photograph by Krista Dondero Rausin
On July 5, I arrived in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard for a week-long workshop with Emma Dryden. It was held at Noepe Center for Literary Arts, a non-profit organization that offers both writing residencies and workshops. I was delighted to be part of the first Thursdays in the Garden at Noepe when they open the doors to the public for evenings of music, readings and camaraderie.
On the first day of the workshop, Emma led us through a discussion of first pages. I was confident about my opening when I walked in. Since then, I’ve rewritten it at least six times, and it’s not done yet. The second day was devoted to voice. Emma gave us worksheets and exercises to help us discover the unique voices of our characters. I have worked through the questionnaire for every character in my novel. I learned much about the people who have lived in my brain for over a year now. The third day was devoted to world building. How hard could that be? My characters live in modern day Michigan. Again the workshop and worksheets pointed out many ways I can enrich my novel. The fourth day was all about revision. I plan to leap into these techniques during my upcoming writing retreat with The World’s Greatest Critique Group. The last day was questions and answers, but not until we delved into the inner reasons why we wrote our stories.
Best of all, I spent a week at a beautiful place, got to know nine fantastic writers, and had the privilege of being tutored by a genius editor who knows how to get authors to dig deeper and find new meaning in their writing.
And I ate some lobster.
Thanks to Krista Dondero Rausin for generously sharing her photograph. My camera is broken, so I have no pictures of hydrangeas, lighthouses or sailboats.