Greetings from Madison (recall Governor Walker), Wisconsin. Day one of the week-long Write-by-the-Lake produced a goodly number of attendees; best rough guess, somewhere between 100-150 people. My cohort is led by Lori Devoti, a published author who also does quit a bit of presenting/teaching/mentoring about writing. Her section is entitled “12 weeks to first and final drafts.” It’s the promised speed which intrigues me. Lori infuses a lot of energy into her teaching and her style seems to put our group of eleven at ease.

Today we also critiqued five pages of each person’s submission, acquired via email prior to the start of the workshop. The critique piece was fairly unsatisfying–not because my work was roundly criticized–but because most people didn’t comment. Made me wonder if they hadn’t read the material or were shy, or didn’t know how to critique? Whatever the case, we will continue to critique each other’s writing each day as part of our morning 3-hour session. Perhaps people are just getting warmed up. It’s hard to put yourself out there (read trust) with a group of people you don’t know. I did get some pointed feedback, felt defensive. Then I mentally knocked myself on the head, remembering it’s information which may or may not be useful, and took notes. After a post-lunch walk around Madison in perfect weather, I decided to completely re-write the opening scene of my first book, Signs of Murder.  And most surprising? I feel excited about it.