Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Writing Barn

Last weekend I ventured south to Austin, TX (with the lovely Bettina Restrepo as my traveling partner) to attend Sara Zarr's Advanced Writing Workshop on Emotional Pacing at the Writing Barn. What an amazing experience! Thought I'd share some photos (click to enlarge) . . .


The Writing Barn is situated in a large, wooded plot in south Austin. When we arrived for the mixer Friday night there was a magical atmosphere to the place. Cool and misty with a herd of deer wandering about -- like something out of a fairy tale. (Sadly, the herd eluded my camera.)


Here I am mixing it up with Samantha Mabry and Sue MacLeod. (You can see more photos from that night--all taken by Sam Bond of Sam Bond Photography--on the Writing Barn Facebook page.)


Saturday morning started with a lecture on Emotional Pacing from Sara Zarr. (One little tidbit from Sara's lecture as written in my notes: "It helps to have some understanding of human psychology, for this can deepen the story. Co-dependent No More is a great craft book!" Who knew? I'm definitely getting a copy.)


Sam Bond's photo of Sara Zarr truly captures her sassy charm, don't you think? I already had an author crush on Sara--I adore her books--but now I know how warm and funny and REAL she is in person. Yay!


After lunch we gathered for the afternoon workshop. Oy. This is where I confess that I've never truly workshopped a piece of writing before. I have critique partners, of course, and we get excellent work done, but we've all known each other for years and are comfortable giving feedback. I'd never done this with people I hadn't met before. Each piece was allowed 30 minutes for discussion, starting with positive feedback and then transitioning to concerns and suggestions for improvement. Intense! And incredibly illuminating. (The workshop continued all day Sunday.)


Our esteemed hostess, Bethany Hegedus, took this photo. We are standing on the site of a future building that will house eight people for a writing retreat. As Christina Mandelski said, "If you build it, they will come!"

I'm certainly planning a return to the Writing Barn. Thank you, Bethany and Sara!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

9 comments:

  1. Oh, that looks wonderful, Sonia! And congratulations to brave you for submitting a workshop piece!

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    1. I guess I was a little brave? But everyone else seemed much more confident. I will work on this. :)

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  2. What a wonderful weekend! I'd like a barn only if I could write in it.

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    1. I'd like a barn only if I could write in it.

      YES. Me, too. I'd like to order up a miniature Old English tithe barn, well insulated and fitted with electricity and air conditioning. No wifi, no phone. That would be perfect!

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  3. This sounds like such a fun and inspiring experience! I hope that you got lots of inspiration for your next story!~

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    1. I did get a lot of inspiration, thanks! Wish I could teleport there whenever I wished. :)

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  4. Wow - what a neat experience! Did you have to send a piece ahead or did people read it while they were there?

    And thanks for passing on the "Co-dependent No More" tip - sounds interesting.

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    1. We sent the pieces ahead. So each participant had 300+ pages to read before we got there!

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  5. So how did you hear about this?
    Translation: I want to go to there
    Do they do quarterly retreats? I'm loving this concept!

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