Once again, six of us headed out to the Weymouth Center for the Arts in Southern Pines (www.WeymouthCenter.com) last week for our fall writing retreat. There are actually seven of us who cycle in and out, depending on schedules, but very seldom can we get seven schedules to mesh and this year was no exception.
[Pictured left to right: Katy, Alex, Diane, me, Sarah, Mary Kay.]
Mary Kay Andrews (aka Kathy Trocheck), Sarah Shaber, and Alexandra Sokoloff were the first to arrive. Diane Chamberlain, Katy Munger (aka Chaz McGee), and I trickled in over the next three days and we all wished Brynn Bonner could have been with us.
Alex had used a fictionalized version of Weymouth as one of her settings in The Unseen and was a bit spooked to discover that some of the things she had made up were actually real.
I hoped to get a running start on the 2011 book (and did!), but first on my “must-do” list was to go over the copy edit of Christmas Mourning, which will be out next November.
Mary Kay was a hundred pages into her next book, while the others were still at the plotting and planning stages and needed to brainstorm ideas at the morning meeting.
After setting our goals for the day, we scattered to various corners of that gracious old house to work. It’s hard to describe the synergistic effect of knowing that your colleagues are nearby, immersed in the creative process. Pride was a sharp spur that kept us at our keyboards when the muse wanted to go wandering down to the kitchen or curl up for a quick nap. No one wanted to have to face the others and admit that she hadn’t accomplished what she said she would.
It wasn’t all work, of course. We took turns cooking supper and afterwards we would check our email, Facebook pages, whatever. More brainstorming and plotting, then a few word games, a glass of wine or handful of M&Ms, and so to bed.
Did we accomplish everything we hoped? For the most part, yes, we did. By the time we meet down in Georgia next spring, Mary Kay may be finished with her book and the rest of us will have a very good idea of where our own books are going.