Recharge Winter Writing Retreat: Day Two

writing retreat

Day Two of the Recharge Winter Writing Retreat and in real life it’s snowing. AGAIN. Thank goodness it’s summertime at my virtual retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains!

icebreakerToday’s icebreaker: What is your favorite place? It can be a travel destination, a room in your home, or your favorite used bookstore/coffee shop.  What do you love about it?

It’s a tie between my bed and Disney World. Both are the happiest places on Earth where magic happens. I’m usually in both places with The Roommate. What’s not to love?

Today’s topic: SETTING. Sometimes, I really suck at this. In my head, the worlds my characters kick around in are so vivid. Unfortunately, this frequently isn’t reflected in my writing. As I’ve gone through revisions, a lot of time has been devoted to eliminating the “data dump” (as Sara so accurately described it) and adding descriptions and details that add necessary context while making the story more visceral.

One of our writing exercises was to rewrite a scene in our WIP with more descriptive details. Remember, the key word is “WIP”.

Here’s the original:

All of my favorite hiding places are still locked tight, so I slip into the cafeteria.  Most days I don’t have the energy for it, so I go off campus or eat in the library.  But the sun’s just barely come up, and as the warm oranges and reds streak slowly across the sky, I think about how nice it actually is in here when it’s empty.

Here’s the rewrite:

I head for the cafeteria. It’s quiet except for the rumbly knocking of the ancient heating unit. Through the large bank of floor-to-ceiling windows stretching across the length of the room, streaks of orange and red criss-cross the sky as the sun rises. It’s nice in here when it’s empty. Nobody’s getting tripped or having lunch trays knocked out of their hands. No nasty looks or whispered gossip. No one’s tossing food at the dorks or plotting on infiltrating the cool kids’ table. Instead of a social minefield where one wrong step can ruin your life, it’s just a place to eat.   

Whew. That was hard work. Slowly, but surely, it’s getting there! 

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