Andrea here, thinking today about the joys of friendship and all the special ways it can enrich our lives. Here at the Word Wenches, we all write books that have friendship and love at the heart of our stories, though we play with those elemental tropes in our own individual styles. The beauty of friendship is that it has an infinite number of ways to weave us all together.
In our occasional blogs on craft, we’ve talked a lot about the solitary life of a writer, and how we spend a lot of time in the “writing cave” with just our characters for company. (Trust me, there are times I wish I could send them back to their own abode and get them out of my hair! But as with all friends, you quickly learn to love their little quirks . . .)
Now, the eight of us Wenches are scattered (literally!) around the globe, and though we rarely get a chance to meet in person, we talk every day via our private e-mail loop and have forged a very closeknit friendship with each other. However, when we realized that the recent RWA conference was going to bring a bunch of us to NYC for a few days, we began to plot some fun time together in real time!
First off, Anne, Mary Jo, Susanna and I did a joint panel for the conference. The plan was then to do a plotting retreat up in Connecticut where I live, using my place as the Wenchly hub. Pat flew in from California and Joanna hopped a train from Virginia. (Alas, Susanna couldn’t stay on for the trip north, and Nicola and Susan couldn’t get their own schedules to align. You will be hearing more about Nicola’s adventures very soon!) And off we went—five Wenches together in one place for three days!
As you can probably guess from the photos, there was much laughter and much wine flowing! And amazingly enough, there was much work that actually got done, too. Morning were for personal writing, then after lunch, we gathered to talk about the blog, and new ideas to keep it interesting and engaging for all of our wonderful readers.
But the heart of the gathering were the dinner/evening brainstorming sessions where we all took turns talking about sticky plot problems we were having in our WIPs, and getting suggestions for unraveling them. We all know each other’s writing very well, but we each create in different ways, so it was amazingly fun to watch the process of how we each deconstructed a story to find it elemental parts, and then offered ideas on possible solutions. (Joanna—usually a very gentle soul—was ruthless in killing off one of Pat’s characters . . .though she did use a napkin rather than a knife!)
Inspiration comes from hearing all sorts of ideas, and then finding the one little comment that suddenly sparks your ah-ha moment on how to make your story better. It’s impossible to convey how much fun we had together, and how much creative energy was whizzing through the air. But along with all the professional fun, we also had a chance to just kick back and yak about life together, share stories, and expand the bonds of our friendship through the personal interaction.
And we got the chance to celebrate some of Life's little moments with each other—Pat's birthday, Anne's new release, Marry In Secret, the arrival of the paperback edition of my Murder at Half Moon Gate. It was all such a joy, and we came away from the experience vowing to try to make happen on a regular basis—and with all eight of us! That will be a challenge, of course, given the distances between us and the demands of modern life. But we are going to try.
So what about you? Do you have a regular get-together with special friends or a like-minded group like a gardening club or book club? The Wenches are fantasizing about a writing retreat to Tuscany together. Where would your dream getaway be with your friends?