Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Friday, 06 July 2001

Class was short today; we only had two mss to critique. Geoff and Mary each talked a bit about what to do with a critique. Geoff's main advice was "trust the story." He said that about 50% of the advice might be totally wrong, and about half the rest might be right, but not right for the story in question. Our job was to find the quarter that was right and figure out how to apply it to the story in a way that made the story work. Mary warned against writing to the tastes of the critique group. She said that it was very easy to absorb the basics of plot and characterization and to start turning out what she called "Clarion smoothies": stories that worked, but weren't anything special.

Shawna McCarthy arrived today. She talked for a couple hours about how editors and agents view manuscripts, what the market is like for sf and fantasy and horror in general, and about various types of fantasy in particular. She also gave us a brief summary of how she got into the business. It was all good stuff.

We had another "reading," with six or eight of us reading the poems we'd written to the specifications that Geoff & Mary had us draw out of a hat.

Before the reading I'd gone to the Gap (someplace I do not normally shop) and bought a pair of black pants and a black shirt. I'm planning on showing up my first day back at work after Clarion dressed all in black, with a goatee. Ideally I'd be wearing a beret, carrying around unfiltered French cigarettes, and drinking espresso, but I don't think I'm going to go to the trouble.

I was on the verge of finishing this journal and heading to bed around 11:00, but then realized that I wanted a picture of me in my new outfit for the journal. A bunch of people were hanging out on the balcony of the study lounge, drinking beer (of course, no one was drinking who was under the legal drinking in his or her home state or province). I got Rick to take a picture of me in a pompous pseudo-intellectual pose, but then I started drinking beer, and the result was that I stayed up until, well, later than I should have. Most of the crowd went to bed hours ago. The last few just headed off to IHop. I'm going to post my journal and go to bed. I sure hope I sleep past 6:30 tomorrow.

Pictures tomorrow.


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