Monday, August 22, 2011
WIFYR, I Love You
This picture pretty much sums up the craziness and the fun that WIFYR was this year. On an impulse, my good friend Robin and I decided to register for WIFYR (our first writing conference) back in March of this year. And I'm so happy we did! We couldn't have picked a better teacher (Louise Plummer) or a better class. Louise kept my sides aching from laughter. She is a goddess. Funny, sassy, sharp as a tack. I worship you, Louise. Thanks for being a true inspiration!
Our days at WIFYR were spent intensely critiquing the first thirty pages of each other's manuscripts. My turn fell on the last day, which made me both relieved and anxious. Relieved, because I didn't have to face the group criticism yet. Anxious, because I hadn't faced the group criticism yet. :-) I spent many nights that week literally on the verge of throwing up because I was so nervous about my looming critique.
On the flip side, I don't think I've ever been so rowdy and outspoken in a classroom setting. But I wasn't the only one. That was the beauty of it. Our class was collectively brilliant, obnoxious, and hilarious. (And our fabulous teacher only goaded us on!) When it came time to critique Robin's manuscript, I couldn't keep my mouth shut in defense of her writing (which I was overly familiar with). Louise eventually had to send me to the bathroom so I'd shut up. I laughed my way out the door. It was a needed potty break anyway. (I pee VERY FREQUENTLY when I'm stressed. There's nothing for it.)
When it was finally my turn to be critiqued, I thought I would die, but can happily report that I survived! People actually audibly gushed when Louise finished her reading of my pages. (It sounded like several gushing people, but maybe it was just Taryn gushing very loudly.) I was so surprised! Emily, I know you're out there thinking I'm ridiculous for being so nervous in the first place, and I realize it sounds like I'm bragging now with the gushing and all, but I seriously spent the week of WIFYR nauseous and peeing twenty times a day from the anticipation, so you can imagine how shocked and pleased I was with the class's response. Most loved my manuscript, and the suggestions they did offer were stomachable (see? no vomiting, after all!). I left WIFYR feeling rejuvenated to keep plunging forward with my book, knowing that it's something others really want to read, and knowing the passion I have for my Rowaness is ringing true on the page. In the meantime, I'll try to keep my adverbs in check (don't count how many I used in this blog post), and I'll try to keep Nimue from screaming as much as possible. Now that I have one WIFYR conference under my belt, I know what to expect and can look forward to only peeing ten times a day at next year's conference.
The best part about WIFYR were the new friends I made. Shortly after the conference, and in a random sort of way, a few of us in the class formed a critique group. Now it's my turn to gush...
Taryn, you are the embodiment of free-spirited youth, along with the brilliance of a mature writer. I ogled over your book, and was so happy to meet the authoress behind the masterful writing (and I am so happy you loved my book too!). Emily, you are the queen of taking things in stride, of seeing the glass half-full, and of finding humor in any situation. You write rich characters and have a knack for seeing the big picture in writing. Ilima, you and I both love to write romantic and fantastical stories. Thanks for letting me fall under the spell of your lush world and love story. Jenilyn, you were my off-and-on-next-seat neighbor at WIFYR (when you weren't out running errands for the conference as the assistant for our class). Your critiquing skills are spot-on; you notice important details that others overlook in their critiques. And at least you and I remembered that Artemis is the Goddess of the Hunt! Robin, you have been with me on this writing journey from the beginning. We have been tough on each other with our critiques, but our strong friendship has carried us through it all. You have 10,000 gifts and strengths, and I am completely in awe of you. We started this journey together, and I hope we'll always continue on the road side by side.
To read Louise's blog entry about our WIFYR class, click here.
In the photo above, you'll find Louise Plummer at the center of all the face-touching. Ha! I am behind her (to the right). Robin is to my right, Ilima is to my left, and Taryn is to the left of Ilima. Jenilyn is at the far right of the photo, and Emily's in the back left (wearing glasses). I'm feeling dizzy now. Are you? (You can click on the photo to view larger.)