Punderson Writer’s Retreat Scares Up Ghost Stories and Plot Lines

Looking spooky on a Friday evening in November.
Punderson Manor looking spooky on a Friday night.

When I signed up to go on my first ever writer’s retreat, I expected to do some writing. And I did. But what I ultimately got out of the experience was a whole lot more.

The retreat was held at Punderson Manor in Newbury, Ohio. I arrived in the pitch dark on a Friday night and drove around in what appeared to be an abandoned golf course. I might still be out there now if it weren’t

Our cute and rustic cabin.
Our cute cabin and plotting headquarters.

for a quick call to my roommate, Cathy, who kindly offered to drive out and show me the way. Five minutes later, I had pulled in front of the lodge, which is old and rumored to be haunted. I checked in and then drove to our clean and rustic cabin, where I met my other roommate, Joyce, who helped me get settled.

Ghostly tales
After a quick dinner, we joined the rest of our group back at the manor house for a ghost tour. While I’m happy to report we didn’t see any ghosts, Frank the bartender and sometimes tour guide, showed us the premises, and did his best to frighten us. We peered into corners, listened for the sounds of spirit children, and took pictures of the winding staircase where guests claim to see a ghostly cat.

My roomies Joyce (left) and Cathy.
My roomies Joyce and Cathy.

Eventually, we wandered back to our cabins and that’s when the real fun began. As a new fiction writer, I often feel alone on the challenging journey to becoming a published author. I agonize over story ideas and worry about boring my poor husband and friends who have to listen to endless character discussions and chapter readings. So just imagine the delight of being able to analyze plot lines for hours on end with other writers who are intimate with this particular struggle.

By the end of the weekend, we had dissected, analyzed, plotted and reinvented two of my stories. And let me tell you, these girls are good. Within minutes of me reading a short excerpt of the first chapter, they had fleshed out the goals, motivations and conflicts for all the main characters.

Also, I did manage to write 2,000 words of Cross Waves. So, all in all, a lovely and productive weekend. Now if only the ghost cat had turned up in one of my photos.

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