Sep 212016
 

During an open critique session, the facilitators discussed those much maligned creatures known as the flying body parts, aka the wandering body parts and the animated body parts. They mocked them, giving humorous examples, and everyone laughed on cue.

I felt so sorry for those poor body parts. What have they ever done to invite such vilification? From my perspective, the obsession of so many writers and writing instructors aimed at preventing the use of common idioms and figures of speech is the equivalent of putting a straight jacket on the imagination of writers everywhere.

strait-jacket Continue reading »

Nov 042015
 

Lily Hill Farm

I participated in a getaway with a group of writers this past weekend. Ours was a different kind of weekend getaway—a working weekend getaway. The getaway part involved removing ourselves from the typical household distractions writers—women writers in particular—encounter on a daily basis. We left our homes and their distractions behind beginning on a Friday afternoon, and then our “Write In” began.

There were twelve weekend warrior writers in all. Once we arrived at Lily Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast, our huge yet cozy retreat venue for the weekend, the first order of business involved setting our writing goals for the weekend. Everyone’s goals were posted; there would be accountability. We were there to write and write we did. We helped one another too, doing a bit of brainstorming here and there. Continue reading »

Apr 292015
 

If you haven’t yet heard about Mid-Michigan RWA’s Retreat From Harsh Reality, you’re obviously not a member of Mid-Michigan RWA, or you’ve been stranded on an uncharted desert island for thirty years, or—perish the thought—you haven’t read the April 2014 Serious Whimsy blog post It’s Time to Retreat From Harsh Reality. If it’s the latter, tsk-tsk, for shame. It’s on the Recent Posts List. Redeem yourself by reading it now and then come right back here.

If you had to depart to read the 2014 Retreat post, welcome back and join this blog post in progress. Just kidding. I waited for you.

04-29-15 Blog Post 2 Continue reading »

Apr 102014
 

Jolana Malkston 4One of my favorite weekends of the year is approaching. On Friday afternoon, April 11, I will pack up my Ford Edge and follow its navigation system’s directions to Augusta, Michigan for Mid-Michigan RWA’s spring weekend writers’ retreat, the Retreat From Harsh Reality.

To put our Retreat into perspective for the male of the species, Retreat is the romance writer’s equivalent of Deer Camp, except that we have the use of indoor plumbing and we bathe and change our underwear daily.

Like Deer Camp, Retreat has a very relaxed dress code. Jeans and sweatshirts are fine. In fact, we don’t even have to wear makeup or style our hair if we don’t feel like it—so long as we are okay with starring as the Bride of Frankenstein in a YouTube video surreptitiously recorded on someone’s smart phone.

And like Deer Camp, we drink at Retreat. The weekend starts with a cocktail reception in the resort and conference center pub on Friday evening and then moves to the meeting room the resort assigns to us in the evenings for the duration of Retreat. It is there that we stash the snacks and goodies we take from home to share. It’s also where we keep the adult beverages of various kinds—but not for very long. We are writers, after all.

Again, like Deer Camp, writers love to talk about hunting—for an agent to represent us or for an editor willing to buy and publish our manuscripts. We always invite a successful guest expert to speak to us about the wide range of techniques we can use to improve our writing skills, which in turn enhances our ability to stalk and bag our prey. Some in our group have been known to entertain us with riveting tales of the big New York City editors they almost bagged but who somehow got away. So sad. After hearing those sorrowful tales, we all feel the need to break out and consume the adult beverages.

See, what did I tell you? Just like Deer Camp—a kinder, gentler, cleaner Deer Camp. 🙂

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