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Writer's Retreat

Tonight kicks off the Writer's Retreat with Beth Meacham, scarlettina, alg, and 30 other writers, agents, and editors, with a dinner and drinks.

Each of the writers attending the Retreat submitted the first 20 pages of their book to writersweekend. I posted a locked entry about the beginner I read earlier. Over lunch today I finished reading the fifth and final manuscript, and it was my favorite of the bunch, a traditional fantasy with a great hook and an engaging POV character. I'm debating what to say to strengthen the manuscript, and how to encourage the writer to continue his or her good habits. It's much easier to critique someone who already has mastered most of the craft than it was to critique the raw amateur.

Oddly enough, I've assumed that most of the anonymous manuscripts I've read and critiqued are by women — only one makes me think it might have been written by a man. It's a guessing game, and I look forward to meeting some of the authors in person tomorrow.

Meeting the editors and agent will be more formal, as I expect they'll do some lecturing, Q&A, and structured talks. Meeting Mrs. Meacham will probably turn me into a fannish idiot: she has edited many of my favorite authors, including Tim Powers, Judith Tarr, Greg Bear, Sheri Tepper, and Jack Vance. Is it possible to be a editing fanboy?

Comments

peartreealley
Nov. 11th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
Interestingly enough, (assuming we are speaking about the same manuscript) that submission garnered one of my longest of the feedback critiques.

Further proof that critiques are all about opinion :D

the_monkey_king
Nov. 11th, 2005 11:35 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I don't want to give the impression that there was nothing I'd want to improve.

It was just so much easier for me to cope with someone who has issues of word choice, pacing, said-book-isms, and logic than it was to deal with everything a beginner struggles with: spelling, grammar, characterization, POV, transitions, and set-ups, all at the same time. Yes, I disagreed with some choices, but I knew what the story was about and what it meant to convey.

It was easier to know where to start.
peartreealley
Nov. 12th, 2005 01:20 am (UTC)
Good points--and your points of topics were largely mine as well. I guess we just categorize things differently :D

Will I see you at dinner tonight?
the_monkey_king
Nov. 12th, 2005 02:04 am (UTC)
I'll be at dinner, and drinks after. We should compare notes.

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