Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Novel Revision Retreat

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?

31 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like a productive weekend! Four people who could give you input is quite a blessing. Sorry, not read either of those two books - yet.

Talli Roland said...

Sounds like a great time, Susan! I love workshops and retreats - I always come away feeling energised and motivated.

Bish Denham said...

It's wonderful that you got to do to something that taught you so much. I have Novel Metamorphosis on my wish list at Amazon and I own Self Editing for Fiction Writers. Unfortunately I don't have the opportunity to go to many retreats. Sigh.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm so jealous right now!!! I've never been to a conference or retreat ... yet! One of these days! :)

DEZMOND said...

sounds like you had a practical weekend, Suzie :)

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I'm salivating! This sounds wonderful! I'm so glad you got to do this, Susan. What a great opportunity!

Happy editing!

Theresa Milstein said...

I have not heard of these books, but I'm going to look them up now. Thanks for the recommendations!

Glad your retreat was so beneficial.

Brian said...

How wonderful! I can tell you thoroughly enjoyed that experience!

Carolyn V said...

Sounds so great Susan! I love workshops. I need to plan another one. ;)

Rose Munevar said...

So glad I happened on your post! I'm currently revising my novel, AGAIN, and I've lost track of which number revision this is. I'll have to check out those books you recommended. Thanks for sharing your retreat experience :)

SueBE said...

I have to second Susan's recommendation, especially of Darcy's book. I've attended her workshop (was in Susan's group) and also used the book. Do it and you'll be amazed how many of these skills you start to internalize. Definitely worth the effort.
--SueBE

Darcy Pattison said...

Susan:
It was great to meet you! Everyone worked so hard, that I expect great things. When you win that Printz award, be sure to invite me to the award ceremony!

Darcy

kristinwoldennitz said...

I've used Darcy's revision workbook on two other projects, but I still learned a lot at the retreat as Darcy expanded, explained and analyzed. I was also in Susan's group and came away with a plan of attack for my revision.

Kelly Polark said...

That sounds amazing and so worthwhile. I just signed up for a local SCBWI conference so I am excited for that!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've read the other two books, but I hadn't heard about Darcy's book until now. Sounds like a great weekend. :D

Laura Marcella said...

What an experience! It sounds like it was a productive weekend. I haven't been to any retreats or workshops like this, but my creative writing workshops in college were invaluable. You learn so much sitting in a group of other writers, reading and critiquing each other's work.

Jai Joshi said...

This sounds like so much fun! I'm glad it was productive for you and that you're coming away from it so motivated and pumped up. It's this kind of workshop experience that I miss so much from my university days!

Jai

Lydia Kang said...

I haven't read any of them, but wow, what a fantastic structure and content for a workshop! So glad you found it helpful. :)

Quinn Cole said...

Workshops can be hugely helpful. Darcy is brilliant at helping writers polish their work. I just returned from the Mid-South SCBWI conference. Besides excellent instruction from a host of great editors, agents, and illustrators, everyone's combined excitement energized me!

nutschell said...

i loove those two books. I refer to them often when I'm revising. Sounds like you had an awesome retreat!

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never attended a workshop or retreat. But so many bloggers rave about them, they sound like a great opportunity to improve.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

This sounds amazing. I've read all three of those books and loved them. Attending a workshop with Darcy would be a huge treat.

Trisha said...

Sounds like it was a fabulous weekend! I've added those books to my TBR :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I'd love to read Darcy's book, as well as Lukeman's.

I haven't been at a workshop recently. I usually go to the local SCBWI ones. I've been meaning to go to a retreat.

Lynda R Young said...

Sounds like a great retreat!! I love attending those things. They are so inspirational.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, you sound so excited! You must have learned a lot!

I've read Noah Lukeman's book and really thought that was good. Need to check out those other books.
I'm heading to a conference next month and am really looking forward to some workshops myself.

Jackee said...

I can't wait to hear all you learned! I have Darcy's book and have been trying to go through it on my own. I can see where a group setting with it would be so much better. I've been meaning to read the other two books for awhile now. You have given me all the motivation I need! Thanks!

Marcia said...

This sounds fantastic. I have a friend who went to a PB retreat with Darcy, and she said it was top notch.

Trisha said...

Hey again - I tagged you in this meme thingy ;)

http://thefarseas.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/the-game-of-7s-meme.html

Cynthia Reeg said...

Susan,

It was great meeting you at the retreat and having the opportunity to read and analyze your wip. I see good things happening for you soon. :)
I second Sue BE and Kristin's comments, as well as yours, about what a great retreat it was. I'm plowing through yet another revision of my MG manuscript with all my group's thoughtful comments in mind.
Happy writing!

Cindy
www.cynthiareeg.com

Deniz Bevan said...

Sounds exciting! I'd like to attend a retreat someday, both for writing and editing!