Today was the first day of discussions and workshops—and what a perfect place in which to do all these! The weather was wonderful, the atmosphere serene and contemplative, the people all friendly and smart.
We started in the morning with a Master Class by Sarah Hall, who brought up issues we might face in writing prose (specifically novels). We read passages that demonstrate such things as good characterization, dialogue, voice, and debated on whether the writing is working (and how it is or is not).
I was in charge of preparing lunch. Though it is a bit challenging to cook for many people, I also think it’s part of the experience: a lovely way of further introducing myself to my peers, what kind of food I enjoy eating and what that says about where I came from. These are stories, too. And it balances very well a residency that is geared toward meeting other academics/professionals, while also having some time to work on my own projects.
We workshopped two pieces later in the afternoon—both were novel excerpts. The moderator did a great job of keeping us focused and making sure everyone’s input is heard. It is all very efficient, really—another sign that the residency is going very well. We were able to discuss and debate aspects of the excerpts—such as POV, the functions of prologue, as well as world-building. We finished on time. But the conversations continued in the hallways and out in the backyard. I could still hear people engaging the authors as I write this. I could still hear people talk about storytelling. And I could hear people talk about other things as well, getting to know each other better, and perhaps in the process also getting to know ourselves better.