Fall 2013 MUG Writing Retreat

The Fall MUG Writing Retreat 2013 took place October 18-20, 2013. This fall we met in Westside Los Angeles, and for the first time we opened the Retreat up to a short list of writers outside the MUG group.

If you are a fiction writer and you’re interested in joining us next year, please email mugsters at gmail dot com. There are only a very few spots available, so don’t delay. Here’s an inside look at our most recent retreat:

From left: Anthony, Amanda, Taylor, Rebecca.

The MUG Fall Retreat 2013 was a success! In two days, five writers completed over 15,000 words.


On Saturday morning, Anthony led a talk about the best ways to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Why do we trust his methods? Well, last year Anthony completed 80,000 words in the month of November. Over dinner Anthony told a couple of us that he hit 50,000 while working in a café amongst other writers. He hit the winner’s mark, closed his laptop, and walked out to the envy (and a few glares) of fellow NaNo-ers. The best part? This happened about halfway into the month.

You can watch Anthony’s talk in the video below! (If you’re short on time, view Taylor’s notes in this post on her blog.)

We did a writing prompt in which we picked the first line of a published story and “reversed” the words. “He” becomes “she;” “up” becomes “down;” a “road trip in a rusty, old VW van” becomes a “staycation outside the shiny, new Beamer.” You get artistic liberties, of course. After thirty minutes of writing we went around the table and read our work aloud. It was fun to hear the different voices, and now we all have stories to develop, several of which are outside of what we usually write.


The Projected MUG Fall Writing Retreat Calendar of Events

Friday Night: 8PM Main St. Social hour

  • We’ll be meeting at Anthony’s house and then moseying down to Main St, Santa Monica, where there are a number of restaurants and bars where we can congregate and socialize. Don’t drink too much (this means you, Anthony) because we’re getting an early start on Saturday morning!

Saturday: 9AM start time at Taylor’s house

  • Free Writing time. Please try not to disturb those who are trying to concentrate on their writing, or might have a hangover. If you’re looking at Anthony, you’re probably looking in the right direction.

  • Discussion (“How to prep for NaNoWriMo–and anything else you write”) 11AM

    • We’re going to spend some time discussing strategies for National Novel Writing Month, including preparation, scheduling your time, etc. Also we’re going to briefly discuss the stories we’ll be working on during NaNoWriMo. Discussion led by Anthony, assuming he’s not too hung over to be intelligible.

  • Lunch 12:00 – 1:30

    • Time to get off your rear end and get some fresh air – a few blocks’ walk to grab some food.

  • Free Writing time. Get that Word Count going!

  • Writing Exercise(s) 4-5pm

    • A few writing exercises suggested by the MUGsters to spark those creative juices.

  • Free Writing time. Now that those juices are flowing, dive back into your work!

  • Dinner 7pm (ish).

    • Sometimes we go out for dinner; sometimes we order in. We’re going to make a decision on the spot! Ooooh, scary – we used to be a very indecisive bunch. Now, we’re not so sure.

Sunday: 9AM start time at Taylor’s house.

  • Free Writing time.

  • Contest Prep: 11am

    • A selection of low or no entrance fee contests we can do as writing prompts. Your choice if you want to enter. Probably good to point out that every contest the MUGsters have entered, at least one of us has won.

  • Lunch – no specific time

    • whenever you want, whatever you want. Freedom of choice! Another scary moment, but one we’re sure you’ll get through.

  • Free Writing time. You can stay until evening, if you want; at some point in time we’re all going to get tired of Anthony’s hangover from Friday, and decide it’s time to go home.

  • Goodbye! Aw. The saddest part of the weekend.


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