Writer Wednesday – Retreats

My apologies for missing last Writer Wednesday.  I’d returned from an annual Writing Retreat for the Founders of Writer Zen Garden, and found myself forgetting.

I’ve attended this Retreat annually and the theme or tone of the meeting varies from year to year, depending on where we are at in our lives.

This year before meeting, one member suggested more writing time, and I’m so glad she did. 

We routinely do Morning Pages, Free Write and a CRAFT.

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WZG 2017 Craft

This year we added in Writing Prompts, Mind Mapping and Creative Journaling. 

The Mind Mapping and a prompt on setting were exactly what I needed.  I tend to write dialouge heavy, so this was very helpful to help me find a balance. 

If you are planning on hosting a retreat, Even a self-retreat, there are a few things I would recommend: 

  1. Have goals – This is reason for the Retreat.  Finish a book, commune with like minded writers, relax.  Whatever it is, even if each writer has different goals, this will help with making a plan, so everyone walks away with what they want. 
  2. Have a plan – Get input from all people attending your retreat.   Pick a location. Create a schedule.   Share it.   A plan will give you framework for your retreat to ensure everyone has fun. 
  3. Have Fun – So you can’t hit the park, because your location has suddenly been deluged by rain.   You spent more time chatting and less time writing – been there.  If you think of the plan as a framework and not a schedule, you can better roll with it. 

Last year I hosted the WZG Writing Retreat on my Farm.   I’ve toyed with the idea of coordinating a spring retreat for local authors at my farm or at The Smokey Hills in Minnesota. 

The goal for me has always been to catch up with authors about what they are writing and trying to re-energize my own writing.   This is for both retreats and conferences.  Before investing time and money into any event, be sure you have a goal.  My goal helps set the expectations and I can measure sucess from it. 

My goals were met, so I would call the retreat a success. 

Here are some other great blogs on planning retreats:

http://rawdogscreaming.com/8-things-learned-planning-writing-retreat/

http://www.alexrwhite.com/how-to-plan-a-writing-retreat-part-1-goals-and-rules/

https://www.janefriedman.com/value-writing-retreats/

https://jenniferlouden.com/create-your-own-writing-retreat/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/do-it-yourself-writing-retreats

Join me next week as we continue my query journey.~Tina

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Tina’s Teaching

****Please Forward to your Writing Groups****

S.E.N.D presented by Tina Holland
Workshop begins: August 7, 2017
Class length: Two weeks
Cost: $15 (free to RWA® Online Chapter members)
Registration opens July 24, 2017

Link to registration: http://rwaonlinechapter.org/?page_id=466

Workshop Description:

Submit your work

Establish your brand

Next book

Discover your strengths.

Are you struggling to find a home for your finished manuscript?   Have you submitted your book, but have no idea where to go from here?   Tina Holland’s SEND workshop may be for you.  In this class, you’ll learn:

1) How to research and SUBMIT to a publishing house and get what you want.

2) How to ESTABLISH your brand, even when writing different genres or standalone books

3)  The importance of working on the NEXT book

4)  DISCOVER your strengths as a writer and learn to use them to your advantage.

About the Presenter:

Tina Holland was born in Frankfurt, Germany and is now settled in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. She lives on a hobby farm and enjoys horseback riding, camping, travelling, and reading books by her favorite authors.

Tina has been published since 2005, and continues to release books as her schedule allows. Tina is a member of RWA Online, Zen Writer’s Garden and the F-M Word Weavers. She hosts a blog at https://tinaholland.wordpress.com/ and you can reach her at  tina@tinaholland.com
Deadline to register is August 7, 2017

FMI: http://rwaonlinechapter.org/?page_id=466

Or email Patti Fischer at fisc40pa@aol.com

You do not need to be a RWA® member to take the class.

Note: RWA® Online conducts all workshops via a message board system located on this website.  However, access to the site is restricted by login and password to ensure that the workshop is only available to those that are authorized to attend.

