Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Fellow chicks and loyal followers, this is my last post before I go on a six month hiatus from the Prairie Chicks. While I’ve loved blogging with the Chicks, and will undoubtedly miss it, I have to get my priorities a little more focused.
Kicking off my newfound attempts at re-focusing and re-prioritizing, I started with participating in the Saskatchewan Romance Writers fall retreat at Ancient Spirals. This is my second year attending the retreat, and this year I was rather looking forward to this yearly event. The combination of beautiful location, intelligent conversation and delectable food makes this retreat truly a treat.
When I arrived early Saturday morning, the group was already mid-stream on a critique session. Attendees provided a short excerpt (5-10 pages) of their current WIP, centred on the first kiss. Seven scenes were read, critiqued and discussed within the larger group.
Not only did I have eight other writers giving me suggestions and helping me solve dilemmas, I also had the opportunity to hear how other people work through their own writing barriers. With writing being such a solitary activity, most decisions are made alone and without anyone to bounce ideas off of. The brainstorming was wonderful, the debate about what would work and what wouldn’t was truly a wonderful learning experience.
While all of us have one commonality – that we have romantic elements in our writing – we are truly a diverse bunch. Our group encompasses everything from young adult, paranormal, fantasy, mystery, traditional romance, to chick lit, making our excerpts all extremely unique.
The day ended with some of us discussing the pitches we have prepared for the Surrey International Writer’s Conference in October. Again, I had the opportunity to hear what eight intelligent writers had to say about my pitch, how to distil it down to its essential points to come up with the perfect logline. As Hayley said: who is the character, what does he/she wants, and how is he/she going to get it.
So, as I bid you all adieu, I would like everyone to know that these last nine months of blogging with the chicks have been fantastic. Writing the blog posts has been a great opportunity to improve my writing, and reading the comments has been something I’ve looked forward to, for their supportive, intelligent, and sometimes thought-provoking feedback.
It’s been a blast, guys. I’ll be back to visit and comment. Take care, peace—out.


connie said...

Hi Joanne

First - your's have been excellent blogs in content and writing. You have an enjoyable style. It is sound and flows well.

I will miss your blogs but I know what you are saying. My priorities are all over the place too and I find myself writing a blog on the last night and not well enough to suit me but I am not sufficiently motivated to take time to do a more thoughtful, organized presentation.

Most of us admit to being burned out with regard to the blogs and I look forward to finding a way to carry on with new enthusiasm.

Followers: Would you be content with fewer blogs, or a rerun of the Best of the Chicks for several months? If we stopped altogether, would you come back, say, six months from now?

I look forward to your return Joanne - you have a lot to say and an admirable way of saying it.

Stephanie said...

Such a sad post, and still it is inspiring. Good luck with your pitch!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Joanne,
We're really going to miss you. You've been a great asset to the Chicks. We look forward to having you back, but the important thing right now is that you concentrate on your own writing.

All the best,

Helena said...

I would like to echo what the others have said, Joanne. It's been a joy to have you with the Chicks.

I fully understand your need to re-focus and define your priorities. You are such a good writer that your own stories deserve your undivided attention.

Look forward to lots of chats and excitement with you at Surrey!!

Karyn Good said...

You've been an excellent blogging partner and it won't be the same around here without you.

But decisions must be made and life and writing great books must take priority! Good luck!

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hi Connie,
Thank you for your wonderful comments. I'll be back to visit!

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hi Stephanie,
This is what the term "bittersweet" means.

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hi Jana,
It was so great to see you last weekend! I'll miss "seeing" you around the prairies!

Joanne Brothwell said...

Hi Helena,
Thank you! (I'm blushing right now). Looking forward to Surrey too!

Joanne Brothwell said...

It has been fun, hasn't it? I'll be sure to loiter around your blog!

Janet said...

I'm late in adding my sadness that you'll be leaving the Chicks (even if only for 6 months). But, as one who had to do the same thing, the reason you're a writer will benefit - stories will be written! Thanks for sharing your time with us, Joanne - and for some great articles. I'll keep up with you on your own blog :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

I'm going to miss you and your posts, Joanne. :(

Wishing you success. Looking forward to seeing you again sometime.