Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ArmadilloCon Recap: Workshop

I'm back from ArmadilloCon!

Wow, was it ever an exciting whirlwind of an experience: three full days of critiques, panels and meeting lots of interesting people.

I'm still in processing mode, so over the next few days I'll summarize some of the highlights of the con. Today's highlight: the writing workshop.

For the workshop I submitted the first chapter of my current WIP. A few weeks ago four other first chapters/short stories showed up in my inbox, and I critiqued those before the con. Last Friday our group of five got together with two professional authors, who had also looked at our work. Then we spent a few hours chatting about how to make our stories better.

I was super excited about the two pros assigned to my group: Rosemary Clement-Moore and Phoebe Kitanidis. Both are successful YA authors and fabulous people. They had great comments for all of us.

And the other people in my group had smart things to say too. All of the submissions I critiqued were strong—great group of writers.

There were mixed reactions to my first chapter. One fellow student wanted me to make next to no changes; another had pages of notes. A third said the chapter had made her cry—I think this is the first time in my life I've been genuinely gratified to know I've made another person shed tears.

The pros had some great advice, which I have been mulling over. Rosemary had the same comment for all of us: show the characters internalizing the things that happen to them. She even has a great video to go along with the advice.

Overall I was very encouraged by the workshop and eager to get back to writing. At the moment I'm two thirds of the way through the first draft of the novel. Just about to start into the home stretch!

In the meantime, here's a big THANK YOU to Rosemary and Phoebe and the other students in my group.

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