Sunday, January 9, 2011

Residency Day 3

No surprise, but I've been so busy I haven't had time to catch up with the blog! I don't know why I thought I would, but somehow I thought I'd have a few minutes to jot a few things before I went to bed at night. Ha!!

Day three went just as well, if not better, than day two. By now we're settling in to a routine and I have a fair confidence in being able to follow the schedule. I've met a lot of people. Everyone ahead of time said the people are the thing that make the program so special, and by now I'd have to say I agree. Every single person is so cool, so friendly, so talented, so motivating and encouraging. We laugh. A lot. More than I've laughed in a long time. It's not particularly good for my coughing, but it's great for the soul. :)

The classes today were mind blowing. I'm sure in the coming weeks I'll share more about what I learned, but suffice it to say that by ten o'clock in the morning I wanted to retract everything I'd ever written and revise them. The morning session, on line editing, was the kind of game-changing learning I was hoping for. How to make your writing leaner, tighter, more focused and strong. It was practical and immediately helpful.

We had our first workshop as well. Workshop is when the student body divides into small groups with an advisor to review each others' writing. My group has ten students, and we'll do 1-2 pieces a day, each student getting an entire hour devoted to discussion on his or her story that was submitted (and critiqued) prior to residency. This was such an incredible time! My group is so talented, but more importantly, such fantastic readers. The conversations was like your dream book club, where we sat for an hour just talking about the story: the characters and setting and plot and themes and imagery and what we thought certain things meant and what was done superbly and what we'd have done differently to make it better.

We're meeting in a hotel, and there aren't enough conference rooms for the 12 workshop groups, so most meet in modified rooms. This is ours:

There's a fireplace going in there!! So toasty warm! And in case you can't quite see the view out the window, I took a picture of that, too:

Yes, that's the ocean. The sand comes right up almost to the window. It could have been extremely distracting if it weren't for the great discussion going on in the room!
We rounded the evening with more author readings, and then the tradition Karaoke night at Pudgy's down the street. Yes... Karaoke. Everyone I knew decided to bail on me. It didn't start until 9:00 and people were tired, more work due the next day. But it was traditional! I recognize that a great part of this program is social... networking and making friends and possible critique partners and future cover blurbers. I didn't want to miss out on part of what makes this program great, and so I went. I was adopted by a group of second semesters before the shuttle even came, and by the end of the night, I was dancing and singing and probably making a fool of myself, and in general, having a blast. 

Night came fast and late, but I could honestly say I'd squeezed everything out of the day that I could. And in the end, I can't ask more than that!


  1. A one hour critique. That would be amazing. How do you record all the advice. Sounds like you're having a fantastic time.

    Maybe one day.

  2. Yay! That program sounds amazing. I'm jealous of the beach view, too. I am soooo glad you're learning a lot and meeting so many great people :)