Thursday, October 20, 2011

Retreat to Writing

So I'm lucky enough to be sitting at a writing retreat at Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Which is a great thing since I'm way behind in working my next book. I belong to a fantastic online writing group, and we decided that it was time we get together and work our collective magic. When we arrived, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the picture on the left blew my mind. Then I hunkered down at a picnic table to do a little writing with this same view, and what a dream.

Earlier today we sat for a fantastic seminar by Lori L. Lake on character, including a piece on values in conflict. It was a way of looking at motivation for your characters that I hadn't thought of. Fiction really isn't a conflict of characters, it's a conflict of values that drives the characters.

If you take a character and ask them what nothing is more important than XXXXXXXX, you can determine the values of your characters. In my book, BINGO BARGE MURDER, my main character, Shay, values her friends and relatives. She'll go to bat for them to excess if the situation calles for it. She values homesty and loyalty, and will go to the wire for what she believes in.

Shay's best friend, Coop, values the environment, his friends, animal rights, and staying out of jail. Eddy, their elderly confidant and friend, values Shay and Coop, Law & Order, adventure, poker, personal integrity, and a big dose of common sense. JT, my detective who's after Coop, values bringing the bad guys to justice, her cappucino, and her intuition. Bring them all together and you have a big old messy conundrum. I'd never thought of conflict in this way, and I have to say it was quite a revelation.

So we ended the lessons of the day and I went back to checking out the sights. The rest of these pictures are, to me, a little piece of heaven that somehow calms my soul. And kicks in my exploring gene. I better make darn sure I write profusely while I'm here, and maybe the reeds, sand dunes, and crashing, rolling, heaving waves help. If nothing else, it's one hell of a breath of fresh air!


Darrell James said...

I'm jealous, Jessie! Could use some rolling waves to get my imagination churning. Enjoy! But don't forget to write!

Cricket McRae said...

OMG -- are you at the Oregon Writers Colony cottage? (Cottage -- it sleeps, like, 12.) The one with "Illegitimi Non Carborundum" on the wall? It sure looks like it from the pictures. I'm pretty sure I've written at that picnic table.

If so, remember one of the upstairs rooms is haunted. ; > Enjoy your retreat!

Kathleen Ernst said...

Ooh, sounds lovely! I've always found getaways like this incredibly productive, and I hope you do as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about values, too--very timely.

Robin Allen said...

I'm jealous, too! I hope the power of the Pacific and the magic of sunshine push your book forward.

Alan Orloff said...

I think I'm going go book a flight right now! Hope the writing goes well, Jessie!

Jessie Chandler said...

Darrell, I'll send you psychic waves! And I am writing, 4747 words as of 2am last night. More to come!

Cricket, I'm looking at that sign right now, which roughly translated is don't let the bastards get you down! The head of the Oregon Writers Colony, Marlene Howard, is here for a couple days attending the seminars as well. She said she thinks they've banished Tom the ghost, for now, anyway!!!!

It's just awesome here!!! When we're you around the area? That's too cool!

Kathleen, the values thing was one was of thinking about themes and the like that I'd never considered. This experience has been fantastic, and we still have three days to go!

Jessie Chandler said...

Robin and Allen, we need a MI retreat here!!! This place is excellent and quite conducive to the muse!

Jess Lourey said...

It's gorgeous, Jessie! You are so so so lucky!!!

Vicki Doudera said...

Beautiful spot to do some quality work. Good for you, Jessie!