Tag Archives: wonder

Writer’s Log: 2170 Workshop Review

My Writing Workshop was a success.

Two hours, the first one with me power-driving through the strategic and tactical slides. Then an hour of presenting some of the participant’s work and walking through edits I’d made.

No one wanted to go home despite the late hour. Writers, sheesh. They don’t know when to quit.

I solicited some feedback and here was a comprehensive reply:

“Honestly, was very interesting and easy for me to follow. I left the meeting feeling a little burned out because I felt like I learned quite a few really very useful and interesting things. Your expertise on the subject matter was apparent. To me one of the most important aspects was you listed a number of meaningful calls to action to improve our work.

I left the meeting feeling encouraged by the fact that if I work at it, I will continue to improve. providing the calls to action is a really important part of that. It will be important to maintain the progression I think. I wouldn’t have guessed that it was your first time leading a instruction and critique session.

Perhaps something that could add value is to find specific examples of some of the areas of improvement within the our work and talk through some of the edits that you suggest. Of course that would be easier if people didn’t submit 20 minutes before the session started haha.

Overall, very educational, and encouraging. Will look forward to participating in the future.”

Although I didn’t record it (sorry Goldie, George) I’m pretty sure it happened.

Another:

“I thought the workshop was excellent. I appreciated that you tackled the basics. I like the idea of moving on to higher level information, but i think it would be great to do more of a deep dive on some of the basics like dialogue and scenes before we move into strategy. It was nice that you gave feedback to everyone. Maybe next time we could also do a deep dive on one person’s work and have a discussion about it? This might help people to start thinking critically. “

Initially, my nervousness showed. But after I moved through the Takeaways slide, I got into explaining my ideas on each of the big pieces. I noticed that, rather that read the slides, I ignored them, and spoke around the material, providing a parallel take on the bullet points I’d provided. I personally hate when speakers just read the frickin’ slides. (The folks get to access the presentation at their leisure.)

I did use the material I’d created for the basic skills—the tactical. Reading a sentence and assessing why it either works or doesn’t (given all the factors that make up a good sentence: dialog-tags, active/passive, show-v-tell, adverbs, story essential) helps drive home what ‘writing well’ truly means. To me, internalizing these sentence tactics is both the hardest yet critical aspect to good writing. You can have the most fantastical plot, the strongest characters, and the greatest setting, but without having mastered the basics, your story will suck.


I live with my ideas turned off

I am surely cursed.

I can look at a blade of grass, a cloud, a mote in the sunlight, or nothing at all — the emptiness of a tipped bucket or unfinished barrel and see a story, see the makings of the work-a-day effort, the striving, the agony of completion as the task is done and the next as it is planned. These and more as an entire life is envisioned, run through its trials and finally extinguished.

I can’t turn this off. Or rather, I can turn this off, but if I looked, I would see this constantly.

But, yes, I do turn this off. I have to. If I don’t, it would be like living in a fast forward cascade of fictional events, spilling from a dreamed reality, dragons, and alien planets, and financial equations, and tiny thumb-handed beings trying to build a city from packing peanuts. It just never stops.

No. It does stop. I stop it. The fact is, I know I can’t deal with it, so I kill it. Intentionally.

I kill it, often with alcohol. Mostly, with alcohol. But that only inflames the sprites within my mind. Oh, to they enjoy a spin on the spirits, a dance on the drink. Fortunately at these times, my fingers can no longer follow my thoughts and it’s there where the fancy leaves the page. You may never know what happens after. Which is sad. But, rest assured, know that what transpires is a true whimsy of enormous wonder and possibility…