This past week I had the privilege of meeting up with several other talented writers at a retreat in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We ate, drank and shared our work at the historic Hotel Colorado, nestled high in the Rockies near hot springs and hilltop caves. Not only was it a hell of a lot of fun, but I received extremely valuable feedback on my latest novel from sharp people who know what they’re doing. (The upshot: I’m on the right track, with some adjustments to story elements and handling of POV.)
This group of nine was a joy to work and play with. Perhaps best of all, our varied backgrounds and styles made for strong critique sessions. The authors represented a near even split of men and women with an age range spanning three decades, and the writing ranged from hard science based SF to historical fantasy to experimental with very little overlap. (It’s been suggested that one downside of critique circles is that everyone develops the same style; I think it’s safe to say that, given this cross-section, that ain’t gonna happen.) The setting proved perfect as well: great spaces for gathering and discussion, with no need for cars or other transportation to get around. The high altitude coupled with allergies were a bit rough on the altitudinally challenged (guilty as charged!), but we all suffer for our art, nyet?
Now I’m back at sea level and faced with the reality of the situation. I need to get this sucker done. I’ve got a good head start, 225 pages or so, and need one last push to finish it off before incorporating revisions. I’m tentatively hoping to finish this draft before the end of July, with an eye toward another revision by the end of August. Thanks to the Colorado sun and a bevy of talented peers, I’m well on the way.