Codex Writers’ Workshop: Day Three

Today we critiqued four stories. By now, I’m getting a sense of whose critiques resonate with me most, which is good because– well, if I’m hearing advice that I think is spot-on to fix someone else’s story, if that same person tells me to fix something in mine, then chances are that they are right. Or at least that we have similar taste.

Garrett Winn did a workshop on time management focused on writing. One of the things I thought was interesting came up as a tangent. The old question of whether one should set wordcount goals or time goals. As James Maxey put it, you’re paid by the word, not the time in the chair.

Personally, I work with wordcount goals BUT I’ve also timed myself writing so I know that I write about a thousand words an hour. Which means that if I want to write 2000 words a day that I need to block out a minimum of two hours a day to do that.

Then there was a group discussion about what makes a story stand out as exceptional. I think about the only thing we all agreed on was “specificity.” Lots of other things were bandied about, but no golden key appeared. Granted, I left early to finish cooking dinner, which was….

Polenta and Black Bean Casserole
Wax Beans from Mom’s Garden
Green salad with optional tomatoes, onion and mushrooms.

Afterwards, Mom made blueberry cobbler, served with ice cream.

Oh, Dad, Luc and Danielle played music for us. We’ve discovered that the Star Trek theme is perfectly suited to the musical saw. I’ll try to get a recording before the week is out.

In between all this, I started in on the novel revisions. I was pleased to discover that they really weren’t all that bad. Most of the things people brought up can be fixed in one or two sentences. Whew.

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