Three days of Smokey Writers are now in the books. I did not achieve Monday’s word count heights yesterday, but it was still a satisfyingly productive day. I wrote 2,629 words on my new book. Essentially, one new chapter with two scenes.
After that, I dove into detailed edits of my ghost hunter novel. I recently hired the always-awesome K.T. Bryski to do a substantive edit of the book, and she did not disappoint. I was looking for constructive advice on how to improve it, and I got it. Therefore, a good chunk of yesterday afternoon was spent mulling over her critiques and rewriting certain parts. There is much left to do – one character may end up on the cutting room floor, I need to do some tweaks to setting, and the whole tone of the book needs revision. This is the perfect place to get started. The 6:00 readings last night were great. I was in a group with Tee Morris, Rosemary Tizledoun, Piper Drake and Amy Sisson. We heard some dark material and some that made us all laugh out loud.
Renee White and Chris Bupp are spoiling us silly with the food. They are spectacular cooks, and they’ve got me enjoying foods I never wanted to try. Exhibit A: Brussel sprouts with bacon. If you had told me a week ago that the first item on my plate that I would eat was brussel sprouts, I would have laughed at you. Last night, I dove into the brussel sprouts first – and then I went back for seconds. If writing is the heart and soul of this week, then Renee and Chris are the backbone.
Last night was pretty mellow. Several people crashed (relatively) early. Some of us did a slow boil in one of the hot tubs (side note: Make sure your iPhone is out of your swim trunks’ pocket before climbing into a hot tub. I’m very lucky my phone works today.) It was a night for good, long conversations.
One of the joys of this week is making new friendships and deepening existing ones. I’ve gotten to know Stephen Granade much better this week. He is extremely interesting to talk to. I have an old college roommate who is a middle school science teacher. I’d love to put him and Stephen in the same room, hand them each a drink, and listen to them talk about science for a few hours. I’m sad to see Stephen leave us this afternoon so he can deliver his talk in Atlanta tonight, but he’ll be back tomorrow.
I’ve also gotten to know Amy Sisson and Foo Borregaard, both very talented writers who can produce some wickedly funny stuff. Like me, Amy has lived in upstate New York, so we have that in common, and she’s married to a guy who works for NASA, which is cool beyond words. I’ve talked presidential politics with P.C. Haring. I’ve watched the moon rise over the mountains at night. I have zero complaints.
Today is a free day. There are no formal meals planned, people can hang out here and write or go into Gatlinburg and do the tourist thing. I spent the weekend in Gatlinburg, so I’m inclined to stay here and work. However, the Titanic Museum sounds interesting, so I’m leaving my options open.
We are sad today to be saying goodbye to Mur Lafferty, who delighted us all by being a last-minute addition to the group. Also, as mentioned above, Stephen is going AWOL for a day. On the bright side, we welcome Lauren “Scribe” Harris (listeners to The Geek Side of Life may recall a couple of interviews I’ve done with her.) Lauren is a dear friend, and it’s been too long since I’ve seen her. We’re all looking forward to her arrival.
So that’s day three. Time to launch my fiction writing for day 4. More updates tomorrow.