Last week, I got back from the most recent Villa Diodati workshop, this time in southern Spain on the Costa del Sol.
It. Was. Amazing.
We were in a big, beautiful vacation home a 10 minutes walk from the ocean. The sun didn’t stop shining, except for one morning when it took a while for the haze to burn off. I added a day on the front and the back before the other workshop participants arrived and after they left, and I thoroughly enjoyed the amazing writing venue.
We danced. No, really!
We even critiqued each other’s fiction. *g*
It might look like a party, which it was, but it was a writer party, where conversations continually revolved around writing projects, markets, marketing strategies, writing ideas, and words, words, words. I managed to finish the Big Fat Translation a couple of days before my flight, and the workshop was amazingly energizing. While I was there, Sylvia and I decided to take a shot at another collaborative story (during one of the many writing conversations), and since the workshop, I’ve gotten a big chunk of that done. I’ve also started analyzing the first draft of A Wasted Land and written a couple of new scenes. During the brainstorming session, I got some great ideas for the next book in the Glassmakers trilogy, and I started integrating those into my Scrivener file the next morning.
This workshop was a lot more informal than previous workshops. Normally, we critique in the mornings and do exercises in the afternoons. This time, we lazed around the pool or in the hot tub in the mornings, did our critiques in the afternoons, and had writing discussions in the evenings.
I put the first third of Recontact through the workshop, a collaborative novella I wrote with Jay Lake some time ago. While the feedback was largely positive, it has led me to the conclusion that I need to separate the prequel story and the novella proper after all. One of my beta readers also had problems with the change in style between what we had originally envisioned as the prequel story and the novella. And then during our marketing discussion, a number of markets were suggested for the novella that hadn’t existed when Jay and I first wrote it and sent it out to the few who would take 20,000+. All of which means I have a lot to think about regarding Recontact. 🙂
Naturally, we also played the Surreal / Surrealist Oracle, which has become something of a tradition at our workshop. (For instructions on how the game works, check out this blog post.)
A couple of interesting questions and answers from the Surreal Oracle:
Ruth: What’s your favorite orifice?
Sylvia: You really shouldn’t ask such a thing on a first date, ok?
Grayson: What would happen if GRRM found a small band of pygmies, all named Danyjon Targartron, camped in his back yard?
Jeff: The answer, as it is to most things, is hot chicks wearing styrofoam.
Steve: What’s the secret to a successful writing career?
Grayson: A bonfire will call the spirits, but you have to wear three pairs of underwear and shout “waha waha ooh” to get the bartenders to notice.
One of our evening writing sessions involved brainstorming a shared dystopian world that we all contributed story ideas to. I hope we’re able to follow through with it. I started my story (working title “Killing Twilight” and set in Forks, Washington) just after our first two members left us. Whether we will ever get around to doing the rest of the brainstorming, however, is another matter entirely. Now we are all back in our normal worlds, and there are many other things besides writing and writers clamoring for our attention.
But it was fun while it lasted. 🙂