I don't want to skip over a little chatter about Blue Heaven though. I managed only a handful of photos, but Holly McDowell and Bill Shunn have lots more in their sets (note: do not ask why I have a napkin on my head). I'd like to thank all my fellow workshoppers--Holly, Bill, Toby Buckell, Chance Morrison, Sandra McDonald, Greg van Eekhout, Rae Carson Finlay, Paolo Bacigalupi, Heather Shaw, and most especially Charles Coleman Finlay for inviting me in the first place. It was an incredibly generous and insanely talented bunch, and you'll be seeing lots more from all of them and I recommend you seek out their work. Also, they were nice to me, even though I was the lone BH newbie this year. I feel really lucky to have been there, and so much more set to dive into the revision of the new book. Now that I'm not dying of plague.
Anyway, I keep meaning to do a larger post about the workshop process and not getting around to it. One thing I've learned is that workshopping can give you different things at different points in the process (and, yes, of course just as important the feedback you get is listening to what other people have to say about a piece of work and thinking about the work of others and how it can be better) on any given project. I don't think this could have come at a better time for the new book, a new title for which I haven't quite settled on yet. This was the first time I've ever workshopped a whole novel--at least in such a formal way--and now I think I will want to try and formulate some version of this forever on. My first drafts are very much raw materials, at least in some sense (although I did choose the right story this time, more or less = progress), and being able to sit in a room with incredibly smart people bringing a fresh eye to those materials and bounce around new ideas and refined ideas and then come up with even better ideas about how to make the book, well, better... It was awesome. That's what I'm saying. It didn't hurt that I already had some really great notes from generous people to start the rethinking process, either.
So I guess I'd better get to work then, and finish a more presentable version of this sucker. I will try not to anger the handless guardian of the mainland.