Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Amazing


Those of you nice enough to follow my blog know that I was missing in action last week. I had the opportunity to attend the Highlights Novel Workshop at the Highlights Foundation in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I didn't know what to expect, but the week was . . . Amazing!


Amazing and interesting participants with amazing stories guided and mentored by amazing teachers (well-published authors as well as an editor). We met for the first time on Sunday afternoon and spent the following five days getting to know each other and helping each other work through structure problems, plot snags, character issues, pacing situations, etc. with the novels we submitted to the workshop. Each person turned out to be supportive and encouraging of everyone else from the first moment of that very first meeting. Amazing.


The days included one-to-one mentoring for each of our novels, workshops on craft, time to apply what we learned to our novels (helping each other along the way), group critique sessions, group time where we wrestled with each other’s novel problems, and a few hours here and there for quiet writing in our cozy cabins. As an added bonus, we all had a blast together laughing and sharing our lives beyond writing. In summary: A week of writing and revising and talking shop and life with kindred souls. Pure bliss. As I might have mentioned—amazing.


As if all of this didn't make for a spectacular week, the staff of Highlights was amazing, too--friendly and eager to please. The kitchen crew in particular spoiled everyone rotten with delicious meals and snacks. And all of this amazing-ness took place in a rustic, wooded setting complete with trails for hiking and random,

happy dogs ready and willing to join a long trek through the woods. What more could a writer ask for?

The novel that I brought (the one that had me boggled and blinded) now has a focus and is back on track. I have a sense of knowing and confidence about what it is and what it is meant to be, in addition to new insights to apply to the rest of my work. Thank you to everyone involved in the Whole Novel Workshop at the Highlights Foundation.


If you’d like more information about The Highlights Foundation workshops, here’s a link to what is being offered at this point: http://www.highlightsfoundation.org/fw-sched-preview/ If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them, either here or via a personal message (you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or via my website).


Anyway . . . Enough about me and my week. How was your week?



56 comments:

  1. I heard those workshops are amazing! Lucky you to concentrate on writing in such a great atmosphere!!

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    1. I really was (am) lucky, Kelly. It was a great experience. : )

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  2. I'm so glad you had a wonderful (or should I say amazing?) time. :) What a beautiful setting to recharge and refocus. I need to do something like that someday.

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  3. Wow, sounds like you had a great time! Love the pictures.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. It wasn't easy getting my doggie walking pal to pose. : )

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  4. Why, I had an AMAZING week, too! :-)

    (But this week, I keep waiting for appetizers and the wine box around 5:30. Somehow, I worked better with that little perk.;-)

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    1. Ha! So true! Returning to reality has been a little rough in that way. And can I just admit that my cooking isn't quite as yummy as those appetizers and meals the ladies in the Highlights kitchen put together. *sighs*

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  5. One of my crit partners attended that workshop in a past year. She had nothing but high praise. Sounds like you had a fabulous and productive time. Well done!

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    1. I talked to a lot of people before I signed on for this workshop and I heard nothing but enthusiasm and praise. Thanks, Tricia.

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  6. Thanks for sharing Cynthia. I love getting inspired by nature when I'm writing. It looks like an awesome place!

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    1. And I think it will be even more beautiful as spring kicks in, Victoria. Nothing was in bloom yet, last week, but the mountain area was still lovely.

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  7. Welcome back! Glad you enjoyed the workshop, sounds like a great event.

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  8. Yay! Welcome back!! Oh wow it sounds so so so amazing! Glad you had a great inspiring and wonderful time! And with gorgeous doggies too! Take care
    x

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  9. Thanks, Old Kitty. That dog really was a cutie. He kept me company for the entire hike--and he ended up very, very muddy. : )

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  10. That really does sound like a great writer's getaway. I always feel recharged and inspired after attending a conference.

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    1. Hi, L.G. Thanks for stopping by. I love conferences, too. It's great that there are options for recharging those writing batteries.

