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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Long Awaited VP Posts - What I learned on my Fall Vacation

The earlier post shouldn't be construed that I didn't learn anything. I learned a held of a lot. Plot now makes a whole lot more sense to me. I'm sure once I complete some of the requested reading it'll ingrain even more.

Much of the information can be found elsewhere in some form. The workshop condensed the info, put it all together in one place and pointed out the connections. Somethings were learned by experiencing, that's a little harder to quantify. If you don't follow writer blogs or go to conventions and attend the writer/literary tracks, much of it might have been new. Most important to me was hearing the concepts and ideas in person (I learn best through lecture and hands on experience) and seeing the connections made between them.

One of the most important things I learned will seem a little like I'm blowing my own horn. I am better than I give myself credit for. That was the ego boost I wasn't looking for or expecting. It certainly felt good though. There were enough other comments to keep my head from exploding with the internal pressure.

That's not to say I don't need to work more on the story, though. That was the most common refrain. The writing and the voice are good, but the story/world building needs some help. And once I go through my notes from Teresa I'm sure I'll have a much better handle on editing. I have a to read list that's nice and long. It includes several books I knew I should read, like Red Harvest by Dashiel Hammet (I now have a copy from the library).

So there you have it. I did learn a lot, I continued to relearn things (sometimes hearing the same information in different ways and in different contexts can help, it solidifies the information). I don't think I would have taken over 50 pages of notes it there wasn't something to learn. I wouldn't be missing it if I didn't get anything out of it.

Now that I think about it, maybe that was the difference of my experience. What was there wasn't new to me, or at least not in the grand bold strokes of the information. Some of the detail stuff was new. So since I had already heard or read a lot of the info, and much of what I was learning were the connections and the details, I didn't have to process as much as the usual workshopper so I could keep my head about me and not get overwhelmed.

I think, as Mer pointed out, I already had the conviction and the work attitude (of working when I can and getting as much as I can when I can, not so much the "at this time I do this" way) so those also weren't big surprises and I had that part down. I've also worked with working writers, or seen them at work, how they think, and a lot of what's involved. I've been critiqued by them (as well as four years of constant critiques in school and dealing with it on a daily basis at work from people who don't know how to do it well).

2 comments:

cathschaffstump said...

Like you, many of the things in the lecture I knew, but I appreciated hearing the details of.

I think what I found useful was what I learned from having others look at my text, as well as looking at the text of others.

Cath

Steve Buchheit said...

Cath, oh yes. When I started into a critique group I learned a heck of a lot more giving the critique and watching others critique works not my own than I did by trying to critique myself or having others critique me.