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2014 Summer Writing Retreat - The Damned Rough Draft: Reframing & Reimagining Your Novel in Its Beginning Stages

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Sul Ross State University
Alpine, TX 79832

8/3/2014 to 8/7/2014 From 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Retreat Orientation to be held Saturday, August 2, at 6 pm -- Details will be shared with participants in advance of the retreat's start date.

This class is sold out.  To be added to wait list, contact us at (512) 499-8914.


with Karleen Koen

$329 Members

$379 Non-Members

"It was a life changing event for me.  I came home with the tools I needed to finish my novel and I've been applying those every day since I got home."

-- 2013 Summer Writing Retreat Attendee on Karleen Koen's Class

Writing a novel calls for the patience, determination, tenacity and ambition of a long-distance runner.

~ Venkatesh Kulkarni

Are you working on the first draft of a novel and finding yourself helplessly stuck? Disorganized? Uninspired? Terrified? Well, then, welcome to the process known as the rough draft. If you can survive it, you can survive anything.

In this week-long retreat, intructor Karleen Koen will introduce you to the imprecise beginnings that are part of writing a novel. What is a draft? When are you finished?  She'll share several narrative structure patterns to help you write toward a focused story. The class will discuss writing practice and discipline, and, as a group, you'll commiserate and fret together and remind each other of the tenacity and feeding of creativity necessary to finish a rough draft.  Along the way, you'll individually reframe, restart, and reimagine writing that first draft.  As a bonus, each class participant will receive a notebook filled with tips, advice, and a bibliography of books on craft of writing.

The Damned Rough Draft is for anyone working on a rough draft of a novel. It’s especially helpful to wounded, weary, stalled, and frightened writers.

Topics to be covered include: First Draft Wisdom, Writer’s Voice, Writing Life, Beginning & Continuing, Finding the Time to Write, Feeding your Writer Self, What is Story, Ain’t Working, Story & Structure, Books on Writing, Shaping the Story, Being a Writer.

Requirements: You must have 30 to 50 pages toward something you hope to shape into a novel. Nothing has to be polished, spell checked, in linear, readable order, or finished. It’s a draft, for God’s sake. But there does have to be something you’ve worked on. Bring both a computer copy and hard copy to the retreat. Nothing hand written, please.
  Note: Work will not be critiqued.

About the Instructor: Karleen Koen’s first novel, Through A Glass Darkly, was a New York Times bestseller and her most recent novel Before Versailles, was included among the best historical fiction of 2011 by The Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. She is the author of four novels. Her books have been Book-of-the-Month Club and Doubleday Book Club selections as well as Indie Next bestsellers, Book Sense picks, Border’s and Barnes and Noble’s New and Notable, and Historical Novels Society’s Editors’ Choices. They have been published by Random House, Crown Publishing, Avon Books, Kensington Books, Sourcebooks, Three Rivers Press, Books on Tape, Random House Audio, and Brilliance Bookcassette, as well as by foreign publishers. She is an experienced and award-winning magazine editor and writer/editor and was a Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Writing Fellow Summer 2011. Visit her website at and her blog at

Note: All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee. Tickets are not refundable, but they are transferable. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster and send your replacement the necessary information.

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to