In explaining the theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein once said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.”
Five minutes ago, I was picking my darling Write Sisters up at the airport and now, I’m home from dropping them back off. Ann’s in Los Angeles by now, in her charming Nancy Drew house ; Mary’s due to arrive in Eureka any minute but poor Helen won’t be in her own bed until nearly midnight our time.
I miss them like crazy already.
I could not finish a book without them. Ann is the picture book queen, grabbing a handful of blank paper, a pair of scissors and masking tape (we couldn’t find removable scotch tape anywhere in Blaine, Washington!) to snip and cut and paste her way to picture book perfection.
Annie cutting and pasting to her heart’s content
Helen is the language and motivation guru, pushing each of us to use richer, more precise language, as well as to dig deep and make sure our characters are behaving in manners true to form, not manners necessary for advancing the plot.
Helen may have rocks in her pocket and in her carry-on bag, but not in her head when it comes to knowing how to tell a darned good story
And speaking of plot — Mary can find the holes with blindfolds on! If you are hosting a writing conference, hire her to speak on this topic. I sat in awe as she zeroed in on the key to something that was niggling all of us about one particular manuscript.
Ann and Mary consulting with Winston about a plot point in Act II
I’m not sure what I contributed to the gathering besides gum drops and a four-footed muse, but I do believe a good time — and a good writing time — was had by all.
Our modus operandi is to send manuscripts to one another ahead of time, critique in depth and then carve out bits of time to revise, talk business and take long walks. Other groups (I think this is what Cindy Lord does with her pals) go somewhere simply to write and be in a creative community for a few days. If you live in the northwest, there may still be room for you to sign up for the writing retreat organized by SCBWI-Washington. Regardless of format, I think a writing retreat is essential for the soul.
Just be sure to bring lots and lots of gumdrops.