Sample Schedule: Two-Day Revision Retreat

We love to do longer workshops and retreats with writers, but work schedules and budgets can make these difficult. So we are pleased to offer this two-day mini-retreat, in a schedule created originally for retreats we did with the SCBWI West Central NY chapter in Syracuse, NY. It's intense, beginning after supper on Friday and running through Sunday afternoon, but it allows both for writing time and the presentation of our core revision curriculum.

The focus can be general, or addressed more to novels and chapter books or to picture books. One of us can do this on our own with a group of up to 15, or both of us can come for larger groups. This schedule is flexible! However, we have found that moving presentations to evenings and mornings creates sizable blocks of writing and critique group time.

In advance: submit manuscript for review and comments by faculty.

Student preparation: Bring 8 copies of up to 5 pages of your manuscript for sharing and use in exercises.

Meals at 8 AM, 12:30 PM, and 6 PM.

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Friday 7 PM - 9 PM – Reading and Responding Like an Editor: Some theory and practical consequences. Schedule review, introductions, and initial critique group set-up.

Saturday 9-10:30 AM – Getting Feedback from Others: Critique groups, beta readers, and children. "Focus questions" for critique groups.

Saturday 10:30 AM - 6 PM – Writing time, critique group time. Faculty has individual manuscript meetings and is "on-call" for critique groups.

Saturday 7 PM - 9 PM – Re-Imagining Your Manuscript: Creative strategies to help students generate new material, different approaches, and fresh ideas.

Sunday 8:30-10:30 AM – Big Picture Revision: Techniques to find and diagnose problems in a manuscripts.

Sunday 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM: – Writing time, critique group time. Faculty has individual manuscript meetings and is "on-call" for critique groups.

Sunday 1:30-3:30 PM – Tightening and Polishing: Methods to use to polish a final draft. Final questions, lessons learned, and goals.

Note – Additional writing time can be added in the afternoon if a later end time is practical.

This agenda is flexible, but we have found it to be productive. We offer it as an example of one of a number of possible workshops that we -- Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown -- can present to your group, covering a variety of topics and running in length from a halfday intensive to a week-long writing retreat.

What one student, a published author, had to say about taking a two-day retreat after having previously taken our online class:

"Even though I'd previously taken part in Harold Underdown's and Eileen Robinson's "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book" webinar series, I decided to attend a weekend-long retreat of the same name led by Harold.

"You might wonder why I spent the money to attend the retreat when much of the material covered was the same as in the webinar. One reason was that it was a weekend--Friday evening until Sunday afternoon--away from the demands of day-to-day life. I could think, write, talk craft with the other writers there. It was both energizing and centering for me. The combined energies of the participants is a strong creativity sparker for me, too--I came home refreshed and ready to get back to work.

"I would recommend this retreat to anyone--newbies or seasoned pros."

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