A Writer’s Getaway

This week I’m up in my favorite place in the world, Maine! I’m staying in a beautiful little one room condo right on Wells Beach. The views are lovely and I can sit at the kitchen table and see/hear Mama Ocean right outside my window. I am feeling completely satisfied and deeply inspired!

This Patrick Shen quote really speaks to me because when I take the time to “retreat from the world” like this, I truly am able to see it (and myself, and my daily life) much more clearly.

So yes, I do plan a few of these writer get-away retreats—for me and me alone—throughout the year.  I make them a priority so that I have uncluttered time and space to write, to look at my life, to start and continue new and old projects.

Mostly, I come away to the ocean by myself to write, because I thrive on solitude, and I can actually hear myself think much better when I’m not surrounded by a husband and two cats and the full dishwasher and meals to prepare…etc.

This week I’m focusing on really diving into the minds and lives of the main characters of my next novel.  I am doing this by dialoguing with each one for several sessions. I begin such a dialogue by saying hello and welcoming them, and then I start asking questions so I can get to know them better.

I type the question, then I listen for their response, tap into their body language and gestures as well as their tone of voice and I type down what I “hear” in my imagination. Then I ask another question. It goes quite smoothly and I am OFTEN SURPRISED by an answer. Each answer leads to another question.

I did this near the beginning of writing Dragonflies at Night with the characters of Ben, Savannah, Deirdre Rose, Andi, Jade, and Tomás. 
It was an extraordinarily fun process, but it also gave me great insight into what the actual story was about. 

Now, the same thing is happening with this new novel, tentatively called “Angel Feathers” (although I’m probably going to change that once the story unfolds more clearly). So far I have conversed with 11-year-old Eva, her mother Tess, and Tess’s Aunt Kit. More characters to come: Eva’s 18 year old brother Micah, who just joined the Army, and Eva and Tess’s new neighbor Jasper. The whole story takes place in a little seaside Maine town called Seahaven. Can you see now how Mama Ocean inspires me even more?



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