A little over a week before we flew to the States to visit relatives, I got back from the most recent incarnation of the Villa Diodati workshop. VD14 was once again in southern Spain, but probably for the last time, since we are losing our venue, unfortunately. Ah well. We will find other cool places to meet, I am sure.
This workshop was one of the biggest we’ve had, with ten participants.
Front row: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Ruth Nestvold, Grayson Morris, Christian Walter, Jeremy Sim
Back row: Frances Silversmith, Bo Balder, Floris Kleinje, Jeff Spock, Stephen Gaskell
It was also one of the most reading intensive. We put a cap on submissions for critique at 10,000 words, and usually most participants play by the rules. This time, four out of ten submitted works that exceeded the 10,000 word limit, which meant a lot more reading and critiquing than usual. I think in future I will have to exert my dictatorial powers more effectively, and create truncated versions of the works submitted for critique that conform to the rules. 🙂
Despite all the reading and critiquing, we still had time for other exercises and discussions. Among other things, we had a long talk on marketing. I was encouraged to submit a novella I wrote with Jay Lake (and was revising when he died) to Analog, which is where it is now. I also got some ideas from the group mind as to where “Pool of Souls” would fit, the short story I brought to the workshop. Unfortunately, that is not yet out, since I haven’t had time to address the critiques I got at VD14.
We also did a wonderful brainstorming session around the pool, where a number of us tossed out ideas we had for input from the group mind, or described stories that were flailing and might need some outside input. Sylvia and I got some great ideas on where to go with a collaboration we’ve written.
Brainstorming around the pool
We even got a chance to play the Surreal Oracle game again!
And of course we ate, and ate well, like we always do at Villa Diodati workshops. 🙂
The autumn 2014 workshop took place in Picardy, France. When I got home, we had a bit of a family medical emergency, which was why I never got around to posting a report. I figured the report for VD14 would be a good opportunity to make up for that. 🙂
The fall workshop in France was much smaller than VD14, with only six attendants. Here in the group shot you see only five of us, since Sylvia Spruck Wrigley wasn’t feeling well when we took the pictures. At least her crocheted Cthulhu made it in (next to my knee):
Ruth Nestvold, Aliette de Bodard, Jeff Sock, Nancy Fulda, Grayson Morris
We did many of the same awesome things we usually do besides critiquing, such as brainstorming and market discussions. Jeff also gave a talk on creativity.
During the brainstorming, I got some excellent ideas on how to continue with the Glassmakers trilogy. Not only that, since Sylvia was crocheting her amazing Cthulhus while we did critiques, she promised me and Nancy our own personal monsters if we could finish the novels we were working on by the end of January.
Critiquing and Cthulhu-making
Since things got very complicated at home for a while after I got back, it was an incredible incentive for me to return to writing and finish the first draft of Facets of Glass by January 31. Nancy finished her novel as well. After all, who doesn’t want their own cuddly monster?
I think we really should consider adding incentives for each other to our regular agenda of activities. An outside deadline can be an incredible motivator.