Friday, April 9, 2010

Focusing on Fiction: My Book Therapy Retreats

I admit it: I have a split personality when it comes to writing.

For years, I lived my life as a contented non-fiction writer. Immune to the lure of the Dark Side of the writing world, I suggested medication to my fiction writing buddies who listened to voices.

One day, burned out on deadlines, I wandered over to the Dark Side--just for the fun of it. And I've never looked back.

I've straddled the line between fiction and non-fiction for a couple of years now. But it was only during this past year that I asked myself the question: Am I serious about writing fiction?

To help answer my question, last October I attended Susan May Warren's StoryCrafter's Retreat, which focused on story structure, character creation and plotting. Susan's step-by-step approach was practical, helpful--and personal. There were all of 12 attendees at the conference--and by the end of the weekend we were committed friends!

Because I had such a productive time at the first retreat, I attended the February Deep Thinkers retreat, which was co-taught by Susan and author Rachel Hauck. Once again, the retreat size was kept small. Most of the attendees from the first conference came to this one, as well as some new friends. Susan and Rachel critiqued 15 pages of our manuscripts and our 3-5 page synopsis of or works-in-progress.

When it came time to register for the Polish Promotion and Pitch Retreat , I asked my husband, "Well, I guess the question is, 'Should I go?'" He said, "The question is, 'Why wouldn't you go?'"

And he was right.

I'm heading to Seattle in May to learn all about query letters, book promotion, and pitching a fiction book from Susan, Jim Rubart, and agent Chip MacGregor.

Want forward motion in your fiction this coming year? Consider investing in Susan's retreat series. Participate in one of the retreats--or all three! It will be time and money well spent--and you'll make some life-long friends along the way!

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