Wow - what a weekend! I attended a local Novel Revision Retreat with author Darcy Pattison, and my head is bursting with everything I learned and all the ideas I have to strengthen my current wip.
The work for the retreat started a while ago. We read two books, The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman and Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King - both of which are fabulous and I highly recommend. We also read and analyzed the manuscripts of the other people in our groups. This was a real selling point for me: four other novelists who had read my entire 85,000 word manuscript and were prepared to discuss it - what a gift! And it really was. My groupmates gave me some incredible feedback that will be invaluable as I revise my novel.
But the group discussions were just one small part of the retreat. We all bought Darcy's workbook, Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise, beforehand. Darcy gave talks (I would say lectures, but that sounds boring and Darcy's talks were anything but boring!) over the subjects in the workbook. Then we had time to work individually - evaluating our own manuscripts based on what we'd just learned, and then we met with our groups and discussed each other's manuscripts. At the end of each lesson, we listed our priorities for revision. On the last day, we created an overall plan of revision incorporating the areas we'd previously identified as needing work.
There is so much more I could say, but I'll have to save some of it for later. For now, I'll just say that if you ever get the opportunity to go to a retreat with Darcy - grab it! If not, I recommend at least buying her Novel Metamorphosis workbook (available from Amazon or other online booksellers), possibly even putting together a group of fellow writers to read each other's manuscripts and go through the exercises together. And definitely check out Darcy's website.
How about you? Have you attended any workshops or retreats lately? Have you read Novel Metamorphosis, The First Five Pages, or Self Editing for Fiction Writers?