Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Writers Retreat Over
Thanks to Bev Huston, our guest blogger yesterday. Highly creative Bev is one of the three authors blogging for the character Bev Trexel on Scenes and Beans. No doubt this same first name thing is one of the catalysts for the Twilight Zone reality warp that Bev H. experienced over the weekend when she visited Simple Pleasures.
Today everyone has gone home, and the house is sounding mighty quiet. Over the weekend the eleven of us plotted nine books (2 of the participants aren't writing now, but still enjoy being a part of the group).
For those of you who might be thinking of forming a brainstorming group, here's how we handle the sessions. Each one was set to last an hour and fifteen minutes this year, although we went over on most. Maybe we'll go for an hour and a half next year. We did two in the morning with a short break in between, had lunch, then did a third for the day. By that time it would be 2:30 or so. Rest of the day was play time. This went on for three full days. Our brains don't get too tired this way, and each participant can come away with some solid ideas for the next book.
Each sessions begins with the presenter telling about her book--as much as she knows. Then we all discuss ideas of where to take the basic premise. This is when thoughts really pop and we can see the synergy of the group at work. Meanwhile the author is taking notes or typing into her computer to record the various ideas. As we continue discussing, these ideas tend to become honed and focused. We flesh them out further until we have the basic skeleton for a book. (Methinks that's a mixed metaphor, but you get the idea.)
After about an hour we're discussed out, and we then go to the "list." Each person lists suggestions of further details as the author requests. It may be particular scene ideas. It may be backstory motivation points. It may be ideas for subplots. Then we go around the table and read the ideas aloud. These written pages are then handed to the author.
The author leaves the session with plenty to build upon. It's amazing to see how well this process works when you get a group of creative novelists together.
Of course, around these work times (and during them) we eat a lot and laugh even more. Our devotion and prayer times are also wonderful.
Anyone out there involved in a similar brainstorming group? Let us know how you handle your sessions.