Last week I wrote a general post about JordanCon and Wheel of Time, so this week I want to dig deeper into the convention’s 2017 Writer Workshop.
I’ll freely admit that I was nervous. I had never taken part in a writing workshop before, and rarely showed pieces of writing to people outside of my family and close friends. The thought of sending 1000 words to be read by fellow writers and professionals in the field was daunting. Even still, I sent my sample. I chose to send the opening of The Airship Incident: An Amelia Warne Mystery, a steampunk story that I was working on about six months ago. I had gotten mixed feedback about the pacing for the opening, so I wanted to get more opinions before starting another round of revisions.
The JordanCon 2017 Writer Workshop was set up so that those who submitted work were grouped with at least one professional in the field (author, editor, etc). My group had one other submitter, an author, and an editor. I enjoyed the opportunity for the one-on-one attention, and I think the smaller group was a positive aspect of my first workshop. I don’t have a problem speaking in front of groups, I just feel more at ease when I’m talking to just one or two people. The workshop was scheduled for an hour, though I stayed for a bit longer and some groups were going strong when I left.
I had an amazing time and got some great feedback from the two professionals in my group! Some feedback was expected; I know I have a bad habit of changing tenses that I have to watch for. They both liked the opening, and aside from one or two suggestions about larger worldbuilding clarity, both professionals felt that the first scene had good pacing and set the tone well for the story I wanted to tell. Both picked up that it was a Young Adult, steampunk mystery with a large adventure element. Especially coming after the feedback of readers who weren’t as experienced, this gave me some reassurance.
The workshop as a whole made me want to work on The Airship Incident again, so I’ve added some revisions to my list of Summer Writing Activities. I want to work out some logical kinks with the worldbuilding and focus in on making Amelia Warne, my main character, have a stronger arc. I’m still treating this project as a stand-alone book, but it definitely has sequel potential and I have lots of ideas hanging around as possibilities. Hopefully this first time sharing my writing with other writers and professionals will give me the momentum to get some solid work done before my classes start again in the fall.
Have you taken part in a workshop before? What was your favorite part?