Ghost Story Weekend 2024

Join us for a spooky, fun-filled writing retreat along the beautiful MacKenzie River where you’ll write and revise a short ghost story in the company of other writers.

What’s it all about?

For over a decade, Wordcrafters has hosted the enchanting Ghost Story Weekend. Created by the illustrious Elizabeth Engstrom, this generative writing retreat is a must for anyone who loves a good ghost story.

Picture this: four days in the serene woods, crafting ghostly tales, and sharing them with fellow writers. You’ll enjoy good company, good chocolate, and good stories. From Thursday evening to Sunday morning, you’ll dive into the art of ghost story writing and emerge with a tale to tell of your own.

This fun, generative writing retreat is held along the beautiful McKenzie River at Harbick’s Country Inn in Blue River, Oregon, and welcomes writers of all levels.

What you’ll get at Ghost Story Weekend

  • Instruction on how to write short stories
  • Knowledge about ghost stories
  • Daily writing time
  • Opportunities to share your story-in-progress and receive feedback
  • Time to revise your short story
  • A bag of inspiration, filled with goodies like tarot cards, haunted places, strange recipes, and love letters
  • A Wordcrafters short-story guidebook filled with prompts and information
  • A 30-minute one-on-one story session with the instructor to help you with plot, structure, and character development
  • Delicious chocolate and snacks
  • Camaraderie with fellow writers

What you’ll take home with you

  • A finished short story that you’ll write and revise throughout the long weekend
  • Information on where you can submit your story for publication
  • An experience of community with like-hearted writers
  • The knowledge of how to craft short stories
  • A deeper understanding of the ghost story genre

Your Spirit Guide

This year’s Ghost Story spirit guide is Portland-based author Erick Mertz. He’ll inspire you with talks on ghost stories, story structure, and how to feed your monster. Throughout the weekend, Erick will be available for one-on-one guidance, sharing his story wisdom during meals and gatherings, while writing his own story alongside you.

What to expect

  • Thursday evening: optional dinner (not included), ghost story discussion and instruction, and the official start of writing
  • Friday: dedicated writing time, group meals, a craft talk, and small-group critique of your first draft.
  • Saturday: dedicated writing time to work on your draft, group meals, and, in the evening, gathering around the fire (or a spooky spot) to share your ghost story.
  • Sunday morning: light feedback session to help you further refine your tale.

Don’t be scared!

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned writer, you’ll find a supportive community here. This retreat is a fantastic way to dive into short story writing and connect with others who share your passion.

Details and Schedule

Location: Harbick’s Country Inn in Blue River, OR

Tuition: Includes all instruction, seven meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Friday and Saturday, breakfast on Sunday), and plenty of treats. Register for your room separately. Rooms are $99-$155/night.

Attendance: Limited to 16 participants, plus the instructor.

Thursday, October 24

  • 4 pm: Arrive at Harbick’s Country Inn
  • 5 pm: The Dark Lair opens to begin gathering, enjoy cocktails, and get to know each other
  • 6 pm: Dinner and cocktail hour–either on your own or as a group trip to a restaurant
  • 7 pm: Gather around the fireplace to talk about ghost stories, story structure, and get your spooky writing inspiration
  • 8 pm: Writing begins

Friday, October 25

  • 9 am: Breakfast
  • 1 pm: Lunch and craft talk
  • 6 pm: Dinner
  • 7 pm: Small group story sharing and critique of your first draft

Saturday, October 26

  • 9 am: Breakfast
  • 1 pm: Lunch
  • 6 pm: Dinner
  • 7 pm: Witching Hour: Story sharing around the fire

Sunday, October 27

  • 9 am: Breakfast
  • 10 am: Feedback session
  • Noon: Farewells


Seven meals are included in your registration: breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Friday and Saturday, as well as breakfast on Sunday. On Thursday, we plan to go to Takoda’s across the street, and each pay for our own meals.

Meals will be simple and nourishing, fueling your creative self and taking the stress out of having to plan, cook, and clean to let you focus on your writing.

  • Breakfasts will include a cereal bar, yogurt, fruit, pastries, and porridge. We’ll have make-your-own eggs and some other nibbles.
  • Lunches will be sammies, salads, and soups.
  • Dinners on Friday and Saturday will be pizza from a local pizzeria and Cafe Yumm.
  • Chocolate is a meal, right? There will be chocolate!

Once you register, we’ll send you a survey checking on any food issues you have or accommodations you need.

About the instructor

October 24-27, 2024
4 pm Thursday to noon Sunday

Harbick’s Country Inn
Rainbow, OR

Tuition includes all instruction, seven meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Friday and Saturday, breakfast on Sunday), and plenty of treats.

(You’ll register for your own room at Harbick’s Country Inn–we’ll send details with your event registration. Rooms are $99-$155/night minus a Wordcrafters’ discount.)

Access: $337 – if you have limited access to funds
Sustainer: $449 – the actual cost of this retreat
Patron: $559 – if you have more access to wealth/resources and can support others who need to pay less

We trust you to discern your financial situation and your level of need or ability to give to others with less access to wealth.

Learn more about our Pay From Your Heart Pricing. If you need additional assistance, please email us at bewriting@wordcrafters.org.

Wordcrafters members save 10% on this and other events and classes.

Click here to learn about becoming a Wordcrafter.

Ready to Write?

Join us for a long weekend of spooky creativity. Register now to secure your spot at this beloved event. Let’s make some ghostly magic together!

General registration opens Aug 15


Email us at bewriting@wordcrafters.org

Masks are optional. Please stay home if you’re unwell with any upper respiratory illness.

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