It's been about a month since I went to the Big Sur Children's Writing Workshop, so I figured it was about time to post about a recap.
My first critique group was awesome. There were five of us and one agent. There was me with my YA contemporary, a YA time travel romance, a YA murder mystery, a MG mystery, and a YA contemporary. We each read from our pages, and then everyone went around with comments. A setup like this is not for the weak of heart when it comes to getting feedback on your writing. Luckily I LOVE IT. I love getting my stuff written all over, and I love when people have comments and suggestions and any kind of reactions to my work. (I have to admit that the best part was hearing them laugh at the funny bits when I was reading aloud. I have been working on this so long that I have started to wonder if the humor is actually funny anymore. It looks like it is. YAY.) Anyway, I got so many suggestions on how to improve my opening, and, like I said, I was blown away at how talented everyone else was.
We had lots of free time to write, so I ended up taking everyone's feedback and revising the pages I submitted to both groups. Some people brought new pages to the second meetings, but I really wanted the group feedback on the changes I made. It was great to hear how everyone changed their stuff based on feedback and everyone really improved their work. It was pretty exciting to read around and hear how much better everyone's writing was after our sessions.
We also got a 15-minute one-on-one session with one faculty member where we could discuss our query, our synopsis, or whatever else we wanted to discuss. My meeting was with one of the authors, and she gave me lots of great feedback on my query. (I still haven't touched that, though. I need to finish my ms first, really.)
It ended up being just the weekend I needed to keep me pumped about my WIP. I got awesome feedback, I made some great revisions, people liked my stuff, I met great people, and I didn't spend the whole weekend being a wallflower.
Anyway, if anyone is thinking about attending Big Sur in the future (they have another one coming up in March), I can't recommend it enough. You will learn so much and be surrounded by an amazing faculty, talented writers, and beautiful scenery. I wish I could spend every weekend like this!