A week ago, I attended the Big Sur Writing Workshop. This is a workshop, not a conference. In addition to sessions on writing craft, we actually worked on our manuscripts. Yes, we were expected to write. Andrea Brown set the tone from the start. She told us that the faculty had not come to tell us how great our work was, but where we could improve and what we needed to do to get published.
The weekend was divided into four two-hour critique sessions. Each critique group consisted of five or six writers and a pro (an agent, editor, or author). In these sessions, each participant read 5-6 pages of their manuscript and received feedback from the other group members. Throughout the weekend, we were encouraged to rewrite and present our revisions in later sessions.
As promised, my work received its fair share of “filleting.” But I learned A LOT and met many talented writers along the way. I returned from the weekend exhausted, but informed and excited about my novel. I now know what my manuscript needs and feel ready to tackle the revisions necessary.