I never would have thought it possible to function on so little sleep. The entire week, I only managed 3 or 4 hours per night. Part of this was my own fault. I chose to wake up at 5:30 so I could join Jim MacDonald for his daily 3 mile walk. I could have slept later, but then I would have missed the sunrise over the bay.
Of course, Viable Paradise isn’t about watching the sunrise. It’s about pouring your heart into a story and having it critiqued by the best in the business. I had four separate one-on-one sessions and one group critique. There were varying opinions on how to improve chapter one, so for the next week, I’ll be sifting through everyone’s feedback before I plunge into editing mode.
In between lectures and critiques, there was also a writing assignment and the horror that is Thursday (of which I will not speak, now or ever again ::shudder:::). Despite Thursday, I really enjoyed brainstorming with my roommates over our writing assignments. That was the best part of VP: talking about writing with other writers who are just as dedicated to the craft as you are and Who. Get. It.
We also enjoyed mandatory fun which included dramatic readings of The Unstrung Harp, Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel (“Dreadful, Dreadful, Dreadful” is my new battle cry) and The Life and Death King Richard the Second (the Duchess of York had a sultry southern accent thanks to a fellow VPer).
We did have time for sightseeing. On Wednesday we took a trip to see the gingerbread cottages. Friday we headed across the island to Aquinnah Cliffs to watch the sunset. In between we witnessed glowing jellyfish, saw a meteor shower, and filked until 2:00 in the morning while drinking the cure for scurvy. No one has ever died of scurvy at VP.
Would I recommend Viable Paradise? Absolutely, but only if you have a strong stomach for criticism. This isn’t a workshop for the faint of heart. You have to want to learn and change, or the experience will be wasted. If you think you have what it takes, then apply as soon as application process opens in January. You won’t regret it.