My head is reeling. I'm not able to write. I'm buzzing with ideas and new thoughts about how to fix my story.
For four almost five days I have been at a writer' retreat in Matera, Italy. This was not your normal writers' conference- no way. We were 18 people plus Christine Witthohn, literary agent par excellence, leading the charge. It is a tad hard to explain the dynamics. Christine gave many pearls each day, but the essence was each of us.
We presented our current work and for nearly an hour (for each of us!) the entire group brainstormed the project. Why this? Why not that? What if...? Tell me what you were thinking when you decided that....? Had you considered? I love this, but truthfully, that doesn't get me excited. What does this mean from an industry point of view? What really is your genre? If you are a cross-over, how would you market this? What is the best way to enter- traditional print or e-pub? The questions and comments went on and on.
This was nothing like I've ever attended before. Some people shared huge imaginary worlds. Some shared new takes on given stories. Some told tales of their own lives that would make you cry and reach for a tissue.
Every single person shared, laughed, and joked later about the silly things that emerge when spending so much time together. But, I left with many new ideas for my book and the next one to come. I also left with a reconnection with old friends plus the grand addition of new writers who will make a difference in my world. This was an international group, an important component.
Christine, you were fantastic. If you happen to read this, please know that you should be very tired. No one could have been more supportive, more rigorous about the quality of our writing or more ready to help each of us figure out the right path.