Deep Thinkers Retreat: Not The Norm

Deep Thinkers Retreat: Not The Norm. Have you ever thought about starting a project all over again because it sucked? Don’t throw it all away, but instead do a complete makeover like they do on TV redecorating shows.

That’s what writers can do with manuscripts. Don’t discard all the words you’ve written but use them in a different way, in a different location and perhaps add some new words or use the old ones.  

Room Makeover

Empty the cluttered room but don’t discard the furniture or the accessories. Set them aside until you paint the room and redo the floor. This could be the blueprint for the story structure. Then take one piece of furniture, perhaps the inciting incident, place it in its proper place. Keep placing each piece of furniture in the room.

Our gathering room
Our gathering room

Some of your accessories can be used while others may not be needed. It’s the accessories that create the ambiance in a room. Creating the emotional journey in a story takes deep thinking! (This is my take on Susie’s idea of redecorating.)


 “A great book is rewritten, not written.” Susie May Warren

I was privileged to be chosen to attend My Book Therapy Deep Thinker’s Retreat 2015 at Destin, Florida. (My One Word goal for 2015 is Goodness.) I found God’s goodness all over this retreat in February.)

Although the focus of novel writing borders on story structure and emotional connection there is more. Just when I thought I understood a concept or a thought or a word, I was encouraged to think deeper.

Learning Is Fun

Although many of the attendees had experienced this type of retreat before but as a newbie I felt right at home. Susie May Warren and Rachel Hauck kept us entertained while imparting so much craft knowledge laced with truth that I could not help but learn, even by osmosis. Just being there  got my creative juices flowing again after months of being stuck.

Courtesy of My Book Therapy

This year’s theme, “CREATING the EMOTIONAL Connection” became my main focus so I could weave emotion into my own story more organically.

Although the schedule of the retreat flowed loosely, many topics were covered. Here are some of them:

  • The Story Equation & Structure
  • Discovering the 4-Act story! (Character Change Story)
  • Show versus Tell
  • Scene Overhaul with tension & emotion
  • Dialogue

The hands-on application of the teaching was most valuable. We had homework! Honestly, I was so amazed how many actually got it done while living in a beach house with a bunch of women! (the male participant stayed somewhere else) Since writing is a lonely road, the companionship was most welcomed!

And the brainstorming….ideas hit the ceiling with such force that I wondered if the plaster would fall off!

Can’t forget the food…our very own chef, Alena Tauriainen, kept our stomachs full. I’m sure she cooked while we slept. More pounds added I’m sure. Tasty, delicious, healthy, and presented with flair.

Book Therapy

If there is a best part to the retreat, it would be the small group therapy. This is where we could hash out our own writing and get feedback and coaching from a multi-published author. Then the icing on the cake….we each had a short one-on-one therapy session with our group leader! That’s where your alligator skin comes in, and hope it’s thick. Seriously, Beth Vogt, was the most gentle book therapist! No broken skin!!

Participants and leaders.

Deep thinkers retreat: not the norm

Inspired to write and rewrite. Now back to the room makeover! How would you rearrange the furniture in the above living room? What kind of makeover could you do with your writing or your projects? Goals? Changes? Accessorize?


Learn more about the My Book Therapy and the Deep Thinkers Retreat.  

More about Susie May Warren, an amazing teacher and book therapist.







Pirkko Rytkonen

Wife, mother, and grandmother. Christ follower and seeker of truth. Blogging to inspire and encourage others.

2 thoughts on “Deep Thinkers Retreat: Not The Norm

  1. Thanks Susie for stopping by with your comment. Your input into my life and story is most valuable, and truly appreciated. Now I believe that I can do this! I was so amazed at the the stories you have in your head, and how you come up with ideas while you’re teaching or relaxing. You are my superhero!

  2. What a generous and kind recap of our week! You so blessed me with your words. It was sooo fun to meet you and work with you on your brilliant story. 🙂 thanks for sticking around chilly florida! Stay warm and write something brilliant! Xo! SMW

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