Viable Paradise – Tuesday

All great stories start with ‘So there I was…’ or ‘I shit you not…’


No forced march this morning.  Instead, I went out for a three mile run.  A bit on the chilly side, but I can’t really complain.  It’s hard to do that when you’ve got the coast to your side.  I love the water, but alas, all we get is rivers here in Iowa.  The ocean, now that’s something completely different.

JMD made pancakes this morning, then we headed off for our break-out groups with TNH and SG as instructors.  This time, I went through Lisa Morton and Eric Kelley. I was really impressed with Lisa’s story.  I’m a lousy short story writer so I’m always impressed when I see someone pull it off and do it well.  Eric’s need a tad bit of work, but there’s a lot of potential in it.  He caught me afterward and we went for a short walk and discussed his piece.  It was pretty cool.

Once we finished with the break-outs, we headed back downstairs fora lecture on Grammar, Syntax, and Finding Your Voice by Debra Doyle (DD).  Lunch, then a lecture on Exposition by Teresa Nielsen Hayden (TNH, Editor at TOR).  Always eye-opening, even if you think you know what you’re doing.  EB did a collegium, basically an open-ended discussion on a variety of topics.

My One-on-One for Tuesday was with John Scalzi.  This filled me with glee.  Yeah, I admit it, glee.  Scalzi’s writing style is somewhat like mine and I’d hoped I’d be paired up with him so I could get his opinion.  Just read his blog, you’ll see that he’s a smart fellow. I also felt intimidated and feared I’d go all Fan Boy.  I didn’t.  Scalzi was easy to get along with, fairly down to Earth.

Thus, I learned another important lesson from Viable Paradise – “The instructors are no different than the rest of us, only published.”

Scalzi’s critique was to the point and went a lot like this – “Page one, this is good.” *flips page* “Blah.”.  *flips page* “Blah.”  Repeat until page 18 and then “This is good.”  Alright, exposition is lousy.  Get to the action.  He also went into more of Theo’s character and his mental state, a bit on physics (Scalzi has a non-fiction book on Astronomy so he’s good at that), and a few other things that really helped me out.  We ended off with a short discussion of freelance writing, something that interests me but I had no real experience on.  Scalzi did, so he helped me answer a few burning questions.

Tuesday night ended with ‘Beer with Billy’.  We all pitched in for some good pizza and sat down to read ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.   Due to its incredibly sexist nature, we did role reversal – the guys read the girl parts, the girls read the guy parts and we alternated actors after each act.  Most of the pictures on my Flickr stream are from that evening. I had some pretty good parts, we all laughed at Eric adding his southern drawl to every role, and so on.  In short – a great evening.

Eventually, we all trickled off to our rooms to read our final critiques and for some of us, get a bit of work done on our assignments, and then drift off to bed.  2am … again.