I recently returned from a wonderful week long winter (adore alliteration) SNHU residency at Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa in Whitefield, NH. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Other more industrious and talented SNHU writers—such as Kelly Gamble, Darren Leo, Charlie Stella, and Tyler Fish, to name a few—have already posted on their blogs their exceptional experiences and probably did so either during the week there or promptly on their return back to reality. I’m a bit slow and now there is not much else I can say about the residency that hasn’t already been said. So, I’ll try to make it short and sweet (Note the word “try”).
The hotel and its surrounding landscape were beautiful beyond belief. Kelly called it her snow globe. A few people reported seeing ghosts. I wish I had. I’ve experienced ghosts in the past, but it would be exciting to see another one. The food was fabulous. I gained a few pounds which makes it harder on me with one of my new year’s resolution being to lose weight.
The peer workshop with Katie Towler (my mentor for this semester) left me eager to get home to incorporate into my manuscript the critiques I received. With such positive feedback, I feel my work is right on track. All the workshops were spectacular, too. Diane Les Becquects’ workshop on writing effective scenes and Katie’s on structure provided the vocabulary and tools needed to analyze my scenes as well as those of other writers. Matt Bondurant’s enlightening lecture provided five methods on building effective action scenes. Ann Garvin’s entertaining “The Synopsis” gave helpful strategies to tackle the daunting task of writing a clear and concise summary. I also enjoyed internationally best-selling author Chris Bohjalian’s Master Class and readings. Sy Montgomery’s reading and lecture were not only entertaining, but also thought-provoking. Hearing these writers discuss their writing and thinking processes gave me encouragement about my own writing.
The new faculty members, authors Wiley Cash and Matt Bondurant, are incredibly talented and friendly; they’re a perfect fit to the other incredibly talented and friendly faculty. And I can say the same for the new first semester students. The camaraderie is phenomenal! It was fun to catch up with fellow students I met last semester. Top that off with making new friends, it’s like having an extended family of muses. It doesn’t get any better than that! Everyone fires each other up so that when we return home, we feel rejuvenated and inspired. I was so fired up that just within a few days of being home I managed to edit ten chapters, write two, and write two blogs, read a tiresome craft book (Why I Write, edited by Will Blythe) and write the responding essay (It wasn’t complimentary either. I’ll post it as a blog someday soon).
Of course, working with fellow writers and developing possible life-long friendships is the proverbial icing on the cake. I left the residency with renewed excitement and vigor to drive me on to another successful and satisfying semester.