A Writing Retreat for Seniors
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401.218.3514



Spend a pampered, six-day Writer's Retreat in New Hampshire this Spring!

The Follansbee Inn, North Sutton, New Hampshire
May 4-9, 2014

 Home | Package | Location | Takeaways | Approach/
Content
| Guest
Speakers
| Application/
Enrollment
| Writing
Samples
| Submission
Guidelines
| Logistics | Payments | Schedule | Seminar
Leader
| Q&A 
             
  kezar lake   Follansbee Inn   Cozy Room  
Package
  • Cozy accommodations for five nights (Sunday thru Thursday)
  • Three meals a day Monday thru Thursday, plus Friday b’fast
  • Critical review of up to 75 pages of a current or completed writing project
  • Two one-on-one sessions with the seminar leader
  • Ten two-hour group sessions over five days
  • Access to four publishing professionals (see Guest Speakers)
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • A unique post-workshop follow-up
Location
The Follansbee Inn is located on Kezar Lake in the quiet village of North Sutton, New Hampshire – 90 minutes north of Logan Airport in Boston, and 40 minutes south of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. For details, please visit: http://follansbeeinn.com/

Takeaways
  • A comprehensive review of a work in progress or previously completed
  • Enhanced skill as a writer, editor, and critic of fiction and / or nonfiction
  • An increased level of self-confidence
  • A higher degree of personal commitment and resolve (a.k.a. tenacity)
  • The groundwork for a possible new project
  • Fiction: An enhanced facility for manipulating character, plot, and language
  • Nonfiction: An enhanced facility for producing reader-centered narrative and exposition
  • Several new friends and colleagues :>)
Approach / Content
  • Enrollment is limited to maximize personal attention
  • A strong emphasis is placed on giving participants copious amounts of feedback
  • Participant writing samples are used to help identify focus points
  • One-on-one sessions are used to maximize individualized feedback and guidance
  • Readings and exercises are used to foster self-assessment and peer-assessment
  • Fiction: A strong emphasis is placed on facilitating the interplay of character, plot, and language
  • Nonfiction: A strong emphasis is placed on matching author authority and interest with the right genre (memoir, how-to, essay, self-help, instruction, or other)
  • Participants are not handed off to a second-year graduate student :>)
Guest Speakers Application / Enrollment
  • The application deadline is April 10, 2014
  • Applicants must submit a writing sample of 20 to 25 pages, plus a brief bio
  • Payments can be made by check or by PayPal (the latter on the Senior Writing Seminars Web site)
  • Alternates placed on a wait-list do not need to make a deposit
Writing Samples
  • Each applicant must submit a preliminary writing sample of 20 to 25 pages, plus a brief bio. See Submission Guidelines.
    This preliminary sample should be taken from the same 75-page sample the applicant will submit for critical review if he/she is accepted into the program (see next item).
  • Each enrollee submits up to 75 pages of hardcopy for critical review, plus a summary or description of the material not submitted.
  • The 75-page sample for critical review must be received by the reviewer no later than April 1st. Again, please use Priority Mail.
Submission Guidelines
  • Required format for all submissions:
    • 1.5 or double spacing (we cannot accept single-spaced material)
    • Double-sided printing is OK
    • All pages must be numbered (in the header)
    • All pages must bear the author’s name (in the header)
    • Hardcopy only (we cannot accept electronic submissions)
    • Mailing address for all submissions:

      Senior Writing Seminars
      Attn: Tom Fitzgerald
      215 Buena Vista Drive
      North Kingstown, RI 02852-6307

    • Once again, please use Priority Mail for all submissions
Logistics
  • Please bring a device that will allow you to access the Internet
  • Wi-Fi service will be available
  • A printer will be available
Payments
  • All-inclusive fee


$1250

Schedule
  • Sessions will begin on Sunday evening, May 4th, at 7:00 PM, and will run through Friday morning, May 9th
  • Group sessions will alternate with individual sessions:

    Group Session
    Day
    Time
    Topics / Exercises

    1

    Sun

    7-9 PM

    Participant readings (12)

    2

    Mon

    8-10 AM

    Identify your personal goals as a writer
    Choose an appropriate genre
    Create one or more concepts or plots
    Share your concepts or plots with the group
    Respond to feedback

