An interesting day at the South Carolina Writers Workshop....
Got in yesterday, after a five hour drive. Just long enough to make you sleepy, you know?My first lesson? God, I'm an overpacker. An employee asked me if I was moving in. That's how bad I am at that stuff.
Once again, I have a room with a view. This hotel is well-designed, letting most room have a good ocean view. Found the volunteer group last night and made it to the volunteer meeting, and found out my assignment is to oversee a couple blocks of time at the critique/pitch/query sessions.
A simple gig, but yes, I am able to cause complications. Like trying to remember to set the timer. Very difficult for a spazz like me.
And when your job is to poke your head into the room and yell, "Two minutes!", you should probably have a voice that projects a bit more than your average dormouse
Today was the kick-off. Friday Intensive courses. I managed to sleep through breakfast and miss lunch, so I had to eat some travel-size Fruity Pebbles to make it through until dinner.
The full brunt of the conference takes effect tomorrow. Didn't get an opportunity to attend today's courses because of my volunteering/appointment conflicts. I mean, I could have taken a portion of a course, but I didn't want to be the mook who disrupts the class by not being able to make a graceful, quiet exit mid-discussion.
I had my agent critique appointment early on, luckily. It's torture if you know you must wait the entire weekend to get to that event. I've been at conferences where that's been the case, and you walk around with a little knot in your gut until you can get it over with finally.
About my critique? Let's just say it didn't go at all as I figured it would.
The agent I met with was lovely. You always walk into these fearing you're about to be mauled by a fire-breathing dragon. Not so. This person was very gracious and mindful of the fact that it may be hard to receive criticism.
She addressed things I had concerns about, so I'm quite glad to know my mind tends to stress over areas it should be stressing about. I was incredibly surprised to hear she liked my synopsis. I SUCK at synopsises. Synopses? Those things that summarize your story. When I was submitting my critique materials via email, I'd forgotten that a one page synopsis was to be included, so in a blind panic, I whipped one up, convinced it was utter shiite.
Maybe I should whip things up in a blind panic more often.
The critique was a massive success, mostly because she didn't laugh and throw my submission back in my face. But I know that I might have something viable with this manuscript. And I have an agent's business card to utilize once I address her suggestions. And I have an interested party!
The logical side of my brain, that wee little itty bitty side that is usually dominated by the bigger stupid side, is kicking in. I know this doesn't mean that I will have an agent soon. It just means that I have a shot at something, if I apply myself. The Janie manuscript will be hugged and kissed, then worked on a bit more because of that knowledge.
But, still. *squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee*!
Positive commentary was present for dialogue, writing style, and for the characters. She felt the subject matter is timely. I have a critique copy with smiley faces.
I has a big, fat happy, my people.
Guys, if I can ever offer a reason to join a writing organization, this is a big one. These critiques are invaluable. Think about it: I was able, today, to sit down with an agent and discuss my work. I was able to learn what is crap (which is my first chapter) and what isn't (which is the next two chapters, at least).
If I'd sent my first chapter as a sample to this agent on my own, I'd probably get a form rejection. Instead, today I learned that while there is an element or two that can be applied elsewhere, for the most part, it's worthless.
Not in the 'your story sucks' sense. In the sense that my story actually begins in the second chapter.
A simple fix, but a critical issue if I'm submitting to agents without having a professional opinion in my grasp. Today, I found out something I didn't realize, and I didn't burn a bridge in the process.
Possibly, I actually built a bridge? *crosses fingers*
So that was my big revelation for the day. This weekend I will rejoice at having a bit of validation as a writer, with hope for something good to come of it. Then I'll get to work after a day of rest, post-conference.
Let's see, what else happened?
I got a whiskey sour at the mixer in which I was too much of an introverted dork to figure out how to mix with other people. Three sips and I had to set it aside because hi, I haven't had whiskey in a lonnnnnng time.
Somehow, I ended up at a dinner table with the keynote speaker, Andrew Gross. And I was incapable of speech. I think I said, "Wow." a few times.
Carrie McCray Awards were announced, and sadly, I didn't win one this year. Next year I need to devote more time to crafting a story. I like my submission, but I fear the bleakness and randomness of the little ditty probably didn't work for this kind of thing.
No big whoop. I pouted for a couple minutes and got over it. I'm a writer. I'm allowed my moment of 'waaah'. We sensitive types need a moment to adjust to the suggestion that we may not be the greatest writer on Earth.
Tomorrow, after my volunteer shift, I shall class it up. Learn a few things. For now, I have to figure out how to come down off the high of a successful agent critique. Oh well, I'll be sleepy tomorrow, but it will be a sleepiness tinged with sooper dooper glee :)