Gandalf: I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.
Bilbo: I should think so—in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them …
Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.
Bilbo: You can promise that I’ll come back?
Gandalf: No. And if you do, you will not be the same
Six women. Six stories. A journey into the wild world of novel writing. We have the essentials: food, fudge, wine, chocolate, and writing. On our trek we talk about writing, make notes, and try to absorb the wisdom of our mentor in a limited amount of time. We even brought in our sister in California who couldn’t make the trip in person this year. Thank goodness for Skype!
There’s something to be said about a gathering of writers who all “get” how each other writes. There’s a lot to be said about taking time away from the everyday, and focusing on things that matter to you, especially if those things also matter to the people you’re with. We’ve helped each other through writer’s block, plotting problems, character, setting, and voice.
I got some much needed help with my WIP from my writing sisters. Sure, I have to do some major revision, but I’m only on the first draft, so I know there’s more rewriting on the docket. That’s one of the best things about getting together with fellow writers: they can give you so many good ideas. I know the story will be so much stronger after I make changes based on their suggestions.
We’re taking a short break after a long session this morning, a late lunch, and a meandering walk through a nearby cemetery and a community garden area where people can rent small plots to grow veggies, herbs, and flowers.
My Muse’s hammock sits empty on the front porch of the bed and breakfast we’re staying at. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen the other Muses around either since before lunch. No wonder we slowed down.
Wait. He’s ambling down the sidewalk, solo. “Hey, where’d you go?”
“Why? Didya miss me?” He takes the porch steps in one long stride. He seems far too refreshed and relaxed after this morning’s work. He settles in the porch swing and pats the space next to him. “Have a seat, love.”
Yep, he’s waaay too relaxed. I lean against the porch railing instead. “What’s up with you?”
“Have you been drinking?”
He laces his fingers together, puts his hands behind his head, and starts swinging. “No more than usual.”
“Where are the other muses?”
He stretches an arm along the back of the bench. “Around. Come sit with me.”
Tempting. Very tempting. “Why are you in such a good mood?”
His grin emphasizes the mischievous glimmer in his eyes. “Are you kidding? After the past four days, you’ve revised your WIP plot to crank up the tension, make your protagonist more sympathetic, and spice up the conflict. I can feel it’s going to be good. Very good. All you need to do is rewrite your beat sheets to accommodate the updates, then revise the story, starting from page one. And I didn’t have to dog you about it.”
He’s right. And I feel pretty good about the changes my Writing Sisters suggested. I’m eager to get started on the revisions. The creative energy gets charged up when we gather together, and I want to ride that fire as long as possible. I sit beside him on the bench. He smells like the woods, flowers, summer rains, like all my natural muses woven together.
He wraps an arm around my shoulders and pulls me to his side. “You did good, love. You’ve got fresh building materials, and revised blueprints. We’ve got our work laid out for us.”
I’m incredibly grateful for my Writing Sisters, and all the suggestions, critiques, and support they offer. I have a lot of work to do in the coming months, but I feel better about the direction I’ll take my WIP.
We all part ways tomorrow, so we still have a night to talk about writing, drink wine, eat chocolate, and enjoy the company of other wonderful writers. If you ever get a chance to get away with good writer friends, take it. It’ll do you good.
BTW, do you like blueberry muffins? Make sure you check out this month’s Meet Your Main Character blog Top 5 and see who our “blueberry muffins” are!