"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On Writing and Friendship

Last week I had the most wonderful privilege of spending seven days on Virginia Beach with nine other women authors, writers from a variety of genres, all persons of great talent and generosity.  Some of them have been participating in this retreat for almost ten years now. I was a newbie, and the only person I'd met as of a week ago Saturday was Terri-Lynne DeFino, author of Finder and the soon-to-be-released A Time Never Lived.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, beyond having a lot of time to write.  And I did write, about 5000 words, including new and reworked chapters for High Maga, the companion novel to Eolyn.  The new material included some of the most climactic moments of the novel.  I am beginning to witness how events have transformed my characters in deep and lasting ways; and I am coming up against the final fates of some of my favorites, which has me sad in the bittersweet sense of the word. 

I estimate I have about 15000 to 20000 words to write before I finish the manuscript; within that the final battle sequence, which for a long time has been a terribly imposing mountain on the not-so-distant horizon.  But as of last week, the dreaded mountain has been transformed into just another ridge to hike across, another piece of the landscape to enjoy.  Not because writing a battle sequence has become any less formidable a task, but because something about being with this exceptional group of women has inspired my confidence and renewed my sense of trust in the journey of writing.

A year ago when Eolyn was launched, I found myself reflecting on all the wonderful and talented people that became a part of my life as a result of writing my first novel. Now after a week of working on my second novel in the company of nine amazing women, I am once again marveling at the way friendship is born of storytelling. 

Writing is not just about word counts and deadlines. It's not even just about the story.  Writing is a path that takes us to new places, opens doors to the exploration of different worlds, in our lives as well as in our imaginations.  Most fundamentally, the journey of writing is about the people we meet. Our stories create community.  They connect us and bind us to each other, and send us toward a happier future that for all its uncertainties, promises never to be lonely.

Stop by Heroines of Fantasy this week to read Terri-Lynne DeFino's post on coming home and saying good-bye, also inspired -- in part -- by our week at Virginia Beach.