Whispering Pines is one of those retreats that fills up so fast, I usually never get to go. It is limited to 24 full time participants so writers really do get to know editors and agents on a first-hand basis. The retreat takes places in the Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich, RI, a setting perfect for the next Shining sequel. I was a bit terrified that I would get mauled by wild bears, but I managed to survive the wilderness and come away excited to work on my next project.
Here are a few highlights:
Newbery Honor Winner, Cynthia Lord, author of Rules, spoke on the craft of plotting. Plot is one of those things that scares me more than wild bears, but Cynthia made plot look as simple as baking cookies on a Sunday afternoon (ok that is a bad analogy because I really can’t bake either). Of course plotting is not easy, but a good author always makes it look effortless.
Alexandra Penfold, Associate Editor with Paula Wiseman Books, spoke about her revision process and some of the projects she is working on such as, The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer. She not only had everyone laughing until it hurt about her former life as a show pony, but also had many insights into keeping the child’s voice in your writing.
Connie Hsu, Assistant Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers regaled us with tales of how she got her start in publishing (she knows your pain!) and then jumped into “World Building” for Fantasy writers. I also loved hearing the background story behind a new journal style book by comic artist Stephen Emond, Happyface. This book is on my must read list.
Agent Rebecca Sherman of Writers House read us her hilarious acceptance letter and got down to business on what she looks for in a good query.
I also had the honor to speak this year and babble on about some of my history crushes. Thank you to everyone who stuck around to hear about Michelangelo's angst and my messy writing process.
If you would like to go to Whispering Pines then you should contact Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I am not sure if they accept reservations this early, but I have heard that they are getting an amazing line up next year and spots usually fill up in less than a week.
I am going to pick a winner for the giveaway tonight...more later.