If, after your workshop, you’re unable to say whether or not your classmates liked your piece, congratulations, broheim, your shit has just been workshopped!

From Tin House’s “So, You’re Going to A Writer’s Conference“:

OMG, my workshop: OMG, indeed. If, after your workshop, you’re unable to say whether or not your classmates liked your piece, congratulations, broheim, your shit has just been workshopped!

Most writers will get thirty minutes devoted to their piece. Here’s how this goes down:

• The first 7 minutes: Garrulous affection and effusive complements, MC’d by the prof.

• Next 5 minutes: Public floundering, embarrassment, inarticulation.

• 3 minutes: The woman with the pins will admit to something she “needed more of.”

• 10 minutes: Everyone else suddenly remembers lots of things they didn’t like.

• Last 5 minutes: You will be asked if you have questions.

• Your question: Why do I write?

In workshops I tend to find the most exciting action of the piece, usually in the middle of the story, and then point an arrow at the paragraph and write, “You should start your story here!!!” My genius is rarely appreciated.

5 thoughts on “If, after your workshop, you’re unable to say whether or not your classmates liked your piece, congratulations, broheim, your shit has just been workshopped!

  1. FLIP OUT! he said. That’s what I’ll do, he said. You wouldn’t, she said. She watched him lift the table. Tip the table. Watched the things on the table—a motivational calendar and an empty Pez dispenser—fall. You did it, she said. Yes, he said. You really caught my attention, she said. You really drew me in.

    Just spitballing here…might need a tweak or two before it’s ready.

  2. The woman with the pins! Yes! + everyone suddenly remembering things they didn’t like. I had no idea this was the pattern. But now I know. This is the pattern.

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