Thursday, June 1, 2017

Retreating In Order to Move Forward

by Sparkle Abbey

To retreat is an act or a process of withdrawing. At least according to our handy Merriam Webster Dictionary app.  However, it has also come to mean a place you go to get away from it all. A place to relax, reflection and recharge.

This past weekend we participated in a different kind of retreat. This was plotting retreat with three other writers - the members of our critique group. We try to do this at least twice a year. It's especially helpful at the start of a new project.

We started with a great dinner and discussion Friday night and then Saturday morning after breakfast we were ready to go. Each writer gets a two-hour time slot where we all focus on their story. Although we call this a plotting retreat, it's up to the individual writer how their two-hour session is used. It may be actual plotting, or help with a story problem, or perhaps just brainstorming. There's a wonderful synergy that happens when we put our five heads together.  It's intense, it's productive, and it's also great fun.

There are several tools that we've found work well for us - a big whiteboard, flip charts, markers, reference books, and, of course, plenty of chocolate!

We been doing this for several years and at this past weekend's retreat we worked on the plot for the 10th book in our Pampered Pets mystery series. We think you'll enjoy what we've cooked up this time!

What about you? Have you ever attended any kind of retreat?

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets--Sparkle (Mary Lee's cat) and Abbey (Anita's dog). If you want to make sure you're up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates at

By the way, beginning today the 5th book in Sparkle Abbey's mystery series, FIFTY SHADES OF GREYHOUND is on sale for only $1.99 for a limited time in all ebook formats.

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