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Writing Excuses Retreat Recap

October 6, 2014

I have returned from the Writing Excuses Retreat and it was unbelievably awesome. I got to meet some amazing people, attend awesome classes from the podcasters, play with adorable dogs, and check off two major items on my bucket list. It was a good week. I don’t want to give you a blow by blow recap, but I will do a brief review.

IMG_6571First off, I had promised Dan Wells Maple Bacon Pecan Pie quite some time ago on Facebook. So, there was pie making before I left. (Pie will be a running theme.) I made two maple bacon pecan pies as well as 24 individual, vegetarian pecan pies. And no, that is not a distinction I ever thought I would have to make. Another one of the students also brought pie, so we started the week with eight pies.
Next, we learned about motivational pie. To earn desert you had to write at least 314 words per day. If you wrote 3142 words in a single day you got to go on the Pie List and request a specific type of pie for Pie Day, which was Saturday. We totaled out at 21 people making the list and 14 individual pie requests. The staff was baking all day and the pies were amazingly delicious. Motivational Pie absolutely works. I requested Chess Pie and the amazing Mary Robinette Kowal baked a Lemon Buttermilk Chess Pie for me.

Suspense with Dan and the rusty cleaver

Suspense with Dan and the rusty cleaver

The classes were awesome. We had:
Round vs Flat Characters with Brandon
Humor with Howard
Outlining, Revision, and Exposition Driven POV with Mary
Pacing and Building Suspense with Dan

Most of the rest of the week was writing time, which was fantastic. The campus was beautiful. It’s actually Mary’s family home, so everything was comfortable and welcoming. There were rocking chairs, gazebos, couches, tables… whatever kind of writing environment you wanted you could find.

We also had group breakout sessions. Mine was a short story critique with Howard. He and the other people in my group had some really helpful feedback on a story I’ve been working on for several years. I’m not sure what is going to happen with that story specifically, but it was great to get a professional’s perspective on my work.

The magic being made...

The magic being made…

The other special treat, aside from getting to hang out and chat with some of my favorite creators in the industry right now, was that we got to watch the casters record several episodes of Writing Excuses.
And then there was the night Mary had to be gone. And so…

I GOT TO BE ON THE PODCAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was, in fact, the special guest for an episode on “A Bookseller’s Perspective.” I think it will air sometime in March? Maybe? Even if it never airs, I know it happened. Other students took pictures. There is proof!
Which, brings me back to Emma Newman’s Three Wishes Project. She decided to try to crowd source some magic, so she had people post their wishes in the hopes that other followers could help make those come true. I posted mine in this blog.
My wishes were:
1. To have a piece of my jewelry worn at an awards show like the Hugos. Mary helped me out with that one last year.

The Writing Excuses Crew (sans Dan) at the Hugo's.  Photo from Wesley Chu's website -

The Writing Excuses Crew (sans Dan) at the Hugo’s. Photo from Wesley Chu’s website –

2. To finish a novel and have it critiqued by an industry professional. Stephanie Burgis helped me out with this one for a charity event. She was awesome!
3. To become an industry professional and appear as a guest on the SF Squeecast. So, it’s not the SF Squeecast, but I was on Writing Excuses as a guest, so I’m calling this one done!

That is three wishes that have actually come true. I’m incredibly lucky.

Here are a few more pictures from my magical week:

Mary and the murder gnome

Mary and the murder gnome

Buster, the official Muse Dog

Buster, the official Muse Dog

Moodusa, who is my Patronus

Moodusa, who is my Patronus


creepy spider webs… writing prompt?








I also got to take a couple of trips to McKay’s, which is a huge used bookstore in Chattanooga. I came out with two boxes of books. Most of them are for the library at school, but a I picked up a few things for myself. I’ll give you a rundown on those tomorrow.IMG_6577

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2014 8:46 am

    Like, like, like! So envious! Would really like to go to the next one. The Writing the Other Workshop and Retreat (same venue) was awesome.

    • October 6, 2014 9:02 am

      Are you in the alumni group on facebook?
      I really hope Mary holds the Writing the Other retreat next year. I really want to take that one.

      • October 6, 2014 9:16 am

        I’m on the WTO facebook group. Is there any crossover between the alumni groups?

      • October 6, 2014 9:39 am

        I’m not sure. There may jus be one group for each retreat.

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