February 25, 2013

Recharge: Winter Writing Retreat Day 1

What is your name?
Jaime Allison Morrow

What do you write?
I write all kinds of stuff, but the common thread in everything that I write is that it's YA fiction and there is always romance woven into it. (Read: kissing and lots of it.) The story that I'm currently querying is a YA light sci-fi. The story that I'm actually writing right now is a YA contemporary retelling. And then there are the ones in various stages of planning: YA Historical/Time Travel, a Steampunk idea that I'm still a bit chicken to write, among others. I'm in love with the planning.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing my whole life, but never really for fun. I could write a pretty mean essay and cover letter, but never got around to writing something that I wanted to write or read. Then, almost two years ago, I felt inspired after reading a string of awesome dystopian to sit down and give writing fiction a go. Of course, there was also a story idea that came to me via a newspaper headline that just begged to be turned into a story. Because I read all kinds of YA, I kind of want to try writing different types of stories. Who knows? Maybe I'll love one particular genre and stick with it. Only time will tell.

What (virtual) location have you chosen for your retreat?
For me, I think that writing somewhere that my story is set would be the most inspirational and productive. My current WIP is set primarily in the Hamptons, so I wouldn't cry too hard if I was able to hole up in some seaside cottage with a great view. Another WIP (still mostly in the planning stages) is set in Scotland up around Inverness and the Isle of Skye. I would love to find a place there to sit and write and soak up the culture and history. Talk about inspiration!

How did you come up with the idea or find inspiration for your current WIP?
Like I mentioned, my current WIP is a YA contemporary retelling of a classic novel. The original is such a great story and translates really well to a modern setting, in my opinion. The challenge with any retelling is to strike the perfect balance between doing justice to the original and finding new creative twists that make it worth the reader's time. (Otherwise, why wouldn't you just stick with the original, right?) This is definitely challenging but so much fun too!

Writing Exercise #3:
Open a random book to a random page. What are the first words that jump out at you? Write a scene using some or all of the words.

Okay, I picked a (not so) random book and a (not so) random page:
"She meant to avoid any such alteration of manners as might provoke a remonstrance on his side. It was a great object to her to escape all enquiry or éclat; but it was her intention to be as decidedly cool to him as might be compatible with their relationship; and to retrace, as quietly as she could, the few steps of unnecessary intimacy she had been gradually led along."
(from Jane Austen's Persuasion

So now I'm going to take this inspiration and run and write a scene inspired by this particular snippet. Can't wait! To take part in Sara Biren's Recharge Winter Writing Retreat, you can find the details here and here. (← the second link is to today's prompts and exercises)


  1. Love this. I'm also participating in this blog hop. Your WiP sounds so good, Jaime! My oldest friend (no really we were born in the same hospital LOL) went to university in Scotland and took a trip to the Isle of Skye....saw her photos and died. ABSolutely beautiful! Let me know if you ever need betas :o)

    1. I'm so envious of your friend studying in Scotland. That would be wonderful! I'd love to just rent a cottage and park myself there for a handful of months while I wrote my story. :)

  2. Nice to meet you, Jaime. :-) I had every intention of participating in this retreat on my blog, but I think I'll be more of a mental participant instead. I'm diving headfirst into a project, and I'm trying to preserve all of my creative energy for that. I'm looking forward to reading more of your retreat posts as the week goes on!

    1. I'm kind of tailoring this retreat to working on my current WIP. That's top priority. That's also why my writing exercise came from Persuasion and why it wasn't random. :) I guess it's just good inspiration and accountability to get some work done on this WIP. So far it seems to be working. I've almost hit 1000 words today. :)

  3. This virtual retreat looks like so much fun--and a good way to get over midwinter slumps!
    I'm curious about your Hamptons-set WIP! Looking forward to reading more about it.

    1. The Hamptons-set WIP is the one that is about 2/3 finished (first draft). I've actually gotten really excited about working on it again, so this writing retreat is a good excuse to buckle down and get some serious writing done. :)

  4. While a retreat in Scotland sounds lovely, don't you think all those caber-tossing dudes in kilts outside your castle window would distract from your writing? Kidding (sort of). This post reminds me that I really need to return your grade five creative writing folder that I came across recently. Someday when you're a famous published author, that thing could be worth something. :)

  5. Lol, I like your "not so random" book and "not so random" page... Love Persuasion. :) Happy writing!

  6. I love modern retellings of classics and I can't write anything without some kissing thrown in, either. I gotta have some swoon!

  7. I'm excited by your WIP! It sounds awesome.

  8. I think it might be weird, but now I seem to read all Jane Austen as though it was spoken by Anne Hathaway, haha...

    And I love a good retelling, especially when I don't realize that it was a retelling until after I've gotten half-way through it. Then you can start lining things up with the original and see what artistic flare the current author contributed, which is so much nerdy fun! :)

  9. This retreat sounds great :D and cannot wait to hear all about the progress you're going to make in your WiP thanks to it!
    The Hamptons sound like a fantastic place to go and spend this "virtual" retreat to <3

  10. What a great idea to pick your book's setting for the retreat. It'll definitely serve you well with today's exercises!

  11. How were the Hamptons? I feel terrible that I am only now making the rounds to everyone's blogs, but it was a terribly busy week. Next time I decide to do this, I won't do it during such a jam-packed work week!

    Great idea to set your retreat at the location of your WIP. I love the idea of a retelling... especially your particular retelling. I'm going to try to reread all Austen this year.

    I hope the retreat was helpful for you this week! :)


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