Con Report: Broadkill Resort Writing Retreat

The cheery front door at Broadkill Resort! (Photo credit: John Edward Lawson)

This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural writing retreat held at the brand new Broadkill Resort! My amazing publishers at Raw Dog Screaming Press recently purchased a beach house in Milton, Delaware, where I and a handful of other authors spent a few days work-shopping, writing, and brainstorming projects–along with all the other fun and shenanigans that happen when many authors get together in the same place!

I drove down on Friday afternoon with one of my lovely critique partners. That night was a casual evening of introductions and a chill dinner at the local pizza joint with John Edward Lawson of RDSP; the official hosts of the retreat, Chris Stout and Rachell Nichole; and a few other authors who attended the retreat.

On Saturday, we got down to business! After a delicious breakfast, we all participated in a round-table discussion about silencing your inner editor, led by professional editor Chris Stout. Lunch and some quiet writing time followed (in which I did not write, but walked along the beach instead), then Rachell Nichole presented a short module on a very cool way to visually plot out the structure of a novel. I’m really excited to try this out as I start writing book 4 in the STEEL EMPIRES series in the upcoming months!

I see more fun office supplies in my near future! (Photo credit: Chris Stout)

After some more independent writing time, we got together again for a homemade meal of spaghetti and garlic bread, then spent the rest of the evening on lively discussion and lots of port and desserts.

We all slept in a bit more on Sunday, but still managed to get a lot done. One of the benefits of work-shopping with such a small group of writers is that modules can be targeted to the individual projects people are working on and even get a bit off track if that’s what benefits the attendees. Sunday morning, Rachell presented her course called “Oh Baby, What’s Your Sign?”–a look at character building using astrological signs. The group helped me develop a new major character in book 4, including brainstorming names. We also brainstormed character development and names for other writers in the group.

Spoilers for book 4! (Photo credit: Chris Stout)

That afternoon, Chris Stout gave us an introductory primer on tarot cards and showed us two methods of using the cards to brainstorm new story ideas with basic three-card spreads (protagonist, antagonist & conflict and goal, motivation & conflict). He used the large Rider-Waite tarot deck for demonstration purposes, but brought along a bunch of other historical and themed decks for everyone to explore.

(Photo credit: Rachell Nichole)

Despite the below-freezing temperatures (that was why I went to the beach Saturday), we ventured out of the cozy house for a delicious dinner at a local seafood restaurant that I highly recommend for anyone who attends a retreat at Broadkill.

Delicious, delicious crab legs. Chris dove in so fast that we missed a “before” picture.

The rest of the evening was spent in quieter pursuits, and Monday morning we packed up and went out separate ways. Broadkill is a fantastic house in a lovely beach neighborhood, and I can’t wait to go back again and again.


For more information about Broadkill Resort, including upcoming writers retreats and how to schedule a retreat for your own writing group, please visit the official website! You can also learn more about it at their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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