlights Whole Novel Workshop, do it! It was a truly magical week. My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

I stayed in this cute little cabin.

And I looked out at these lovely trees.

And when I took a walk, I followed this serene path.

And when I wasn't sleeping or walking or writing in my cabin, I was in here.

This is where I met with Stephen Roxburgh, Carolyn Coman, and eight other writers to talk about the craft of writing. This is where we ate beautiful, bountiful meals. Everything was fresh and delicious, and every meal was unique. I loved not having to think about what to eat, not having to grocery shop or prepare anything or clean any dishes. What a treat!

At five o'clock each day, we drank wine and ate hors d'oeuvres while chatting about how to turn good writing into great writing, what our core stories are, who our main characters are, and how we can take steps to get our manuscripts closer to our visions.

This is where Stephen told me the character I accidentally killed in my manuscript absolutely needed to die. (It's a special skill, but it is possible to kill a character and not realize you've done so until after you've already sent your manuscript in, and by then you're embarrassed and you wish you could reach into cyberspace and get the manuscript back to make the character live.) What a surprise to find out that subconsciously I was doing the right thing all along! This is where Stephen taught me about cutting redundant questions, and it's where Carolyn shed light on writing in first person, and it's where I came to understand that even though my novel has a lot of action in it, I'm really writing a plot of character. I have to say, that's a relief!

This is where I made new writer friends, and I saw amazing revisions take shape, and I felt so inspired that I swear, if I had another week, I could have finished my revision and turned my manuscript in to my agent in no time. But alas, one week in Honesdale was all I had.

Now I'm home, busy with my real life. It's a beautiful life, and I truly feel blessed for all that's in it. But I do miss that magical time out of time in Honesdale.  


Anonymous said...

Sounds awesome!!!

Brenda Ferber said...

It was!! I still find myself quoting Stephen Roxburgh every day.

Allan Woodrow said...

I'm extremely jealous. It sounds wonderful. I really need to go on a retreat!

Brenda Ferber said...

Allan, you would love it! I hope you get the chance to go.

Wizwriter said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful retreat. So glad you got a chance to attend!

Kate said...

Sounds dreamy. That's great you got so much done with your novel. I would love to participate in one of these getaways. Thanks for sharing.