There was no writing update last week because I was on a boat, attending the awesome Writing Excuses: Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat 2015.
The thing of it is, I didn't get all that much writing done. My wonderful wife kept pulling me off the ship and into her vacation.
If I were so inclined, I could try and make a big sarcastic stink about how I wanted to stay in our stateroom, or just on the ship in general, and tap-tap-tap away at the keyboard. But I'm not, so I won't.
After a day at sea, which I spent attending lectures on Description (in the morning) and World Building (in the afternoon), watching the Writing Excuses team record several episodes (attached pic), and having a fifteen minute "breakout session" (with Writing Excuses host Dan Wells) that helped work out some plotting issues with my "Big Project" outline, the lady love and I disembarked for day in Labadee, Haiti. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)
What neither of us knew was that Royal Caribbean, the cruise line our retreat was using, had leased a long stretch of land from the Haitian government. One that was not connected to the actual town of Labadee, at all.
While we did see the town of Labadee, Haiti from a distance, during an enjoyable boat tour, we were never able to make it over to the town itself. It seems the locals have refused a direct road connection with the resort location, as doing so would take away income earning jobs from the town's water taxi drivers. With Haiti plagued by 80% unemployment, no one wishes to deprive anyone of a much needed income source.
The evening retreat lecture was on Revision (Spinning Straw into Gold). That night I also got in on a game of Eldritch Horror and was the first to die. That kept me from staying up to the wee hours of the morning.
Day three we docked at Falmouth, Jamaica, where we did a great deal of shopping. We also went on an excursion that had us walking up the Dunn's River Falls. That was certainly a unique experience. One everyone in our group knew would be impossible to do in the United States.
The evening retreat presentation was supposed to be another Writing Excuses recording session, but technical difficulties, time zone mishaps, and assorted personal issues turned it into a fun question and answer panel.
Day four we docked at Georgetown, Grand Cayman. There we visited the small town of Hell, got to see a turtle breeding farm, and, most awesome of all, waded with sting rays in the crystal clear waters off of Grand Cayman.
The evening retreat functions were small group breakout sessions, mine focused on characterization, and, because it was the second "formal night" of the cruise, a cos-play cocktail party.
For some strange reason, call it a mixture of fatigue and my Brain Mouth becoming overstuffed with lobster tales*, I was not in the mood to snap pictures of the costumed attendees. Good thing a group photo was taken of the attendees and instructors that night.
Our last docking was Cozumel, Mexico. There we went out to the Mayan ruins of Tullum. I don't know what was more breathtaking. The oceanside vistas, or the oppressive heat and humidity. (Let me also say that this was our third or fourth excursion exertion in oppressive heat and humidity, we were getting overheated and overtired.)
The evening retreat presentation was a recording of the Writing Excuses podcast. Later that night, after dinner, I enjoyed several raucous games of The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. Great fun, big laughs, late night. (Well, late for an aging fart like me. The younglings have a bit more stamina.)
Saturday was a sea day. Battling exhaustion, from the combination of active excursions and staying up late playing games, I attended two and a half lectures. The first focused on structuring story, the second was on how to best juggle multiple character viewpoints, and the half lecture was on dialogue. How was it a half lecture? Well, it was just after lunch and, getting blindsided by a dose of food coma, I dozed off during the lecture.
As much as I would have enjoyed attending the giant question and answer with the cast of Writing Excuses, I needed a nap. We did make it to the Farewell Party that night, though.
And then it was pretty much over. We returned to Fort Lauderdale the next morning, where we spent the day with a retreat attendee we had become friendly with, before catching our evening flight home.
Because the Writing Excuses hosts warned us all that writing could/would prove difficult in the coming days/weeks, I spent time on the flight, and on Monday, organizing and transcribing all of my notes from the various lectures. It was a great way for my Brain Mouth to chew up all the intellectual lobster tails it had been stuffed with during the retreat.
What little writing I did during the retreat consisted of tinkering with my "Big Project" outline.
After running out of notes to organize and transcribe I spent a few hours trying to reshape the jumbled mess of ideas my outline had become. Tired of it all, I threw my hands up and just started writing the damned thing.
Tuesday: 208 words. Wednesday: 300 words. Thursday: 415 words (not including the 875 word first draft of this post). Friday: 608 words (not including the additional 85 or so words added to this post during rewrites and polishing).
I hope the upward trend in word count continues.
Oh, and Querida got rejected.
*Pun. I know it's supposed to be tails.