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Frequently asked questions


Are your retreats for me?

Probably! Our attendees have had a range of experience, from those in the early stages of their first novel to authors who have been published with major houses. We’ve had writers of all ages writing everything from chapter books to chick-lit. The retreats are designed to be the most beneficial to those who are seriously pursuing publication with middle-grade or young adult novels, but anyone who wants to learn, meet like-minded people, and have a good time is welcome.

How many people attend the retreats?

Retreats are capped at fourteen writers. We’ve found this to be an ideal number that allows for a diverse and lively group that is still small enough for an intimate feel where everyone gets to know each other well.

What if I don't know anyone?

You will! Once you sign up for a retreat, you will be added to our private Facebook group where you can start to get to know your fellow attendees, exchange work, ask questions of Wordsmith alumni, and more, so you’ll start to make friends before you even arrive. But if Facebook isn’t your thing, don’t worry! Because our retreats are intimate groups of fourteen and because Cristin used to be a summer camp counselor who knows lots of silly bonding games, we promise you’ll know everyone by the time you go to sleep the first night. We’ve yet to hold a single retreat that wasn’t attended by 100% awesome people.

What's the dress code?

We’re very casual, so whatever you feel comfortable in is fine. Yoga pants and pajamas are perfectly acceptable retreat-wear!

I have a dietary restriction or am a picky eater. Can you accommodate me?

Of course! Our private chef Lynn is happy to work with you if you can’t eat something on the menu or just plain don’t like what she’s serving. (Just ask any of our previous attendees, you’re never in any danger of going hungry at Wordsmith!) You’re also welcome to bring any food or drinks you want to have with you. If you have particularly extreme dietary restrictions, you may need to supplement our menu with your own food.

How available are Beth and Cristin during the retreat?

Very available! Beth and Cristin eat, sleep, work and play right alongside you throughout the entire retreat. Think of a question during lunch about the craft workshop Beth held that morning? Just lean over and ask her. Did you revise your query based on Cristin’s feedback? Have her take another look before dinner. Want to hear some great behind-the-scenes publishing gossip? Just pour Beth another glass of wine. (Just kidding! Maybe.)​

How do the critiques work?

We review the first 3,500 words of your manuscript and a synopsis prior to the start of the retreat. During the retreat, you will have an individual meeting with Beth on Thursday and Cristin on Friday (or vice-versa). Beth’s critique will focus on the big picture of your novel, identifying problem spots in your plot or structure and troubleshooting them with you. Cristin’s critique will be based on your opening pages, helping you to refine things like characterization, voice, and style. Together you’ll receive a holistic overview of your manuscript and be able to tackle changes in the second half of the retreat with Beth and Cristin there to help if issues crop up.

How much writing time will I get?

Lots! Beth and Cristin teach in the mornings for two to three hours and you will have individual meetings with them that will take up another hour or so, but other than that, your time is free to use however you see fit, whether that’s writing, talking through a tricky spot in your manuscript with a new friend, or taking a dip in the pool.

Do you offer payment plans?

Absolutely! We'll do everything we can to work with you to make it possible for you to attend a retreat.

Have a question we didn't answer?

Just email us at We're happy to chat with you about it!

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