Friday, July 20, 2012

At Squaw, even the dogs listen to the faculty readings.
I am back from the Squaw Valley Writers' Workshop, and all I can say is WOW! I had a fabulous time, learned a lot, met some amazingly great people, and, basically, spent a week reaffirming my commitment to my writing and reconnecting with why I actually write.

About 150 screenwriters, fiction and nonfiction writers attend the workshop each year. Agents, editors, and published authors make up the faculty. Attendance is based on a submission of your work that will be used not only for acceptance, but also to pair you up with a workshop leader and a one-on-one consultation with a faculty member. Workshop groups meet from nine to noon with a different faculty member serving as group leader each day. The afternoon and evening are given over to panel discussions and readings. Attendees live in various vacation homes located within Squaw Valley or condos at the Tyrolian Village.

I was pretty happy with both my workshop leader, Ron Carlson, and my one-on-one consult, Diana Coglianese, an editor at Knopf who specializes in literary fiction. I was even happier with both my workshop-mates who were, to a person, generous and insightful readers and terrific writers in their own right, and my five housemates. My housemates were incredibly compatible and spent a lot of time together at  dinner and the afternoon sessions and readings. We got along so well, it was sometimes difficult to get the reading done for the next day because we all congregated in the living room to read and ended up talking. The week was a complete immersion in writing and reading, surrounded by people who love books and writing. Even the near-90 degree weather didn't stop me from having a fabulous time (though I did pick up a cold, so I'm going to sign off now and go take a nap. More about Squaw later this week, I promise).

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