Devote a weekend to reinvigorating your creativity and revising your
manuscript in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley. Tune out
distractions from the outside world as you spend time brainstorming,
critiquing, revising and setting goals with other talented, committed
crime fiction writers. Authors Hallie Ephron and Roberta Isleib will
guide you in assessing and improving two essential components of
your writing. Writer and TV investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan will join
the group Saturday afternoon and evening.
This is not a conventional lecture-style conference. Each participant
will submit in advance the first 20 pages from a work-in-progress. In
the course of the weekend, you will rotate through two focus groups,
which will examine this sample of your work-in-progress from two
Drafting a Compelling Opening led by Hallie Ephron
Creating Memorable Characters led by Roberta Isleib
The SeaScape Writers Retreat is limited to 18 participants.
Here’s a preliminary outline of activities.
3:00 - 5:00 PM: check in.
5:00 - 6:00 PM:
introductions and discussion of goals.
- Who we are and where we are in our writing and hopes for the weekend
- Rules of the road: positive feedback first, be as specific as you can;
for critiques—don’t interrupt, take notes, ask clarifying
questions, summarize, restate
- Seascape goal: take each writer where she is and move her forward
6 to 7 dinner:
7:00 - 9:00 PM: First critique session
8:00 - 9:00 AM: Breakfast
9:00 - 11:00 AM: Second critique session
11:15 - 12:15 AM: Session on character-driven plotting with Roberta Isleib
12:30 - 1:30: Lunch
1:30 - 2:45 PM: One on one meetings with instructors and time to revise
3:00 - 5:00 PM: Using Techniques from TV Journalism to Pump Up Your
Hank Phillippi Ryan
4:45 - 5:45 PM: Break and/or revision time
6:00 - 7:00 PM: Dinner
7:00 - 8:30 PM: Elevator pitch session and query letter roundtable
with Ephron, Isleib, and Ryan
8:00 - 9:00 AM: Breakfast
9:00 - 10:00 AM: Session on Pumping up Suspense with Hallie Ephron
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM: One on one sessions and time to revise
11:15 - 12:30 Share your AHA moments and best tips from the weekend,
where do you go from here
12:30 PM: Evaluations, lunch and good-byes
is author of suspense novels COME AND FIND ME and NEVER TELL A LIE which was made into a movie for The Lifetime Movie Network. She wrote the Edgar-nominated WRITING AND SELLING YOUR MYSTERY NOVEL. She is an award-winning crime fiction book reviewer for the Boston Globe
Clinical psychologist Dr. Roberta Isleib is the author of nine
published mysteries, most recently AN APPETITE FOR MURDER (NAL)
written as Lucy Burdette. The second in the Key West food critic
series, DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, will be published in September. Her
books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and
Macavity awards. She is the past president of Sisters in Crime
Hank Phillippi Ryan
is an Emmy-winning investigative reporter for
Boston's NBC affiliate and the best-selling author of four mystery
novels. Her books and stories have garnered Anthony, Macavity and
Agatha awards. Her newest thriller, THE OTHER WOMAN, debuts 2012 from
ABOUT THE GUEST HOUSE RETREAT CENTER
Seascape will be held this year at the Guest House Retreat Center in
Chester, CT. Guest House offers spacious guest rooms with private
bathrooms, home-style cuisine, and amenities that range from a grand
piano in the lobby to wireless internet in every room. Guests can
focus on their work without distractions, while enjoying a nurturing
and comfortable environment.
The facility is a renovated country inn on private wooded land,
adjacent to a state forest with hiking trails and two neighboring
lakes. Conveniently located midway between New York City and Boston,
Guest House is easily reachable via major highways or by train.
Registration price includes program and all meals, from Friday dinner
through Sunday lunch.
Retreat w/ single room and private bath: $650
Retreat w/ shared room and bathroom: $550
Commuter (meals and workshop only): $450
To reserve your spot, contact Roberta at
Students will send in the first 20 pages of their works in progress by August 1. You will receive the writing samples of the other students in your group and come prepared to offer constructive feedback. (Tips and advice on how to read will be provided in advance.)
To RESERVE YOUR SPOT
Please email Roberta Isleib at to check on availability. Once an opening is confirmed, we will tell you where to mail your deposit check.
The remaining portion of your fee must be received by July 1, 2013.
Cancellation Policy. Cancellations received before July 1 will be
fully refunded. After July 1, your money will be refunded only if your
spot is filled. No refunds after August 1.
PHOTOS FROM SEASCAPE 2012
PRAISE FROM SEASCAPE 2012
"I had a great time at Seascape and want to thank everyone for great advice and
critiques. I was more lost than I realized and now I have a writers compass to
help steer by. I know I have much more to learn but the weekend at Seascape was
a giant step forward. Thanks everyone."
-- Debra Overton, Seascape 2012 student
PRAISE FROM SEASCAPE 2011
"I had such an amazing and enlightening time this past weekend. You
are all inspirational and have given me such motivation!"
-- Michele Clark
"I've been to other writers conferences that were very good, but none
could compare in excellence to Seascape 2011. My weekend with all of
you was one huge AHA, and also fun. "
-- Marcelline Jenny
"This has been such a wonderful experience and one I can't wait to
repeat next year. I feel that finally I'll be able to get that first
book ready to resubmit all over again after getting nowhere with it
for the past ten years. Thank you."
-- Gloria Alden
PRAISE FROM SEASCAPE 2009
"Roberta, Susan, and Hallie: What can I say? Seascape was perfect. That everything went so smoothly and efficiently, and so much learning was packed into one weekend while still feeling fun and exhilarating and inspiring--well, it's a huge tribute to the enormous amount of hard work and planning I know that went into making it feel effortless. After only two days, I feel like I've taken a huge bound forward with my WIP, and my writing in general. Thank you for giving us that opportunity (and in such a gorgeous setting, to boot!)"
-- Tracy Hurley, Seascape '09
"Thank you, Hallie, Roberta and Susan for a great Writers Retreat. The location was gorgeous, the accomodations and food were great. As a result of the workshops, critiques and discussions, I feel that my own abilities have been bumped up to a new level."
-- JM Reinbold, Seascape '09
PRAISE FROM SEASCAPE 2008 STUDENTS
"I can't begin to tell you how much this weekend helped me as a writer. I learned so much. It seems as if ideas that were locked in my head are now able to get out. As a result, I am really working. Thank you so much. I hope we can meet again some day."
"Talking about other people's writing cemented what needs to be done
with my own. The Mercy Center is a wonderful setting for the retreat. There's something about the water that does good things for me. All in all, it was an intense and fruitful period of time for me."
"I wish to thank you all for not only the well crafted weekend but more
importantly, for the careful and deliberate thought each of you gave
to our work."