I spent most of the weekend at an amazing writing workshop with Elizabeth Lyon, author of Manuscript Makeover. Elizabeth has that perfect balance of kindness and cutting that all great editors have, and she did a wonderful job of explaining how to add more emotion and characterization to ordinary scenes.
I found myself thinking, as I looked around the room, that writing workshops are a lot like highschool. I spend the entire class praying my work won’t be shredded and if, by chance, some small piece is recognized positively, I sink under the desk because… well… how embarrassing. Now I’m probably a social outcast.
I like to blend in to the middle of the room. I’m especially happy if someone loud and opinionated sits next to me because (a) it’s entertaining and (b) he/she can draw attention away from me.
I had the perfect system with a guy we’ll call Todd in Computer Sciences 12. I was hopeless at programming (the teacher said I had an illogical brain), but Todd was quite good. Unfortunately, the teacher didn’t particularly like Todd, and for some reason preferred to lean over my desk.
The system was this: Todd did all the work for the two of us. If he encountered a problem, he expained it to me and I waved my hands in the air, fluttering my eyelashes helplessly, until the teacher came and showed me (actually Todd) what was wrong.
It was perfect. If only Todd were at the writing workshop. Except, I think he’s in prison…