Purple Hearts

I was listening to workshops again this week during my commute. I had already listened to the PRO Retreat, where the editors and agents shredded the beginnings of manuscripts. That workshop really upset me, because there was so much glee there in tearing apart people's work.

This week I listened to RWA Idol. I should have known better. At the beginning, I cringed as the speakers ripped into the books, including some I thought were pretty good. By the end, I was tearing into them just as much, grinning to myself when the speaker matched what I was saying. :::shudder:::

Then I was brave enough to listen to Kate Duffy's query letter workshop (Grinned when I heard how excited she was about Gina's Daisy and Goliath). Wow, what a pleasant surprise! She requested most of the books, was very positive, had a running joke about married people. I could totally work with this woman.

So it got me to wondering....did the PRO Retreat panel and the RWA Idol panel feed off each other's negativity? Did that encourage them to be more blunt? If that's how they are about our work in NY, fine, but keep your professional side when you're out among us.

Also, how can I enjoy American Idol now? Sheesh, at least writing can be fixed.

I sure tip my hat to anyone who submitted to those workshops. I never will.

Don't know if I used this picture yet. My little brother drove over yesterday and we started talking about Attilla and he asked if I had it, so I loaned it to him. Fred was making fun because I called him Attilla the Hunk.

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MicheleKS said...

I think it takes an enormous amount of courage to submit your work for a public airing like that but I don't like bashing of any kind. It may have been a case of people thinking they were being clever or cute but they're not, they were just mean. And as you saw by Kate Duffy, that's not necessary.

Also, Gerry as Atilla.... he can conquer me any time. :)

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Shesawriter said...

Sweaty, bare-chested Gerry. How did you know, Mary? It's just what I needed this morning. I've got edits to finish and Gerry is just what the doctor ordered.

As for the tearing down, I have no patience for it. None. I sternly believe writers learn and are more inspired by positive reinforcement and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Snarking and ripping work apart is counterproductive.

First do no harm. That's my motto. I critique the same way. Yes, I'm anal, but I temper that analness (is that a word?) with TONS of encouragement. Snarking is hell on the muse and wounds the writer's soul.

It has no place in a learning forum.


Anonymous said...

Okay...calmer now. LOL My point was, all that ripping and tearing...maybe these same people are passing over the very books I am looking for, that I would love to read. Books that aren't cookie cutter, that have some real meat and feeling and power. Being a Mean Girl may look cool, but we're in a business to deliver the best product possible...and that's how we need to approach it. Our goal, all of us...editors, agents, writers...is to sell to the readers, to give them an experience that will make them come back for more and more. I want to see more of that in teamwork, and less of what you described happened at the workshops. The reader has to remain the goal and the reason for all of it.


MJFredrick said...

I honestly don't know who the speakers on the panels were, but I really do think they fed off each other. I think if they had been alone, they would have been more sensitive. I just can't imagine being in the audience as they made these comments about my book.

JoAnn, I've had the opposite experience lately - I've loved several of the books I've read this last month. May just be that I hadn't had the time to enjoy reading in awhile, though.

Spent the day changing to a gmail address. Amazing how many places I've had to change it!

Toni Anderson said...

Oh you got my pet peeve from Reno!! The PRO panel was a disaster and I do remember most of the people there. I know they said they chose the entries so we could learn something, but it showcased us PROs as freaking rank amateurs. They were rude and cruel. RWA Idol--I was there too but left after a while. There was one chick-lit they loved and that was it. I was angry--I understand the competitive nature of things but not snarky snidey comments.

And Kate Duffy!! What a wonderful lady--I am seriously targeting Kensington. Listen to the Spotlight on Kensington and see what you think!!

MJFredrick said...

Toni, I was wondering if the people who were there had the same reaction, because of all the tittering in the audience, especially in the RWA Idol one. My friend Lorelle went to the PRO one and was upset, though they didn't read hers. I agree with what you said about them making PROs look like rank amateurs.

And yep, RWA Idol only liked one chick lit.

Anonymous said...

Mar, send me a list of those books you are loving...I could sure use one. I used to read SSEs like there was no tomorrow. I miss those days.


MJFredrick said...

JoAnn, try Julie Ortolon's new series. Camouflage Heart was a good Intrigue. Grin and Bear It was a good Next. I was really liking Carved in Stone, but now it's kind of stagnated.


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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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