Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Temptation Tuesday :: Beach Retreat!

The Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke escaped reality for a writing weekend on the Oregon coast with  Love Inspired's Terri Reed and Romance's Melissa McClone. They used every moment of their time away -- even forgoing sleep!


Putting Emotion in Your Writing -- audio workshops from RWA 2011 conference while being chauffered to our coastal getaway. Spacious door-to-door service provided by Rose's Mom's Van (aka Melissa did the driving)

Goody Bags -- a buy-your-own option @ the outlet mall. Melissa & I got matching purses (the deal at Coach was that good) and prizes to take home to the kids.

Setting The Scene -- arrived at Blessings By The Sea and staked out bedrooms -- Terri opted for the darkest room, Melissa took one for the team and slept in the skylight room, I have an ocean view!

Ready Set Write -- Write until your stomach demands food! Melissa won the round with over 1K.

Dinner -- Mo's of course. You may be thrown out of Lincoln City if you don't Mo's at least once. The garlic cabage and shrimp salad? Way better than it sounds.

Myofascial Techniques for Writers -- Terri showed us the tricks she learned to ease the aches caused by hours of writing using a tennis ball and a golf ball!

Writing Romantic Comedies - Screenplay Mastery by Michael Hauge -- We used the DVD to map out the internal arcs of our latest stories, pausing and discussing as we went.

The second day of our Write Away adventure began early...which was odd considering how late Michael Hague kept us awake the night before. But this wasn't a weekend vacation...we're working like mad women!

Saturday Agenda

1K1HR - The Twitter hashtag phenomenon proved helpful even without Tweeple. Sit down, focus, and let the fingers fly!

A Little Help From Our Friends - The joy of having other writers around is when you're staring at a blinking cursor and you're stuck...you can verbalize the problem and have crackerjack brainstormers at the ready. Hero has no motivation...we can help with that!

Character Study - After raining words down on the page we took a field trip to the casino to try out for Wheel of Fortune. Oh yeah, this is part of our job!

Standing in line we saw all sorts of people...and then they let us into the show...there is something about trying out for a gameshow that has people wearing the 'gameshow contestant' persona.

Would you bellydance on a stage in front of strangers? Most had this uber-excited, beyond animated face they slipped on as soon as they made it to the stage. Fascinating!

Taking Chances - If you're in a casino, gamble a little. Get in touch with the thrill of winning and the agony of losing. But don't gamble more than your Starbucks habit costs. That's just silly.

Linner - If you miss lunch because you're standing in line for a gameshow and are now starving out of your mind...linner is in order. We reccomend an ocean view so you can catch the surf, kites, and playful kittens.

Nurture With Nature - Nothing fills the writer's well quite like appreciating the beauty of nature. Our weekend setting gave us amazing opportunities to appreciate the beach, sunsets, cleansing rain...we even arrived back at the house to a momma deer and her two babies!

Ready Set Write redux - After our field trip, we were all ready to get some words on the page again. Sit down, start typing and go until you're stuck and need a little help from our evening entertainment.

The Outer Journey with Michael Hauge - Michael was so good to us last night we invited him back to the DVD player for another round. We were happily plugging along - character, desire, goal, key turning points...and then he lost us completely by rushing through everything after the point of no return. Drat!
The Writer's Journey with Chris Vogler - We brought another man to the living room, and tried to stay awake through the 12 stages. We tried very hard.
Uniting Plot and Character Arc with Michael Hague - Opting to give Michael another chance since he'd been so good to us the night before, we gave the audio recording of one of his workshops from the last RWA conference a chance. Thank goodness. This time he redeemed himself as he traveled through Empathy, Wound, Set-up, Opportunity creates the preliminary goal, which leads to the new situation, Chnage of Plans, Progress, Point of No return, Complications, Set-back, Final push, Climax, Aftermath.

And then...since it was well into Sunday...we opted to start again tomorrow.
One would think that after two nights of working post-midnight would call for sleeping in...but all three of us had our computers fired up by seven! Talk about using every minute!

Sunday Agenda

Jumpstart Your Mind :: Caffiene is a writer's friend. It can get words on the page even when the writer has had very little sleep. Coffee or tea, hot or iced, pick your poison and get to work!

Fuel Your Writing :: m&m's. The breakfast of best-selling authors. Really.

Ready Set Write Finale :: It may take four tries to figure out where your book opens, but once you know, you can write forward. See you soon, #1K1HR.

Explore Settings :: If you go to the beach and don't get your toes in the sand...you're not allowed to return. I don't make the rules. We took the mandatory walk because we didn't want to be blacklisted. Thes are the sacrifices we make for art. 

But seriously, setting needs to be as well-thought out as your characters. Let your character look around their environment, not just in front of them. Yes, the ocean is beautiful, but so are sandy beaches, sandstone cliffs, logs of driftwood, and even weathered staircases. Don't let your setting get flabby, make it work!

Sendoff :: We had such a fabulous, productive weekend. I think we'd all planned on getting more words on the page, but we all shifted gears and instead of focusing on word count we focused on making our stories as strong as they could be. We may not have pounded out the pages, but now that we know where our stories are going...we'll rock.

We agreed we must do this again. See you in January, Blessings By the Sea!

Jenna's juggling the last few weeks of having the taller kiddos home for the summer, getting the small one ready for preschool, and finishing the road trip book right now. Until it's ready, be sure to check out her latest. Private Scandal is ripe with secrets, sass, and sensational sex. Keep up with Jenna's spin on things on her website & blog

1 comment:

  1. I love the Oregon coast. Wish I could spend a bit of time there. It sounds like all of you had a great time and hopefully also a very productive time.