Writers Who Run Retreat

  • 300 Woods Road, Fontana Dam, NC, USA
  • Jun 25 - 30, 2018 (6 days)
  • $1899 to $2399

Event Highlights

  • Day 1: Welcome Dinner - Meet the faculty and get to know one another while you dine and relax among your newfound tribe. First night's dinner at 8:00 PM.
  • Day 2: Journal Making - Group runs every morning, followed by interactive workshops and one-on-one critiques. After dinner, it's journal-making time!
  • Day 3: Visit Fontana Dam - The creation of Fontana Dam is a story with its own ups and downs. Feel fresh mountain breezes, and then visit the gift shop.
  • Day 4: Ride the Lazy River - After dinner, chat with new friends (or your fictional characters) as you gently float on an inner tube around the lazy river.
  • Day 5: Boat Tour on Fontana Lake - Listen to the tour guide share nuggets of history. You might see a bear, an eagle, or other wildlife as you relax on the pontoon boat.
  • Day 6: Run (or Walk) the 10k or 5k Race - The climax of your mountain getaway is to run the 10k race with your new writing friends. Bling will be awarded!
  • 1. Redefining Your Plot Structure with Alex Lidell - Learn how to plot your story - from the inciting incident all the way to to the climax.
  • 2. Voice and Dialogue with Jeff Zentner - When do you use your own voice and when do you let your character use theirs? By looking at dialogue, you'll venture into the nuances of voice and how important it is when writing a novel.
  • 3. Character Motivations and Goals with T. K. Kiser - What are your characters really after? Why? In this 90-minute workshop we will workshop four essential aspects of your characters, focusing on the protagonist and antagonist. We will examine how your character's history affects his/her motivations and goals at the story and scene level.
  • 4. Conflict and Tension with T. K. Kiser - Is your protagonist driving the story? The moment the protagonist loses agency is the moment that your story's conflict and tension deflate. In this 90-minute workshop, we will identify and fix agency gaps at the story- and scene-levels, using two simple and effective techniques.
  • 5. Evoking Reader Emotions with Alex Lidell - Learn how to get the reader to feel the way you want them to feel about your character. When you learn how to heighten the emotion in your story, you'll be able to make a character likable or sympathetic - even if he is a murderer by profession.
  • 6. Write a Better Beginning and Other Revision Strategies with Christie Wright Wild - In this workshop, you'll discover a handful of ways to revise your work. Bring your manuscripts with you because we'll be revising on the fly!
  • 7. Knock 'em Dead with your First Five Pages with Mollie Traver - Sometimes an agent will only give your story one page before moving on. Learn what makes your story tick and the insider insights on how to tackle that tricky first page so it achieves exactly what it needs to: alert agents to your talent and yank readers into your book, giving them no choice but to continue. Bring three copies of the first 250 words of your manuscript and a one-paragraph plot synopsis.
  • 8. To Market, To Market... with Nancy Churnin - It's never too early to think about how you can market your book. This workshop will help you come up with a plan.
  • http://www.writerswhorunretreat.com/


7:00 AM - 2-mile trail run/walk
8:00 - Breakfast
9:00 - Workshop #1
10:45 - Break and Yoga for Runners
11:15 - Workshop #2
1:00 PM - Lunch
2:00 - One-on-One Faculty Critiques
4:00 - Personal Writing Time
6:00 - Social Event: Trip to the Famous Fontana Dam
7:00 - Dinner on your own tonight
8:00 - S'mores at Community Fire Pit

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About This Event

If you're a writer who loves being active, loves to explore new possibilities, and is ready to take your writing to the next level - then join us in the secluded town of Fontana Dam, North Carolina for a transformative and inspiring 6-day writing journey.

As the sun sets behind the lush trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you sit around the crackling fire and savor the taste of roasted marshmallow and melted milk chocolate in a bite of Graham cracker crunchy-gooey (contact info blocked) S'mores!
Beneath the Carolina stars, you walk back to the quaint, yet rustic, retreat lodge where refreshing pineapple-infused water awaits you.
Sinking into one of the lobby's comfy couches, you can't help but smile about the amazing day you just had - learning about character and setting, dining in fine southern hospitality, receiving feedback on your manuscript, and splashing around for an evening dip in the pool - with your newfound tribe of writing friends.

(contact info blocked) the excitement of the writer's getaway!

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This was my first writers' retreat, and what a treat! We had so much attention from the staff. Christie didn't leave any stone unturned. I was told by several participants (now friends) that we shouldn't expect the wealth of knowledge and attention we received here, at any other retreat. New friends, knowledge, a beautiful location, and my first time with fireflies! Along with my brain, my heart is full! ~ Susan, California

Venue Highlights

Experience rural western North Carolina and learn about the lore the land. Fontana Dam is rich in history.

