Last weekend I took part in a fall writing retreat that was a first for me. Held at Lily Hill Farm, in a pretty much wifi free zone in the middle of southwest Michigan wine country, ten writers convened to do what writers do best: write, talk about writing, talk about lots of other things, eat and then write some more. I have to say it was great not to be bothered with the phone ringing or have to fight the lure of new TV shows and Facebook. I worked on self-edits on the finished book for a while and then added about 4,000 new words to the work-in-progress. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, and it isn't, but for a very sloooowwwww writer like me, well, I was happy.
The book I'm working on is a sequel, so I'm having to get back into the minds and hearts of characters that I haven't written about for a long time (I wrote the synopsis for this story a while ago, but like I said, I'm slow.) I also have to remember what I wrote in the first book and may actually have to go back and read it, just to make sure I get some things right. But really, the characters have never left me. I know them like I know my own family, maybe better, because they live in my mind and talk to me about things they probably wouldn't say to anyone else. I know their secrets, their hopes, their dreams, and who they love. I know what makes them mad and what stirs them to great heights. The hero especially is a complicated character who sometimes surprises even me. This is from a scene I wrote last weekend:
Yep, that's Chance, sometimes a pretty hard guy to figure out, but one who has been with me for a very long time. I only hope Casey and I can keep him on the straight and narrow in this book I'm calling Tetons by Morning.
On another topic altogether, and one that has nothing to do with the book or even writing (except the songs continue to inspire and the hero is another complicated man), I am looking forward to seeing my hero and most favorite singer Gordon Lightfoot in concert this weekend. In my own hometown! I don't even have to drive far. It's the second time he's performed at this venue, and I'm excited he's chosen to come back to little old Lake Michigan College in southwest Michigan. So that's where I'll be Sunday night, listening to the Legend as he continues to make his music on the Carefree Highway.