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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?


( 14 sutras — Your wisdom )
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

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.
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?
Nov. 12th, 2005 02:04 am (UTC)
I'll be at dinner, and drinks after. We should compare notes.
Nov. 12th, 2005 01:12 am (UTC)
You??? Fanboy out? But... but... you're you. People fanboy out because of you. :D

But yes, I do believe it's possible to be an editing fanboy. Being an editor is about making choices, and if an editor makes choices you really dig there's no reason not to fanboy about that editor. :)
Nov. 12th, 2005 01:17 am (UTC)
Absolutely. I'm a real fan of Sue Cook's. You can see the quality in the stuff she personally edits for Malhavoc.

(Sounds like a terrific weekend, by the way.)
Nov. 12th, 2005 01:20 am (UTC)
Can I be your fanboy?
Nov. 12th, 2005 01:25 am (UTC)
You can be my fangirl, cuz I am a pretty good editor, after all.

Wait... why are we having this conversation on TMK's LJ? ;D
Nov. 12th, 2005 01:32 am (UTC)
Because I'm his fanboy, too.
Nov. 12th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC)
Yeah. Me too.

Sorry, the_monkey_king, but you're cool and well-known in da biz... so sometimes its hard to not fanboy those times when we hang out. ;)
Nov. 12th, 2005 02:07 am (UTC)
Everybody does it. We elevate people based on their work, which is fine, but we forget they are people, somehow.

The last time for me was when I met William Gibson. I managed a "hello" and a "thank you for signing" and not much more. I was just too freaked out. The Father of Cyberpunk! Right there! Kinda skinny!
Nov. 12th, 2005 07:15 am (UTC)
I've met Gibson a few times. I have just about every book he's done signed at my regular bookstore here in town, which was nearly the first place he *ever* signed. I never manage more than a few words.

Here's a funny anecdote about him: he's been known to go for late-night Dairy Queen near my old high school.
Nov. 13th, 2005 04:02 am (UTC)
(3rd try, OMG my brain) (this one will work, I promise)
I behaved very well with Connie Willis, but that's because my gigantic fangirling out episode with actor Ray Wise during the popularity of "Twin Peaks" embarrassed me so much that I swore never again.

While I'm here... are you and shellyinseattle game for the November 20th pre-birthday bash at Marrakesh?
Nov. 12th, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
Have a great weekend, ya big editing-geek!

Another comrade from the editing trenches who spent his day double-checking an index for a 795 page book....

PS: Give a big hug to Mrs. Monkey King and Ms. Scarlettina from me would you? Thanx.
( 14 sutras — Your wisdom )

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