Teaching at Writer Zen Garden

wzgI’m teaching my FEARS workshop this weekend at Writer Zen Garden if anyone is interested. Classes are free to members. Membership is free.

http://writerzengarden.com/forums/

Feel free to share with any writer friends.

AuThursday -A. Catherine Noon

Please welcome my fellow Writer Zen Gardener,  A. Catherine Noon.  Tell us Ms. Noon, what books have most influenced your life most?

That’s an interesting question.  It depends on the period in my life, really.  The first book I remember reading was about a cat who lived at a firehouse.  I fell in love with that cat and with books.  I had trouble figuring out how to find good books for myself at the library, until I stumbled on Phyllis A. Whitney.  I devoured everything she wrote for young adults.  After that, it was on to fantasy with Tolkien, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, and Lloyd Alexander.  I found Anne McCaffrey and Steven Brust and from there I was hooked.  It wasn’t until I read Piers Anthony, and the “Author’s Notes” he included in the Incarnations of Immortality series, that I started to really want to be an author.  I’ve always been a writer; but Anthony made it clear that I could be a “real” author.

Q: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don’t use formulae, because I like change.  What interests me is consequences: what happened?  Why did it happen?  Who did it affect?  I typically start with an image, of a person or a place or a feeling, and build from there.

Q: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Quiet time, a keyboard and word processing software, and paper with an assortment of pens and pencils.

Q:  What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction, and the m/m sub-genre?

I loathe the term “mommy porn.”  It’s insulting and degrading, and belittles women’s fiction.  The other misconception is that, “Oh, romance is all formulaic.”  People that say that haven’t read in the genre, period.  The days of the formula story are long over.  Readers are sophisticated and even in the Harlequin “lines,” the quintessential “formula” books, the stories have to be engaging and nuanced.

Q: Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We’ d love to hear all about them!)

I’m working on the next Chicagoland Shifters book, which features TJ Butler.  What’s exciting to me about this project is that I decided to take the gloves off.  TJ’s father is a Texas Baptist minister who tried to “cure” TJ of being gay by using electroshock therapy.  TJ ran away and joined the Marines.  When he went overseas in the second Gulf War, he was attacked by a Siberian tiger shifter and left for dead.  All the men he’d led were killed by their attacker, except for TJ.  He’s a bundle of PTSD.

So many stories that have PTSD characters seem to gloss over the fact that it’s a life-changing disorder.  One doesn’t get over it, one simply learns to cope with it.  Some days are better than others.  There is no magic band-aid or drug that will “cure” it, any more than there is one for homosexuality.  But how do you make that character sexy and compelling?  It’s not my intention to write a dark story, just a dark character.  It’s a challenge.

Q:  You’ve finally delved into the world of self-publishing, tell us a bit about that?

We decided to self-publish our popular Chicagoland Shifters series because it gave us the creative freedom to explore the characters in our own way, to tell the story that we see.  There are real consequences for any actions, and we wanted to tell that story in a real way that we hope readers will connect with.

It’s hard to self-publish, because you’re launching your own product.  You’re in charge of all the pieces of the puzzle, not just the writing.  I see first-time authors doing it and wouldn’t suggest that for anyone right now, because you need to have a following in order to be successful with it.  There’s so much dilution in the market that it’s hard for new authors to get themselves heard.

Q:  Who designed the cover for “Cat’s Cradle”?

That would be Dayna Hart, who also designed my website and the Noon and Wilder site.  She’s amazing.

Q:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

The Chicagoland Shifters:

Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT

Book 2 TIGER TIGER

Book 3, CAT’S CRADLE

 

The Persis Chronicles:

Book 1 EMERALD FIRE

Book 2, EMERALD KEEP

 

The Emerald City Shifters:

Book 1 SEALED BY FIRE

Book 2 SEALED BY MAGIC

 

Other Fun Stuff:

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora

Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Taurus and Taurus (NSFW) | Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Writer Zen Garden:  The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Twitter | Meetup

National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo | ChiWriMo | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

NGW Group:  Nice Girls Writing Naughty | NGW FB | NGW Twitter

Join me on Saturday, when we read an excerpt from on of A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder’s books. ~Tina