Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How Plotting and Pedicures Can Work for You by Connie Vines

We've all heard it said that writing is a solitary art.  Is that why we find ourselves creating such deep bonds with other writers who share our passion/obsession?  For whatever the reason, my closest friends are fellow writers.  In fact, we're not so much friends as soul mates caught up on a similar life journey.

While many of my writing friends are cyber friends, conference friends, and RWA Chapters friends, I am fortunate to have several local friends.  One of which I have know since my salad-days when I served on the board of the Pomona Valley Writers' Association.

Several years ago the three of us decided to take a brain-storming retreat in order to take our writing and careers a step further.  We also wanted to reward ourselves for hard-won accomplishments, to to celebrate our successes.

I kept a journal of what went on.  I can't say the structure (or lack there of) will work for every critique group, or circle of writing friends, but it worked for us.

Creating your own Writing Getaway.

  • Divide up the duties.  The location, schedule, food, and spa, All  require planning.  There were three of us.  We each emailed each other with update and choices.
  • Secure the location.  The room needs to be large enough but must also fit everyone's budget.
  • Rough-out a schedule.  One person should be a time keeper.  We worked in two-hour increments with breaks in between.  That way we could focus on one person's story.  This helped because discussions can become rather tense and we needed a break.
  • Parameters and Goals. Everyone should state what she/he needs to come away with.  There will be homework.  I plot using The Writer's Journey, Pam is a GMC devotee, and Bev is a seat-of -your-pants writer.  Of course there were empty spaces in our plots but we all had the Beginning, Middle, and End sort-of figured out.
  • Be honest--not brutal.  
  • Enjoy.  Life is all about the journey.
So were did we meet up?  Since we all live in southern California, we took a discount flight to San Francisco (an hour away) and stayed in a quaint little hotel down town.  We were able to walk a couple of miles to a cafe with great local fair (minus the tourist prices).  The next morning, hopped a cable car to the Fisherman's Wharf to gain some some plotting time while view the bay. 

Our weekend was the most rewarding getaway I've done for myself since I sold my first novel.  I recommend a retreat to anyone who can find the time.  You don't need to fly to get there.  Though I am not an enthusiastic camper, I can pitch a tent and unwillingly sleep on the ground.  Or, book a room at a local bed and breakfast during off season.

End result?  We each finished the plotting out our novels and had a good working knowledge of our characters quirks and goals.  And a deeper friendship too.

Happy Writing & Reading!


The Franciscan--our final night in town.
Remember, I'm not a 'camping' kinda girl :-).

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Not a plotter, but I do love pedicures.

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