Archive for the ‘The Retreat’ Category

The Importance of Setting

In The Retreat on August 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

The setting of a story can play such an important part in the overall meaning that it becomes a character itself. 

Elaine and her home, Bentley and Beemmer, the redwoods, the food, and Russell at the end, they all played such powerful parts in the overall meaning of our retreat that they take a staring role. I stand before them in a clapping, rousing, thunderous ovation now and forever.


It was Elaine’s mentoring and guidance and superb organizational skills and joyous, generous nature that made the retreat flow and feel so effortless.

But there’s more, for me personally so much more…

Elaine changed my life upon meeting her at Capitola Bookstore during the final two in a series of three plot workshops. She listed some of the writing workshop leaders she had studied with, all of whom I hold in high esteem, and told me she was learning things with me she hadn’t heard from the others.

My heart soared for two reasons.

#1: One of the workshop leaders she named is the famed Robert McKee. I first learned about him upon seeing the movie Adaptation starring Nicholas Cage playing twins — one brother a literary writer, the other a hack writer. The hack writer  convinces his literary brother to attend McKee’s workshop. Since the moment I saw McKee (an actor) on stage during the on-screen workshop, my dream has been to do that. Be on a big stage sharing my passion for plot.

For Elaine to put me in the same company as Robert McGee gave me the sensation of sliding all the way across the entire checker board in one move and being kinged!

For Elaine to have found unique value in my work humbles me to my core.

Everything internally has shifted for me after that. A new peace fills me. I feel as if I have arrived and I can be me…

I’ll forever love you, Elaine. 

Aw, how come whenever it comes to anything to do with the retreat, I end up with tears in my eyes and a thick throat and a full heart…

Love to each of you.

Oh, and I expect you’re each getting back to writing now… Correct???

posted by Martha


Was It a Dream?

In The Retreat on July 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

The plot retreat was little more than a month ago and already it feels like a dream. Thanks to Sara and Lisa for their pictures. They are worth a 1000 words especially so because we share a personal story with each one.

When asked, I invariably describe the professional gratification of seeing all the plot planners decorated with bright scrapes of paper and colored pens. I follow with a pithy description of the Plot Planner I created for the event itself and 3/4 mark or the crisis point.

Always, I end with what kicked off the retreat for me and infused the entire event with a spirit of generosity and kindness. 

Sara, your act of taking Dorothy and Teri for lunch by the bay in Santa Cruz touched me deeply. 

For my very first retreat of any sort, giving or attending, I am grateful to each of you for making it so sweet.

BTW: I achieved my goal of finishing the sample chapters for a book proposal that is now in the hands of agent and acquisition editor. You as my witnesses kept me accountable. 

How about each of you? I need a reminder of what your goals were and where you are now…



Hello Somebody!

In The Retreat on June 21, 2010 at 6:01 am

Welcome to the Intrepid Writers Blog.  Wow!  Can you smell the fresh paint?   Thank you, Sara, for boldly going forward to create this site for a truly special group of writers who were elevated to new heights with Martha Alderson’s magical mentorship  during the extraordinary four-day retreat Sara refers to in the description. Consider this post the End of the Beginning.  Jump on in and let’s create that exotic world together, shall we?    Lisa

Hello world!

In The Retreat on June 20, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!