We have a bit of a theme going lately here at WordWranglers: one of rejuvenation. A couple of weeks ago Nan & Liz gave us photo-diaries of their writer's trip around Lake Michigan, and over the summer (I think!) they had another writer's retreat. This past weekend, I attended a retreat of my own.
My former-RWA chapter, now the Maumee Valley Romance Authors, Inc. group, rents a lake cabin in Michigan every fall; 10-15 of us get together to write, plot, brainstorm, laugh, talk over business problems, eat, laugh some more, talk about our families, share funny anecdotes, laugh, get way too little sleep and start it all over again. We go to the cabin Thursday - Sunday, and we actually get things done!
This weekend we plotted 17 novels/novellas, talked about the industry and what we think is coming next, and had way too much fun coming up with merkin stories (I'd tell you, but I'd have to ... well, you might snort coffee). Over a bonfire we dissected Moonstruck and a couple of other romance movies, and shared a lot of information. As an aside, if anyone tells you all romance authors are stingy with information, they aren't. Some might be, but by and large I've found the romance industry to be filled with strong women who don't mind sharing what they've learned.
Back to the writer's retreat.
I know I'm fully capable of plotting a book on my own. I've done it numerous times. What I like about brainstorming a plot idea with other writers is the give and take of ideas. One writer may focus on Goals while another has a good take on Motivation and yet another reminds us about Conflict. On my own I might dive right in to the story without truly thinking about what happens after the meet-cute or how to keep that conflict growing throughout the book...but talking it through with other writers helps me get it right the first time.
Have you attended a writer's retreat? What did you like about it?