     

    Mon

    10-12 AM

    Individual sessions
    Continue session 2

    3

    Mon

    1-3 PM

    Expand a concept or plot into a summary (book-jacket teaser)
    Share your summary/teaser with the group
    Respond to feedback

     

    Mon

    3-5 PM

    Individual sessions
    Continue session 3

    4

    Mon

    7-8 PM

    Guest speaker: Sid Hall, publisher, poet, book designer

    5

    Tues

    8-10 AM

    For fiction:

    • Identify your main character and flesh him/her out
    • Identify and flesh out secondary characters
    • Share your main character with the group

    For nonfiction:

    • Indentify your ‘platform’ (source of authority)
    • Identify your readers
    • Explain to your readers why they need your book
    • List five questions you would want to be asked on a radio talk show
    • Answer them
    • Share your Q&A with the group

     

     

    10-12 AM

    Individual sessions
    Continue session 5

    6

    Tues

    1-3 PM

    Create a detailed outline (NF) or storyboard (F)
    Identify any ‘holes’ to be filled by doing research
    Begin a research log

     

    Tues

    3-5 PM

    Individual sessions
    Continue session 6

    7

    Tues

    7-8 PM

    Guest speaker: Jordan Rich, host, Jordan Rich Show, WBZ-AM

    8

    Wed

    8-10 AM

    Share your outline or storyboard with the group
    Respond to feedback
    Do online research (Wi-Fi will be available)

     

    Wed

    10-12 AM

    Individual sessions
    Continue session 8

    9

    Wed

    1-3 PM

    For fiction:

    • Identify the narrator and primary POV
    • Write the first line of the first scene/chapter
    • Share your first line with the group
    • Begin writing the first scene

    For nonfiction:

    • Write a first line for the first chapter
    • Share your first line with the group
    • Flesh out the first chapter (or two) to the extent possible (for example, create a bullet list of relevant points)

     

    Wed

    3-5 PM

    Individual sessions
    Continue session 9

    10

    Wed

    7-8 PM

    Guest speaker: Chuck Monroe, principal, Gold Dust Publicity

    11

    Thu

    8-10 AM

    Share your first scene or expanded chapter with the group
    Respond to feedback

     

    Thu

    10-12 AM

    Individual sessions
    Continue session 11

    12

    Thu

    1-3 PM

    Share your revised first scene or chapter with the group
    Respond to feedback
    For fiction: Ensure appropriate tone for the narrator and / or primary POV

     

    Thu

    3-5 PM

    Individual sessions
    Continue with session 12

    13

    Thu

    7-8 PM

    Guest Speaker: Matt Fitzgerald, author, journalist, poet

    14

    Fri

    9-11 AM

    Participant readings and feedback


Seminar Leader
Tom Fitzgerald led a Huckleberry Finn childhood on the St. Lawrence River before undertaking formal studies in physics, mathematics, law, industrial management, and English. In a career for which the word ‘eclectic’ would seem to have been coined, Tom has served as a salesman of home-study courses, a vocational counselor for adults and children with developmental disabilities, an instructor of calculus and economics, a stockbroker, the assistant to the president of a large health-care corporation, a lobbyist, a technical writer, a mid-level manager, and a documentation consultant.

Tom FitzgeraldTom served as a Navy UDT/SEAL during the Vietnam War and has swum several long distances, including across the eastern end of Lake Ontario, a distance longer (and colder) than the English Channel. Once also an avid runner, Tom ran the Boston Marathon three times before a fall on black ice abruptly ended a life-long addiction to endorphins.

Tom is the author most recently of Poor Richards Lament: A most timely tale. According to Michael Zuckerman, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, Poor Richard’s Lament “joins John Barth’s Sot-Weed Factor as the best historical fiction of early America ever written.” Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, calls Poor Richard’s Lament, “A re-imagining of Ben Franklin you will not soon forget.” The movie rights to Poor Richard’s Lament have been optioned by a Hollywood producer.

Tom’s previous novels include Chocolate Charlie, and Chocolate Charlie Comes Home, both published by Warner Books, and a mystery novel, A Matter of Scents, published by Pyramid Books. The movie rights to Chocolate Charlie were optioned by Lawrence Gordon Productions.

