SCBWI-Oregon Fall Writing Retreat

Silver Falls Conference Center, Oregon

Since Thursday evening, I have been at the Silver Falls Conference Center attending the SCBWI-OR Fall Writing Retreat.  Imagine almost three days to write and listen to sessions about how to perfect your craft.  It was heaven on earth.

Since it was my first retreat, I was considered a “newbie.”  And apparently we made up the majority of the group this year.  However, thanks to the diligent work of the steering committee headed by Robin Koontz, there was a strong sense of community.

Thursday night began with a tasty dinner (perhaps my favorite of the weekend; stuffed chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms).   It was followed by some opening comments and an open mic for those who had previously attended to read a selection for five minutes.  The newbies were invited to read on Friday and Saturday was open mic for anyone who not had a chance.

The format for the rest of the time included five workshop sessions by

Chris Eboch, Haunted series author
Claire Horowitz, writer
Elizabeth Rusch, author
Abigail Samoun, editor: Tricycle Press
Kelly Sonnack, agent: Andrea Brown Literary Agency

And time for individual critiques, and group critiques.

It would have been tempting to sign up for another critique but I chose to use that time to work and revise my WIP.  After listening to the above speakers, I was armed with new considerations for my story.  It was definitely time well spent.

What I am coming to realize is that perhaps I have written a lot of the back-story of the book and the real story is around the corner waiting for me to get there.

It’s rare to have time to fully concentrate on a project.  One of the best things about the weekend was the lack of Internet (very sketchy) as well as limited phone access.  The weather cooperated as well.  While Friday was beautiful, the rest of the weekend was full on rain.

Time to be in a community of writers was like being in a creative think tank.  Some of those who’d been there before referred to Silver Falls as magical.  I would have to agree.  It was a magical event.

Word is that next year, Ellen Hopkins will be in the house.  Starting to save my pennies now.

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