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Author Life

The Retreat-My Crime Writing Experience

12594012_10153821601738150_2460078610612599715_oCrime Writing! Now that would be something, right? When I was a kid, I wanted to be just like Nancy Drew and be a sleuth or detective. #HeistClub, another online writing workshop allowed me to be just that, at least in the story I put down on paper. So, the challenge was to write a crime story, set in the Philippines, with foreign language dialogue included, and it should be Case #1, meaning, there should be other stories after this first book. All within thirty days again.

Again, I’m not sure how I conceived of my story, but I did it anyway: a rich publisher launches a writers’ retreat. He handpicks the attendees, who get invited personally, no digital or paper trail. The challenge for them is to write a true-to-life crime story set in the Philippines, which has not been successfully or completely resolved, have 75% of the manuscript completed by a certain date, agree to go to an undisclosed location for the retreat where the manuscript would be reviewed, critiqued, revised and edited. The reward is an international publishing deal plus one million pesos. The catch? No one could ever know about the retreat, the location is a surprise and each attendee needs to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and a Release (to absolve the organizers of any fault should anything happen to the attendee).

A small handful of invitees make the cut and join the retreat. Stories are discussed and real issues/problems are uncovered and potentially resolved. Secrets come out and everyone’s lives will be forever changed. The ending is an announcement of the release of the resulting Crime Anthology book which contains the supposedly edited stories discussed in the writers’ retreat.

Simple enough, right? No. I had to conceptualize the manuscripts of all the people attending the retreat. I had to write excerpts of the stories they have written as part of the challenge—with the objective of fleshing out these stories in the future. And I had to give everyone an identity, personality and secrets.
Some of the ideas were suggested by people as part of an online contest, and one story arc in particular is based on a real-life event shared by a co-author. To be honest, the subject of my story is not for the faint of heart, because some of it deals with the dark crimes that happen to the innocent by people they trust and even love, and how these crimes affect the victims later on in their lives.

My story, The Retreat, has been released on Buqo as part of the Why We Run bundle this January 2016. Even before that, my story was creating quite a stir in my circle of beta readers. And guess what? I started writing the actual Crime Anthology book (tentatively entitled, The Crime Circle), which are the fleshed out stories being discussed in The Retreat. I have already completed three of the stories as part of NaNoWriMo 2015. This means I already have Case numbers 2, 3 and 4 written!

Get a copy of the Why We Run bundle on Buqo!

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