Cascade Writer’s Workshop (and a personal update)

Hi everybody! I’ve got so much news; I don’t even know where to start.

First, let me address the Health Thing alluded to in prior posts: it is resolved. I am about 60% done gestating a baby girl. I had a bad quad screen, indicating the fetus might have a genetic abnormality. And when that happens, you get to wait a couple weeks until your pregnancy has progressed far enough to take more tests, then wait a couple more weeks for those tests to come back, rinse and repeat, all the while wondering. It is a very special sort of Hell and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But we’re good. We are good.

Speaking of good, I spent last weekend at Cascade Writer’s Workshop in Portland. I found Cascade while looking for regional conferences in Locus’s online listings. Cascade is a four-day conference held yearly in the PNW for SFFH writers and all subgenres thereof. It is small enough that it is easy to meet and make friends, and large enough that there is always someone new to meet. It is basically perfect.

The best part of Cascade is that it is not just a conference: there is an optional workshop/pitch session you can do too, and while it costs more, it also allows you the chance to verbally pitch to any attending publisher/agent (this year it was Brandi Tarvin of Musa and Cameron McClure of Don Maass) and also to have your writing critiqued by a professional and five or six other smart writers in a workshop setting. In my case, the professional was Claire Eddy, who has been an editor at Tor for over twenty years.

Yup. It was amazing. Claire was amazing. The other writers in my group? Also amazing. I got so much great feedback. Ever since I got back home I’ve kept a notebook glued to my side, because I keep thinking of more things to change or scenes to add. I have a ton of work to do and I’m very excited (and SO grateful preschool starts back up on Tuesday).

So get this: all that little picky stuff we talk about when we do critique? Grammar issues, inconsistencies of plot and character, stuff like that? That’s what a copy editor looks at. The trees. Not an editor. The editor looks at the forest. What does that mean? Well, I’ll get to that, scout’s honor. I tried to shove it all in one post but by the time I hit a thousand words I realized I just had too much information for that to work. So all this week I’ll be dropping little mini-posts, sharing some of the great things I learned from Claire, starting tomorrow!