Saturday, May 7, 2011

Highlights Workshop: Day 6

Late post again!  Stupid internet!  (But lucky you since that means you get two posts today!)

Today was day six of the workshop and we're all starting to get misty-eyed at the thoughts of leaving this writer's paradise (even though we do miss our family members--both the two-legged and furry ones.)  In the morning, I had my end of the workshop chat with Laura about my revision plans for my novel.  We bounced around some ideas and she looked at my chapter 1 revisions (which, I'm happy to say, she thought was even better than before!  Hooray!)  The afternoon consisted of our last two peer critiques.  Our group was unanimous in sharing the feeling that we all learned so much this week from the critiques we received as well as listening to each other's critiques.  Everyone was kind, considerate and constructive--the best type of critique givers. :)
The gang's all here! Aren't we a smiley bunch?

Our group workshop today was on Language.  Honestly, it's one of those abstract concepts that is hard to explain but easy to see, going hand in hand with the other topics we discussed this week.  Language varies in everyone's writing and plays a part in creating mood and tone.  Some writing is lyrical and a joy to the ears; others are concise; while others might cut you like a knife.  It's an aspect of writing that is especially important to consider towards the end of the revision process, when the kinks of your story are worked out and you can focus on making it shine.  Language relies heavily on word choice and while the right word can sing to you, the wrong one can throw you out of the story.

Still too vague for you?  Here are two examples from The Folk Keeper that illuminate this intangible thing:

"Ever since I turned into Corin, I can no longer put together words...every rhyme that comes to me now has a hole in it's middle, right where the heartbeat should be."

"The beach has a language of its own, with its undulating ribbons of silt, the imponderable hieroglyphs of bird tracks.  The receding waves catch on innumerable holes in the sand.  Bubbles form and fade.  A new language, with a new alphabet, which I will learn to read."

The writing is so perfect and careful that it gives you goosebumps.  One last thought from our faculty to consider for your writing: it's not always what is there, but what isn't.  What you don't say says volumes.

The meals of today felt perfect--nothing fancy, but completely soul-satisfying.  (Oh how I will miss this glorious food!)  For breakfast we had oatmeal with warm applesauce and monkey-bread; lunch was turkey soup and salad with honey-lemon dressing; our workshop snack was deviled eggs with chips and salsa; and dinner was a variety of grilled cookout food  (I had a portobello "hamburger") with dill potato salad and ice cream novelties for dessert.  (Mmm...Klondike bars....)

Just one day left. :(

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