To learn how to turn the fiction writer’s worst enemy into her best friend! The Blank Page sits there, staring at you; it sits there, daring you… But once you’ve filled it with a memorable scene, it transforms into your best friend. By the end of the Retreat, you’ll be well-armed to handle that blank page every time you face it! Though we do address the Blank Page in my other programs – Classes, One-on-One Teaching, Workshops, and Mentoring -- the Retreat is uniquely qualified as an environment in which to learn this magical lesson:
Zephyr Shore, the most inspiring location of this retreat.
The Circle of supportive women who share your love of writing fiction.
The seven days and nights we spend together, enjoying our writing, our meals, our personal time, our shared laughter, all our surroundings.
Filling the Blank Page Most of our work together involves the two of my three proprietary teaching techniques that address the Blank Page:
What If ?℠
Open the Door... And Your Characters Will Walk Through℠
“What If ” lets you give free flow to your imagination, so plot comes pouring out. You don’t have to fill in any details. You don’t have to write anything down. You don’t have to judge whether readers will like it. Ideas are free! Let a dozen, two dozen, pour out. You’ll decide you love just one of them. And one is all you need! Suddenly, it’s ever so easy to fill that blank page with one scene after another, all because one of your “What If’s” seemed just right for you.
But robots don’t carry your plot forward, human characters do. Where do you meet them? Must they be modeled after someone you know? I think not!
Just open the door, and wait. A crowd comes streaming through. And there she is! She interests you. Why? Take her as she is. No need to change her (not yet, anyway!) Interview her. Learn everything there is to know about her. And because she’s not a robot, but a very real human, she’ll tell you the ins and outs of the plot idea that arrived yesterday. She’s doing the opposite of what you thought you’d have her do? That’s great, because it’s her plot, not yours. The “What If” just got you started. You can remodel it anytime you want. And when your characters have taken your plot over, then everything is as it should be. Sit back and enjoy the ride! Now it’s not so hard. Writing one scene is so easy, compared to developing characters and plot. Amid all the What If and Open the Door work we do during the Retreat, we’ll still pay attention to the Five Ingredients of the Scene in what we’re writing, but that’s not the main goal of the Retreat.
You’ve got your characters and you know where they’re headed. To start on your scene, pick the point of view, write dialogue, paint with words to create just the right mood, and pace the action to add dramatic tension. Off you go! (Are you a fast enough typist to keep up with the flow?) Your scene’ll be done before you know it! What was that about the Blank Page? Bring on the next, you'll say! And when the Retreat is over and you’re back home, you’ll know exactly how to face down that Blank Page, because you’ve done so for seven straight days working within our Circle of women writers at Zephyr Shore in Bar Harbor.
All of this is what you’ll experience and learn during the Retreat.
To read testimonials from past retreats, click here.
To get a feel for how we work in our Circle each day, click here.