8th Inning and Defending Our Silly Format

With the Diamondbacks, its all about the 8th inning. Sometimes, especially recently, they storm back to tie or lead in the eighth. Mostly, like tonight, they cough up the lead, often wasting the efforts of what would otherwise be the best starting rotation in baseball, through a combination of ineffective pitching and clown-like errors. As of yesterday, they had given up a league-leading 70 runs in the eighth inning.

Tonight, they gave up ten more. So it goes.

If you ask the panel experts at Westercon, the Central Phoenix Writing Workshop does everything wrong:

* You’re supposed to assemble a small group, 3-6, of regulars; a close-knit, steady group. We are 100% drop-in, and our meeting sizes range from 2 to 20 (though 8 is our median attendance).

* You’re supposed to have a group where every writer is at a similar level of skill and professional development. We range from career journalists to absolute newbies.

* You’re supposed to concentrate on a narrow range of genres, to better focus your collective expertise. We have everything from fan-fiction to college essays to memoirs, plus the usual assortment of genre fiction. We do, however, tilt slightly towards F/SF fiction.

* You’re supposed to meet once or twice a month. We meet weekly.

* You’re supposed to circulate manuscripts in advance, so everyone has a chance to consider them before the meeting. We find out who has work to share at the start of the meeting. That work is read aloud, where, ideally,we follow along, marking up our copy as we go. But not all of us are that organized, and that is not a barrier to participation.

* The person whose work is being critiqued is supposed to remain silent during the critique. Yeah – good luck with that.

Now, I’ve been in groups that follow most of the rules, and they’re very productive, and my writing has improved as a result of my assosciation with such groups. The Glendale Grendelmen works along these lines, and I’d still be going if I hadn’t been kinda forced to choose between groups.

I am a leader – as far as that goes – of the unruly mob of writers that meets at Coffee Unlimited. And while we’re not as productuve per minute of meeting as a small group of Serious Writers, your piece will leave the table in better shape than we found it.

More importantly, you can meet a lot – a lot – of writers, from which you can form your own splinter cell to do some Serious Work.

One last thing: Odds of Dying

An important reference tool for maintaining perspective.

Now You Know

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