Fontana Dam is nestled in heart of the Nantahala National Forest in the mountains and valleys of southwestern North Carolina. The area has a rich history around Fontana Dam and Fontana Lake and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

It's a town with a full-time population of less than 50. The Fontana Village Resort is the town's largest (and quite possibly the only) employer where it employs 100+ natives of the area, albeit only seasonally.

​It's also the home of the Tail of the Dragon in Deals Gap, a famous stretch of road for motorcyclists, boasting 318 curves in 11 miles.

Fontana Village Resort is your home away from home during your week-long writing retreat. The rooms are comfortable and accommodating. Enjoy relaxing in the pool right outside your room or trek down to the lazy river. Bring a spouse and enjoy a rousing round of disc golf. Visit the laundromat before you leave and stop at the ice cream shop while you wait for your clothes to dry. You'll likely hear music emanating from the Outfitters Store. Be sure to relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the view from the Bear's Den and Lounge at sunset.


The small, and we do mean small, town of Fontana Dam, NC is 30 minutes from the nearest anything. However, Fontana Village Resort has everything you'll need.

​Restaurants. Lake. Marina. Disc golf. Hiking trails. Boat tours. Swimming pools. Outfitter store. Ambiance. And you can't forget Fontana Dam.

The Carolina Room, with 2520' square feet of floor space, will be used for both our conference and eating area. It's right across from the Mountainview Bistro & Bears Den Lounge, where your significant other is welcome to dine while you're rubbing elbows with your new literary family.

Most of the rooms are double occupancy - only a limited number of private rooms are available. (contact info blocked)


  • Air Conditioning in Rooms
  • Free Wifi
  • Pool
  • Free Parking
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Restaurant
  • Fitness Center
  • House-Keeping

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Pescetarian
  • Includes Meat
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free


Every day, enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal. It smells and tastes like Mama cooked it.

It might be a spaghetti dinner with noodles cooked to perfection, buttered corn, and a thick sauce (with or without meat) seasoned with oregano, thyme, and basil. (contact info blocked) savory!

Or it might be Applewood smoked chicken breasts, tender and buttered green peas, roasted red skin potatoes, a variety of soft dinner rolls, and a simple tossed salad. So tasty!

For mid-morning snacks, enjoy a granola bar, nuts, pretzels, or an apple.

​After all, runners need energy! And writers need brain power. Taste the power! And of course we can cater to your needs for dietary restrictions. We'll introduce you to the waiter on the first night.


It's best to ride the shuttle from the Charlotte International Airport (CLT), but if you want to drive, here's the deets:

​Fontana Village Resort is located in western North Carolina, 20 miles north of Robbinsville on Highway 28 North on the western end of Fontana Lake, about 20 minutes from the North Carolina / Tennessee state border.

From Knoxville, Tennessee, take Hwy 129 south from Knoxville to Maryville, TN. Just past Maryville, Hwy129 turns left off of the four lane highway. Drive carefully. This section of this route is a beautiful, but curvy mountain road known as the "Dragon" by car & bike enthusiasts. One mile past past the TN/NC state line turn left on Hwy 28 at Deals Gap. Continue on Hwy 28 for 8.6 miles.

From Asheville, North Carolina take I-40 west. Take the exit for Hwy 74 (Great Smoky Mountain Expressway). Stay on Hwy 74 (four lane) you will pass Clyde, Sylva, and 8 miles past Bryson City turn right on Hwy 28. Continue on Hwy 28 for 25 miles.

From north Atlanta, travel north on I-75, I-575, GA 5, US 76, GA & NC 60 North, US 64 east to US 129/19. North of Andrews, take US 129 to Robbinsville. Take NC 143 east to Hwy 28, follow Hwy 28 to Fontana Village.

Another route from north Atlanta, north on GA 400 to Dahlonaga then US 19 North to US 129, then US 129 North to Robbinsville. Take NC 143 east to Hwy 28, follow Hwy 28 to Fontana Village.

From east Atlanta, take I-85 north to 985 north which turns into US 441. Continue into NC to the town of Dillsboro. Merge on to Hwy 74 west to Bryson City (last chance for groceries) turn right on Hwy 28. Continue on Hwy 28 for 25 miles.

From Chattanooga, Tennessee take I-75 north to exit 20 onto US 64 E. towards Cleveland and merge onto the US 74E/US 64E via the ramp to the Ocoee River Gorge. Travel 81 miles to Topton, NC. Turn left on US 129. Travel 11 miles and turn right on NC 143 in Robbinsville, NC. Travel 9 miles and turn left onto NC 28. Fontana will be 11.7 miles north on your left.

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Tags: fiction north carolina novel picture books running rural transformation writer writers writing

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