To learn how to turn the fiction writer’s biggest challenge into her best friend! The Blank Page is the fiction writer’s highest hurdle. It 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, teleseminars -- the Retreat is uniquely qualified as an environment in which to learn this magical lesson:
Zephyr Shore, the most inspiring location
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
Most of our work together involves two of my three proprietary teaching techniques that address the “Blank Page”:
What If? SM
Open the Door SM
“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, humans do. Where do you meet these Characters? Must they be modeled after someone you know? I think not!
“Open the Door”, then wait. A crowd comes streaming through. And there she is! She very much interests you. Why? Take her just 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 soon be telling you the ins and outs of your “What If?” plot idea that only arrived yesterday!
She’s doing the exactopposite 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 any time 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 the Blank Page is not as hard as it had seemed. Writing just one scene is so easy, compared to developing Plot and Characters. Amid all the What If and Open the Door work we’ll do during the Retreat, we’ll still pay attention to the Five Ingredients of the Scene in what we’re writing, though that’s not the main goal of the Retreat.
Characters and Plot are best revealed through Scenes.
Scenes encompass five key building blocks (“Five Ingredients of the Scene”):
Point of View
And, when appropriate, Flashback
Now that you’ve got a handle on your plot and characters, let’s start on your first scene:
Pick the point of view
Paint with words to create just the right mood
Write some dialogue
Pace the action to add dramatic tension
Off you go! (Are you a fast enough typist to keep up with the flow?) Your scene will be done before you know it! What was that about the Blank Page? Bring on the next, you say! When the Retreat is over and you’re back home, you’ll know exactly how to face down that Blank Page, because you’ll have done so for seven straight days working within our Circle of women writers at Zephyr Shore in Bar Harbor.
This is what you’ll experience and learn during the Retreat.