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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Will I get lost? 

A: It's a definite possibity. However, we don't want you to get lost, so we are going to do our best to make it easy for you to find us. We will email directions to all participants before the retreat, and if you follow them carefully, you will find us just fine. Remember, when you turn onto the campus, keep going until you see the Sycamore Main Lodge building. Don't be fooled by any other lodges, small houses, or intriguing buildings along the way.

Keep driving until you see a sign!

Q: What do I wear?

A: Something.

Most people wear comfortable, business-casual attire.

It's possible that someone might be more dressy.

Remember, artists are at work here and creativity is encouraged!

Q: Can I have my own room? 

A: No. Sorry, but it is the Whispering Pines policy that all attendee rooms are double occupancy. Good news! Many people who have met as roommates at WP have left as friends, and kept those friendships well after WP. In fact, many often request that same roommate year after year!

A2: We will take roommate requests. We can't guarantee that we can honor requests, but we will really, really try. Really.    

(Note: You are not required to make a request.)

Q: What will my mentor meeting be like?

A: You will meet with your assigned mentor for 25 uninterrupted minutes in a quiet space. Don't worry, they will be kind and constructive and offer you suggestions on how to improve your manuscript. They will point out your manuscript's strengths and show you where it might need more attention. This is a great opportunity to ask specific questions about your own work.

Q: I hear the food is outstanding. Will the dining staff cater to my food allergies?

A: Yes, the Whispering Pines staff will address your food allergies and dietary concerns.

Q: It seems expensive. Is it really worth the money?

A: We think so! Consider that your food and lodging are included in the cost of the conference. The food is out of this world and the accommodations are excellent. Tuition also covers five 50-minute inspiring workshops to help improve your craft and boost your creativity and motivation. Attendees range from writers and artists new to the profession to published authors and illustrators who can share their experiences and help you feel inspired. You will make new connections, and perhaps even find potential critique partners. In addition, friendly, knowledgeable, and motivating mentors will meet one-on-one with weekend participants for 25-minute sessions to discuss and give feedback on up to 25 manuscript pages. Definitely worth it, but check out the Testimonials page and see what previous attendees have to say.

A2: Oh, and it's so much FUN, too!

Q: Do I have to bring a basket if I attend?

A: No. They are optional. They are displayed for a silent auction. Many people participate because they are fun to create, peruse, and to take home if you're the highest bidder! We can only accept cash or checks for silent auction baskets.

Q: Will I go home with a book deal?

A: Most likely no. Almost certainly not. The chances are extremely, extremely slim. So please don't come with your hopes up or have the wrong expectations. You will, however, go home with expert advice, insight, inspiration, some new connections, and possibly sore cheeks from smiling. 

Q: What is the schedule like?

A: In general it has looked  something like this.


Friday/Thursday :

Afternoon Check-in

Mix & Mingle


Evening Activities




3 Morning Presentations


Mentor Meetings

Mix & Mingle


Evening Activities





Morning Activity

2 Afternoon Presentations


Ask the Experts Panel



Q: Can I bring my pet?

A: No. They are not an option. No dogs, cats, pigs, ducks, alpacas, horses or other cute, cuddly critters. They won't go with the decor. Okay, maybe they would, but you still can't bring them.

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