Retreating from Writing

To begin with: I’m writing this on my phone. There is supposed to be internet at the campground, and a few of the other writers here have said they get it… but the First Reader and I are in the very furthest cabin and the WiFi is elusive and fleeting. For sake of my temper and current state of deep relaxation, phone data seemed the best idea.
I am currently at a writing retreat. To say I needed this would be putting it mildly. Or, to put it another way: I didn’t write anything yesterday. The first day of the retreat. Instead, I listened. I listened to people around me tell stories. I met a few new people and because this is a small event, had a chance to really listen to introductions that were much deeper than simple name and associations. Conversation is a wonderful thing for this writer’s soul.

The view from our cabin. It’s worth not having internet.


I had Intended a longer post exploring a nascent sub genre I’d like to encourage because I was to read more of it: Tactical Romance. That will have to wait. Instead, you get this. Hanging out with new friends and old. I’m not going to be able to do it again soon. So I am making the most of it. This isn’t a writing experience, it’s feeding my soul so I can write more when I get back to the humdrum of life.

This is a place where I can answer honestly when a friend looks me in the eyes and asks me “Cedar, how are you?” How many times a day do you get asked that in hurried politeness at work or on the go? Those people don’t care. These do, and it matters.

Raconteurs in the rain

aside from my need for social interactions at least once a year, the stories… listening to world-class storytelling is priceless. That some bits may wind up in my own stories? Perhaps, but more likely my brain will feed all of it into the gristmill and it will come out as something new or at least with the serial numbers filed off. Except for Lawdog’s python tale. That one is uniquely hilariously his own.

I talked a little yesterday with Dorothy Grant about what I am trying to figure out – the Lazy Woman’s marketing scheme. I have not got the time to promote my stuff. Not and write, and work, and run a house. But I don’t want my books to fade entirely from view. I’m going to pick a few brains about this today and tomorrow before the Door to Summer closes and I have to fly home again.

I have to thank the indefatigable JL Curtis, author of the Grey Man series and the highly enjoyable Rimworld series, for putting this together. It’s a highly informal event, a gathering of minds. Someone yesterday put it well ‘I didn’t know groups like this existed, but it’s like finding my home’

Someone I shall not name, cleverer than I, produced these for the event. They were received with cries of It was promised no structure!’ And ‘nobody Told me there were plans!’ And when I sidled you to Lawdog and pointed at noon today he simply said ‘NO’

28 thoughts on “Retreating from Writing

  1. I would be interested in hearing more about tactical romance in the future.

    It is a genre that might fit current project, which has a genre I don’t know, and I definitely do not know how to achieve any the genres that might fit.

    I’ve sincere doubts of my ability and interest in doing the work to be all the way successful in making a tactical romance, but I would appreciate hearing any thoughts about definition, reader cookies, etc.

    I think this is the same thing as what Dorothy Grant writes?

    1. Yes, that’s what someone who likes my books called ’em, and I had to laugh, and pass the phrase along.

      Since everything is tactically correct, and there does happen to be a romance in it…

      Cedar and I have been kicking around, “If this is a subgenre, what are the hallmarks of the subgenre?”

      1. Have just finished Going Ballistic. Very well done.

        I think it was around the start of chapter three when I put down “f$%@ing awesome” in my notes. I very much appreciated some of the harder aspects of the sci fi.

        Was able to confirm that some of the elements I had thought accidentally in common between Rim and Midnight were probably not necessary for the subgenre.

        Still digesting, maybe I will read it again before Cedar posts her thoughts on the subgenre. I look forward to participating in the discussion.

  2. Where are you guys? I want to know if I can make it in time for the 3:15 panel. I’d love to talk to someone about how Labradors with a nuclear case of the zoomies could be used in conjunction with the Jet-powered corgis…

  3. Tactical Romance?

    That seems like a good way to describe the first Monster Hunter International book. The amount of love the MC showed for his weapons was kind of over the top but also very sweet.

    About your writing retreat being more about listening and talking; to me that’s the major benefit to an in-person writing group. Yes, it’s nice to have critiquers, yes, it’s nice to have people to apply some pressure to keep working, but talking with creative people, solving plot problems with a brain storming session, telling jokes, connecting with people, all seems to have at least as much benefit as the official activities.


  4. ‘The 503rd tell the story of William Tell’? Given their marksmanship, better be sure you’re laying on the ground when they start shooting at the apple.

    1. I read that to the schedule’s creator, and he was quite pleased you got the joke. 🙂

  5. Looking forward to hearing what Tactical Romance is as a literary genre. I’ve never heard of it before. I looked it up on Google and got a link to a book by a marriage counselor (I think) who writes, “The tactical romance is the pretense (emphasis theirs) of being able to be affectionate when, in reality, the person may be afraid, if not incapable, of being affectionate.”

    Somehow I don’t think that’s what it means in the context of fiction writing.

  6. I also had never heard of Tactical Romance…looked it up and I *think* it’s about deliberately choosing to fall in love with someone, rather than waiting for it to happen.

    Which I guess could be used in fiction.

    1. Re: tactical romance…

      There was a post a week or some back, that described Dorothy Grant’s three books as tactically correct romances.

      Scaling the Rim, Shattered Under Midnight, and Going Ballistic. I’ve read the first two.

      I hesitate to state too much without reading the third. Rim and Midnight share features that may be accident, instead of genre defining.

      These books are also sci fi, but I am sure it is possible to do tactically correct Romance in other setting types.

      They are romances, HEA and all. They are not relationships of expedience, despite fairly difficult circumstances.

      There are characters who are men of action, who take on those problems realistically and competently.

      The hero and heroine have pragmatic virtues, face the difficulties before them with resolve. You aren’t wondering why a shrinking violet tolerates being around a man capable of violence in difficult times, or why a man with no tolerance for weakness is interested in a women who is nothing but weakness.

  7. Tactical Romance:
    General Count Romeo “Miles” Vorkosigan seems to have attempted a tactical romance in “A Civil Campaign” by Lois McMaster Bujold. Recommended as a study in how not to go about it.

  8. I don’t know whether I approve of a retreat held in a place where dragons are not normally found, whether the dragons know it or not.

    1. Well Mary, the key word is “found”.

      Dragons are only “found” when they want to be “found”.

      Dragons can live any place that humans can live (without being noticed) and lots of places where humans can’t live. 😈

      1. Well, that’s one of the reasons I hang out with the aardvark. A little aardvark can find any dragon in the area.

          1. Only of those who have not met aardvarks. Or who have met only aardvarks who kept secrets.

              1. Have you not met our aardvark? A bit smaller than Fluffy, or the sea serpent in the minion pool, but the one that gives directions to the doors, and serves bonbons.

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