Here’s a picture of me with my friends at this last weekend’s retreat. Yes, I look fat and asleep but it is NOT due to the great food we ate (my friends are awesome cooks as well as talented writers) or the wine we drank (a few bottles gave their lives for the cause) or even the few Lindt truffles I consumed (purely for inspiration, you know). It was just very bright out there this weekend and living in upstate NY, I’m just not used to all that sunlight! And the appearance of a double chin is just a nasty reflection from my turquoise hoodie. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂
Despite the hedonism we all accomplished a great deal. I added 10,000 words to the second draft of my mess-in-progress. 10,000 very sloppy words but that’s OK, it’s my process. In my 2nd drafts my goal is to refine the plot and scene structure. Plenty of time to rewrite in the 3rd draft once I know the storyline holds together.
My friends also made fabulous progress on their respective manuscripts. If you’d like to learn more about how to organize such a writer’s retreat, check out their post at Writer Unboxed.
Over the two nights we also viewed the recent adaptation of Jane Eyre starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. I loved it. Ruth Wilson has this elastic face that can look plain, otherworldly, even beautiful at various times which is perfect for the character of Jane. Toby Stephens is the best Rochester of any I’ve seen (I rather liked Timothy Dalton but did not care for William Hurt in the role at all).
Purists have had several problems with this adaptation. They’ve objected to some of the simplified dialogue. I’m not a purist; I would rather they make these stories accessible to people who have trouble with the language in a 19th century novel. I also can’t see how many of the rather long-winded speeches Rochester makes in the book would translate on film. I didn’t notice anything anachronistic and I also recognized many of Charlotte Bronte’s most brilliant bits of dialogue.
Another controversial issue was the sensuality. I read at least one review in which someone said the touching in the big break-up scene was improper for the period. Um, I think Rochester was already behaving improperly for the period (any period, really). Perhaps those reviewers should just write a complaint to Charlotte Bronte.
I wonder if people are just appalled at any hint of human passion in books they read in English Lit class. What do you think? Have you seen this version and did you enjoy it? Let me know!
And to all my writer friends, especially the hard-working, stressed-out mommy writers, I highly recommend you try this sort of writing retreat. Your muse will thank you for it. 🙂
Kathleen here, my Blogger password is messed up…again.
My God, I needed a shower after watching Toby Stephens’ performance. The perfect end to a perfect day of writing, laughing, writing, drinking….folks will get the idea.
this sounds glorious, Elena! I would love to do this.
I loved that version of Jane Eyre, too, Elena, and thought the sensuality was probably what Bronte was implying anyway.
I wish I could do a retreat–it sounds amazing!
I also wish I could do a retreat like that–I’ve been moving along pretty well on the WIP, but am now stuck, and could really use some time away with writing friends! 🙂 Maybe we all need a Risky retreat sometime…
I loved that JE, too! Not quite as much as the Dalton version, and Rochester’s hair sort of bothered me sometimes, but overall I really enjoyed it
Oh, a retreat for Riskies and friends, wouldn’t that be a blast! 🙂
Oh my gosh, I think I finally figured out my computer’s problem with blogger. Hope this comment makes it!
That sounds heavenly! I would love a retreat like that.
When my kids were very small and I was trying to write, my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I said a weekend alone with my laptop in a hotel room. He wasn’t amused. But it was true!
Your idea is even better. Write and think all day, gather and talk writing, watch movies etc with writer friends in the evening! I’m so planning one right now!
I’ve only seen a bit of that Jane Eyre, and liked what I saw well enough.
Rochesters always surprise me, I must confess! I was expecting the worst from Orson Welles and William Hurt, and was pleasantly surprised; I was thrilled with the casting of Ciaran Hinds in the role, but ended up disappointed!
I was disappointed in the Ciaran Hinds version too. I don’t think it was the acting. He and Samantha Morton are both very talented. I think it was the attempt to cram the story into too short a timeframe. As I recall it was something like 2 hours long. I think 2 1/2 would have allowed them to develop the emotions more convincingly.
Elena, I would love to have the opportunity to do a writing retreat like that instead of trying to cram it in here and there in snatches throughout the day.
If you Riskies go on such a retreat, do write and tell us all about it, so that we may live vicariously through you and store up ideas for our future ones.
I LOVED the newest JE! For the first time in recent memory, I was able to watch a love scene with interest, rather than squirming in my seat or staring at the celing.
If I say that I loved the latest Jane Eyre, do you think my wife will let me out of the attic?
This sounds awesome! I loved the blog, btw. Retreat weekends are so much fun!