Tuesday, October 20, 2009

back to the magic

If you click on the above photo, you'll get a good idea of what it feels like (to me, now) to be writing a middle grade novel. I'm trying to create something just like this bejeweled web.

Because of a scheduling glitch (that we knew about before we went) we writers had to clear out of the mansion for 24 hours yesterday. I had 50 pages in hand of the work in progress, and was happy to close up the laptop shop, drive home for a mid-retreat visit with husband, kids, and menagerie.

I'll head back to the mansion later today, with my 50 pages marked up by my daughter, who I am discovering is the very best critic for a middle grade book. She knows the genre. And she is just enough past the genre to be truly objective. Maybe this is why it's taken me until now to write it! It's perfect timing to get excellent advice from a young reader.

Meanwhile, there are two cats curled up on my bed, a snoring Corgi-girl lying behind me, and out the window a painted pony eats hay in the front field.

Not to mention the trees have changed costumes since I left - we're moving further into fall.

(thanks to husband for his photo - from a recent photo-adventure in the mountains)


Michelle said...

How nice of you to share your 24 hour break with us, Billie! I have never gone to a writer's retreat before, but it sounds interesting - and highly productive! Hope you enjoy the remainder of it.

Grey Horse Matters said...

As always your husband has taken another wonderful photo. Your house sounds so peaceful and lovely too. Isn't it nice to have help from a daughter when you need the objectivity, she will be an invaluable source of help during the process of this middle grade novel I'm sure. I've always loved a critic who will be honest.

I'm sure you're anxious to get back to the retreat, enjoy your writing.

billie said...

Michelle, if you write, or maybe even if you don't, but would like to, I highly recommend a focused retreat to give yourself time to work w/o all the usual daily demands most of us have on our time.

I usually take 2-3 writing retreats per year. The time away, focused on my writing, both honors it and allows me to steep with whatever I'm working on.

billie said...

Arlene, I wish I had a scanner so I could show some of the pages with her notes.

My favorite comment so far was one from last night, which said simply:


LOL. She had given me feedback on something before I left and I guess I didn't heed her advice and did the thing again!

She's got a great eye for line edit issues, but also for pacing and inconsistency and loose ends.