shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


so true!

From an interview someone at the Iowa Mafia blog did with Ben Marcus:

"Novels are thousands of mistakes."

Also, after reading the account of BM's leading a workshop, I am so pulling for him to win Iowa Idol. Despite the fact that it really matters not at all to me.

Updated to add. This paragraph from Earth Goat's notes of Marcus talking about he teaches seems like a really good idea for workshops. Teaching writers how to figure out what to ignore and what to listen to, otherwise known as the most important part of receiving criticism.

The notion of a useful critique is really vexing and really elusive—he always wants to chase it, but never assumes he knows it. What has helped him get closer to the “actionable critique” is to have a conference with a student a week after the workshop. The student brings in the pile of critiques, and together, they sift through all the contradictory information. He says it’s quite interesting to see what the student is defensive about and what he/she is open to. In this meeting, he tries to narrow down the criticism to what is useful to the writer. A good workshop actually produces too many ideas: it produces every idea and its opposite. In the conference, they throw some critiques away, and select and keep only the useful ones. He wants to ensure that each student’s “artistic horizon” is as ambitious as it can possibly be.


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