Sunday, February 15, 2009

And Then There Were Five

Six of us came to the Weymouth Center ( last Sunday for an intensive writers’ retreat.  My goals were to finish correcting the copy edit of Sand Sharks so that it can go to the printers next week, to plot enough of the next book that I could begin writing it, to plot a short story I owe Charlaine Harris, and to learn Word now that WordPerfect is no longer available for Macs or PCs. (More about that in a later post!)

(Mary Kay and I signed stock at the Country Bookstore in Southern Pines)

The others had their own goals:  mainly to write a certain number of pages each day.  We have met every morning with coffee, cereal or toast to set our goals for the day, then we go off with our laptops to various quiet nooks and crannies of this great old house.  The early part of the week was warm enough that some of us found spots outside conducive to writing.  Lunch has been an informal eat-when-you’re hungy affair with very little midday socializing.  Because the library is the only place we can get online, the Internet has not been the huge distraction it can be at home.

Each of us was responsible for one communal supper and we knew that we’d eat out one night with J.D. Rhoades, a fellow writer who lives nearby.  

(L>R around the table: Bren Bonner, Diane Chamberlain, MM, J.D. Rhoades, Katy Munger, with Sarah Shaber in front.)

After supper, we get in our night clothes and meet in the library to brainstorm and offer comments while a colleague describes where she thinks her story is going.  Only then do we allow ourselves to go online or play the kind of word games so dear to a writer’s heart:  Taboo, Balderdash, and Apples to Apples.  It’s a good thing we’re here alone because our games can get a little raucous . . . especially when one of us who shall remain nameless has had a second glass of wine, forgets which team she’s on, and starts blurting out the answers for her opponents.

Mary Kay Andrews had to leave on Friday, the rest of us will leave today.  So have we accomplished our goals?

I haven’t completely mastered Word, but I’m a little more comfortable with it now and I did meet the rest of the tasks I set myself.  As have my writing buddies for the most part.  Even without Mary Kay to crack the whip on us these last two days, it’s been a  very productive week, for which we are truly grateful to the Weymouth Foundation. 

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