Friday, August 01, 2008

Boot Camp Day 4

Last night, when I was talking to my wife, I couldn't believe that it had only been one day of reading stories.

The stories I read yesterday morning feel like an eternity ago.

And the critiques have been amazing. Not just from Orson Scott Card, but from everybody.

I hadn't expected everything everybody said to be useful. But as we went around the room, I felt like everything everybody had to say about everybody's story was exactly right.

For those who don't know, OSC's workshop doesn't work like most. The other participants don't offer advice, they don't say stuff like "cut out all this description here."

Instead, they just report on their experience reading the story. "I was really intersted in this character." "I didn't like this guy, but I felt like you wanted me to like him." "I couldn't understand why this girl did X." That kind of thing.

Instead of telling you what you should do, they tell you what you've done.

And that can't be argued with. What, are you going to accuse them of lying about what they felt?

That doesn't mean it's easy to take. I'm about to find out, at any rate--my story is up first this morning.

But I think I'm excited. I'm so glad I didn't go first yesterday. Now that I've heard them all discuss other stories, I know I can absolutely trust these people. I've seen that they're not mean-spirited, they're not out to make anybody look bad. They're just honest. And so no matter what I might feel, I know whatever they tell me about my story will be true.

The variety of the stories they wrote and the insights they give into stories is great. I'm really lucky to have this group.

And of course, Scott Card is amazingly insightful and does offer suggestions, so this is going to be invaluable.

Wish me luck.

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