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  11. I KNEW you'd have good time and learn a lot. This is one workshop I'd REALLY like to take one day. Welcome back.

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    1. Thanks, Bish! Something tells me you'd love one of these Highlights workshops. : )

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  12. Excellent!! Glad to hear you got your focus back. That workshop sounds fabulous, and I'm glad you got to go! I always love going to conferences and retreats and such. :)

    Hey, I left a meme award for you on my blog, if you'd like to participate:
    Artzicarol Ramblings

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    1. Thanks, Carol! I'll come on over to your blog. : )

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  13. Glad you had a great time and feel refreshed. There's nothing like hanging out with writers for a long weekend to help bring your focus back!

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    1. So true, Loree. We were together for a week, so you can imagine the energy.

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  14. Sounds like an incredible experience. How wonderful!

    I'm feeling distracted this week. I'm a little overwhelmed by my WIP, and so I keep finding other things to do (like being here right now) when I should be writing. Maybe I need to take my doggies for a walk ;)

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    1. Feeling distracted is no fun. Dog walks are great therapy, though, I think. Wishing you focus!

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  15. I am SO jealous!!! In a good way. It sounds fabulous. A whole week! Wow. I'm really happy for you.

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    1. It really was fabulous, Lisa. Thank you!!! : )

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  16. Oh it sounds and looks fabulous! All except for the dog :)
    Possibly a little far for me to travel.
    Xxx

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    1. It would be a long haul for you, Michelle. About twenty-four hours, I think. Eeek.

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  17. That does sound amazing! I love cabins, woods...and dogs. Put writers in that mix and that makes it even better. Glad you got help with your WIP.

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    1. Thanks, Janet! Everything came together to create the perfect mix.

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  18. Cynthia, no FOOD pics? I'm SO disappointed. Ha, ha. I knew that you would have a great time. So glad that you enjoyed it and find the inspiration and guidance to get your novel back on track.

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    1. I should have shown some food pics, but I'm not sure the camera could do the meals justice. Wow, were we spoiled! Cooking on my own again was a little disappointing, to say the least. : )

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  19. Sounds wonderful! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  20. The workshops where you get inspiration and feedback are always the best. Glad it help and you enjoyed it!

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  21. I'd love to go to a getaway workshop like this!

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    1. Lydia, it's a fabulous getaway for a writer.

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  22. That's awesome! Glad to hear it was fruitful! You were pretty darn close to me. I didn't know about that event at all or that it was only an hour or so from where I live!

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    1. Only an hour away? Oh, then you definitely need to check out the workshops, Lisa. It's a beautiful drive, too.

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  23. I'm so happy you had such a wonderfully amazing experience!

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    1. Thanks, Carol! There were some fabulous folks from Texas there, too. ; )

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  24. Looks like an amazing workshop! I've never been to one, but something I am interested in. I love to meet other writers.

    Thanks for sharing this experience!

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    1. You are most welcome. Thanks for stopping by and following. : )

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  25. Oh my, this sounds fantastic in every way. And a week really gives you time to feel like you've "retreated." I would love to write in a cabin like that.

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    1. The cabin turned out to be a great place to write, Marcia. I had a few doubts at first, but it turned out to be a cozy writing spot.

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  26. It sounds like an amazing time...great guidance and an amazing setting. I'm glad you got a lot out of it.

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  27. That sounds like a week of heaven! I'm happy that you had a wonderful time. It looks like you got so much out of your trip!

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    1. It was a week of heaven. Thank you, Adrienne.

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  28. Sounds like this was a great week for you. I'm sure you'll attack your work with renewed energy. Same old, same old in my neck of the woods. Getting some reading done too.

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  29. Well, I'm way late on this, thanks to my own internet hiatus, but wanted to say that it sounds like a great retreat. I used to live not too far from there, and I think it would be the perfect spot for a writing vacation.

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    1. Never late, Alissa! And yes, it was a great place for a writing vacation. Welcome back!

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