Brain-storming Retreat

I have just returned from an annual retreat with a small group of girlfriends – all strong Christians, all writers.  We “pray, play and plot”.   It’s an opportunity for all of us to “talk shop” without boring everyone else around us. Since we’re all writers, we like to talk about writing, the writing life, struggles of writing, what’s happening in publishing, technology (some like to have the latest gadgets) and writing, writing, writing.  We sing.  Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.  Someone will start and the rest join in and we sound so angelic.  Well, not all of us.  I croaked along.  Others have good, but not fantastic voices. Thankfully, more than half of us are truly gifted and loud enough to drown out any pitiful warbling. 

We are a motley crew of writers; contemporary, historical, suspense, thriller.   We have one gal who is superwoman, writing, relocating a family, parenting, grand-parenting, caring for a grandparent, writing, speaking, starting an inner city ministry for at-risk teens, did I say writing?  Another gal could be called a Southern belle; gorgeous, sharp, witty, talented – has a great voice (as a singer and writer), has “big hair”.  I cannot picture her sitting demurely on a veranda sipping mint juleps.  Well, maybe, if she had a gun tucked in her belt.  We have an irrepressible editor/writer/agent with more ideas than a hive has bees.  Her brain buzzes.  I could hear it humming right next to me.  Prod her a little and they come flying out.  She’s not the only one who comes up with plot lines and characters, or has a life beyond her computer.  Ladies, if you’re reading this – I am in awe!  I have a new title for my current project – and several new characters complete with back stories, thanks to you.

We had hysterics while trying to plot a thriller.  (We have a very fine and popular suspense writer among us – who, I am happy to say, does not need our help.)  We got so confused at one point, we didn’t know who we’d killed off and what the “thing” was that had set off the “chase”.  But they all assure me that there will be a demented characters named Frani in the book. That made me laugh harder.  I gave up on offering any logical or helpful ideas and stuffed myself with chocolate chip cookies.  I ate peanuts and raisins and some taffy that kept my jaws glued shut. 

Each afternoon, we rested from our mental exercise and watched a “ship” being attacked by pirates on the lake below.  No, I am not imagining this.  I heard the cannons. 

I came home refreshed and fired up. 

And just a little depressed because it’s going to be a whole year before I can go to another slumber party with my girl friends. 

Anyone who would like to read or see more on the brainiac retreat, please visit the following:

Robin Lee Hatcher’s Comments on the retreat

Tamara Alexander’s Comments on the retreat