Editor’s note: The Portales News-Tribune is following one writer through their journey and participation in the Eastern New Mexico University Writer’s Retreat.
By Rae Arnett
Daphne Underwood learned she is not the only writer in her family. Her 9-year-old daughter Paige surprised her when she also sought a critique at the Eastern New Mexico University Writer’s Retreat.
“During the published author panel my daughter wrote four pages of a new story and showed it to Stefan Kiesbye (Writer’s Retreat organizer and published author) after,” said Underwood.
Underwood and 14 others have participated in several workshops in the past two weeks to better themselves as writers.
Underwood said that she would recommend the retreat to her daughter in the future.
“If she gets to that point in her writing where she wants to take her writing to the next level of creativity and let the muse move her then, yes, I would suggest she go to the retreat,” said Underwood.
Asked if she would recommend the retreat to other writers Underwood replied, “Yes, absolutely, no questions about it. The retreat has definitely helped my writing a lot.”
The conciseness of Underwood’s writing has been most affected by this retreat, she said.
“I tend to write words upon words and now I know how to tone it down and say what I want to say,” said Underwood.
She also said she is going to, “incorporate more feelings, smells, and sights into my writing.”
The fantasy novel Underwood is currently writing has also been affected positively by the retreat.
“I try to write on it every day so I see it all the time, but after everyone else’s work had been critiqued I began to notice where it needed work. It has a lot of stuffiness,” said Underwood.
She began revising her novel before the rest of the writers read the submitted piece because of the knowledge she had gained in the first week of the retreat.
“She has a super awesome imagination, she is very inventive,” said Kiesbye.
He also discussed how the basics of her writing were fluent as well as elaborate.
Another student at the retreat, Laura Bierly, also found Underwood’s imagination to be her greatest attribute.
“She has an immense capacity for creativity and it really shows in her writing. If anything, after this retreat, she will be able to build off of her ideas to create a more beautiful and polished piece of work,” said Bierly.
Kiesbye feels Underwood’s writing has promise.
“I have seen both non-fiction and fiction writing by Daphne and both are very polished. She is so ambitious, in a good way. She is always serious and always trying to learn more,” said Kiesbye.