Tom has published two works of nonfiction: Get Tough! The U.S. Special Force Physical Conditioning Program, a bestseller; and Beyond Victimhood. In addition, he has taught writing in such venues as Boston University, Iowa State University, Rivier College, the Wang Institute of Graduate Studies, and Bell Laboratories.

Tom and his wife Laurie, a marriage and family therapist, have three grown sons, and three grandsons. They live in New England.

Q&A
  1. How is this retreat different from other writing retreats?

    (1) This retreat is strictly for adults 50 and over; (2) the number of participants is limited in order to maximize one-on-one contact; and (3) although the venue is bucolic and tranquil, the emphasis will be on getting you as much support as possible.

  2. What can I realistically expect to get out of this retreat?

    Because of the amount of individual attention and feedback you will be getting, there is a good chance of your coming away from this retreat a significantly better and more determined writer than you were before you signed up for it. 

  3. What does the “follow-up session” consist of?

    Whatever you need it to consist of. The retreat leader will give you a total of up to 1 hour of his time over the year following the retreat. You choose what to use it for.

  4. There appear to be two tracks: One in fiction, and one in nonfiction. What if I’m interested in both?

    This retreat is designed to allow crossover between the two tracks. The retreat leader will help you determine the strategy that will best meet your needs and interests.

  5. Can I submit poetry for my writing samples?

    Unfortunately, not at this time. We hope to add a poetry track at a subsequent retreat.

  6. What will the 30-minute one-on-one sessions consist of?

    You will get detailed feedback on your 75-page writing sample. You will also get the undivided attention of a seasoned pro who will help you in any way he possibly can.

  7. How should I prepare for the retreat?

    Submit a writing sample that represents your very best work, and that is presented in a professional manner (please do not submit early-draft material for your writing sample.) Please come expecting to work hard for both yourself and the other members of the retreat.

  8. What should I bring?

    If possible, please bring a device that will allow you to connect to the Internet (Wi-Fi will be available).  Also bring an old-fashioned writing tablet, and a couple of ink-fired pens.

  9. When should I arrive at the venue?

    Anytime after 1:00 PM on Sunday afternoon, May 4th. Checkout time will be noon on the following Friday (May 9th).

  10. What if I make a deposit and then change my mind about attending? Do I get a refund?

    Because there are only 12 participant slots in this retreat, we cannot accommodate refunds. We beg, please, that you make a personal commitment at the time you make a deposit. (In cases of serious illness or a death in the family, allowances will, of course, be made.)

  11. How do I apply for a place in the retreat?

    Submit an initial writing sample and a bio before March 10, 2014. For details, please see the section titled Application / Enrollment.

  12. May I bring along a spouse or friend?

    Of course. Please understand, however, that your spouse or friend cannot participate directly in the retreat, other than to attend the evening lectures on a space-available basis. When you make a room reservation at the Follansbee Inn, please be sure to mention that you will have someone with you.

  13. Where do I get directions to the retreat venue (Follansbee Inn, North Sutton, NH)?

    Directions are available on the Follansbee Inn Web site at: http://follansbeeinn.com/

  14. How do I reserve a room at the Follansbee Inn?

    Contact Cat or Denis Swords at the inn by calling 800-626-4221. You might want to call early to give yourself the widest possible selection of rooms.

  15. What about meals?

    Three meals will be provided each day Monday through Thursday. A full breakfast will be provided Friday morning (May 9th). If you have any dietary restrictions, please make these known to Denis Swords at the inn as far ahead of time as possible. Denis, by the way, is a gourmet cook (with a Louisiana touch).

  16. How do I make deposits/payments?

    You may make deposits or payment by check or by PayPal. You can access PayPal through this Web site (please see the section titled Payments). Please do not make deposits or payments through the retreat venue (Follansbee Inn).

  17. Why are there two writing samples?

    The writing sample that accompanies your application should consist of the first 20 to 25 pages of the 75-page sample that you will submit upon acceptance. The idea here is to maximize the amount of focused attention a single project of yours will get from the retreat leader.

  18. What if I don’t have 75 pages available for review?

    Send an e-mail to the retreat leader at: tom@seniorwritingseminars.org


Senior Writing Seminars | Phone: 401-218-3514 | tom@seniorwritingseminars.org