I started talking about the Residency here… The next couple of days were much of the same blur of workshops and “academic” sessions that now, two weeks later, it’s all lumped themselves together. The general schedule was workshop in the morning (3-4 stories over a three hour period), and “class” in the afternoon. Except for Sunday, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Day 2: Thursday
Workshop in the morning. For the 1’s, the afternoon “calss” session was a discussion of Character. Things to consider, keep in mind, and discussion of ways to present a character without smacking the reader with a DMV-styled list of details (often referred to as the “Driver’s License” introduction).
The evening was peppered with Mentor Meetings – where all of the students were scheduled for 30-45 minute blocks of time to discuss the writing project plans for the coming term, and some other housekeeping items related to requirements for the semester. Most of the meetings were done in under 20 minutes. The Meetings were held in the library, a slew of tables set up in the center that lent it a feeling like a speed-dating session.
Day 3: Friday
Like Thursday, except the “class” for us 1’s was a discussion of Plotting. The evening? Another series of Thesis readings, and a “Book Fair” hosted by the Alumni Writer’s Conference (that runs along similar dates for the Residency).
Day 4: Saturday
Workshop in the morning. The afternoon, however, was a session with the Featured Guest Presenter, Donald Maass. The session was… long. It didn’t help that the room we were in was not air conditioned, which didn’t help. Despite the length, though, there was good stuff to take away – mostly in the form of questions that we (as writers) could ask ourseleves about our projects – characters, settings, etc. – to find depths that we may not have plumbed yet, to bring more life to the story. Yes, a lot of the information may be in the book (the session was aimed at The Fire in Fiction), but it just felt different hearing them instead of just reading from the page.
There was another session, followed by a signing, in the evening. There was also a themed Costume Ball (part of the Writer’s Workshop, not officially part ofthe Residency).
Day 5: Sunday
The day was flipped, with “class” first thing in the morning – for 1’s this meant an overview of Marketing Synopsis writing. The afternoon was an abbreviated “workshop” session which, for 1’s, meant a discussion of Time Management.
After a very brief break, we all reconvened in the room with no air conditioning for the graduation ceremony. Then a brief after party and mingling.
And like that it was over.
Leaving behind a void that had been filled mere hours before with fellowship and conversation – about things as varied as craft elements to pop culture (with many of us getting our geek on talking about movies), and any array of other strange topics that spun out of stories that people had workshopped that you really just had to be there to follow.
The week was good, and exhilerating, but also tiring. And it was good to get back home.