Monday, March 17, 2014

Writing Retreats, Part Dos

It's me again! I know, fancy meeting you here.

I'll just jump right in, shall I?

The second writing retreat I went to was in Poudre Canyon, up near the border with Wyoming. We stayed at Glen Echo, a campground with cabins and tent spaces. We were in the penthouse, which had three bedrooms, five beds, a sofa bed, and four couches. Five people rented separate cabins, but there were 10 of us in the main penthouse.

We arrived Friday. A friend and I drove up together. My GPS took us to some park then told us we were at our destination, so we made an executive decision to just keep going through the canyon and hope we found the resort. A fire swept through Poudre Canyon in 2012, so we were driving through some of the burn area. There was also evidence of flooding along the way, and construction was ongoing at one point. We were relieved to reach those construction guys, as we hadn't even seen an animal, mammal or bird, through the entire drive. In fact, I insist that I was promised mountain cows, and they were either not there or were hiding. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, we had to go over a cattle guard on the way into the canyon, and there were cattle crossing signs along the way, yet there were no cows. Not only that, but the road was through a canyon, steep sides climbing up on each side, with a river running by the road. Where were the cows supposed to be?? I really wanted to see mountain cows.

Aside from not seeing any animals or humans (until we ran into the isolated construction crew from Tremors), there was a cross made of wood lying on a rock we drove past. Perhaps part of a tribute of some sort, but there were no flowers, signs or other indications, plus, it was just laying there, so it was creepy. The construction crew would have been way better had they been missing, a bloody hat on the ground. I bet they're glad right now that they don't know I was wishing that on them. They don't know WHY they're glad. But they totally are.


I stopped and asked them if they knew where the campground was (I accidentally called it a resort. Hush, M.B. Also, I apparently spoke in an accent at first, without realizing I had. That's what happens when you throw around accents over the course of a three-hour drive). They said it was ahead, so we kept going.

At one point, a car finally pulled up behind us. It was the first sign of life other than the construction crew. We kept staring back at the car, trying to see if it was one of our writer folks. We never did ask him if he wondered why we were staring at him so intently. But I've just given away that it was, in fact, someone from our party.

The first night was just social time. There was a bar on the premises. Writers drink. A lot. Apparently. Just sayin'. The bartender had one arm; he was awesome.

Saturday, we had quiet time between breakfast and lunch, then lunch and dinner. We got a huge amount done. The same was true for Sunday, though I think some of us petered out a little before the end. Meals were social time, then bar time came at night, with Vern the one-armed bartender.

My personal stats were editing three short stories, outlining my entire WIP #1 (reverse outlining, so going through the already written novel to outline it and see if that helps me with editing), and I wrote 1700 words on a new short story. Those three shorts I edited are the ones I submitted last week.

The stats for everyone there were as follows:

15 Writers
66,762 Words Written
14,000 Words Eliminated in Edits
83 Chapters Outlined
5 Short Stories Drafted
10 New Scenes Created

Not too shabby, eh?

We got some lovely, steadily falling snow on Saturday. While it kept me from going outside to explore with my camera, it was delightful to watch through the window while writing.

Early Monday morning, around 4:30 AM, an alarm went off. I got up to look outside, and a light was flashing on the main building. It was the burglar alarm. I never did find out if they got robbed or not.

Well, that was my second retreat. It was good times, with fun people (despite the fact that I don't drink coffee OR alcohol, which puts me way on the outside of that writerly sort of thing, but hey, it's fun to watch drunk people.) A very different experience from my other retreat. I enjoyed both, albeit for different reasons..

Been to a multi-person retreat before? Did you get a lot done? Was it regulated some to insure writing time like this one? Would you do it again?

May you find your Muse.


  1. My local chapter goes on a yearly retreat but I've never indulged. Too much money with the kids in college. Sounds like fun and totally enjoyed the Tremors reference.

  2. I did one in Crestone when I first moved to Colorado, and I count it as the beginning of my serious writing. It was fantastic!

  3. I think that creating an outline after the draft helps if you need to move things around. I do it with my novels. It's different than a planning outline before you write. Whatever works.

    A writing retreat sounds heavenly.

  4. I've never been on a retreat like this, but I can see it being really productive Shannon. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I went on my first writing retreat in fall. I was such a newb; I had no idea what to expect and felt so out of my element. But now that I'm "seasoned" I hope I get another chance to go sometime. I know better how I'd make the time work for me.

  6. That was some writing progress!
    Tremors construction crew - nice touch.

  7. Since your post about part one, I have still not managed any kind of retreat.
    Now, I have to figure out what part DOS means.

  8. Oh my! I hope the building wasn’t robbed at all. Installing burglar alarms are really helpful in securing our places, though it can be distracting to our neighbors. At least they’ll be aware if a robbery is happening in their area. Anyway, you’ve got a nice retreat! I hope you’ll share more of your retreat experiences on your next posts. :)

    Troy Brown

  9. That. sounds. AWESOME!
    It is now my life goal to attend a similar writer's retreat!

  10. I don't drink either but seeing drunk people is hilarious. It's especially funny when they don't realize how drunk they are until you tease them about falling, they say they won't, and then they totally do.

  11. Hi Shannon. Writers retreats are so good. This one sounds very productive. I'm not doing the A~Z either.