I spent two weeks in Taos, NM at the SF/fantasy master class called Taos Toolbox. It’s a master class in several senses: it’s taught by two indisputable masters of the field, Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress. It’s definitely a master class in terms of the quality of the students’ stories that we critiqued. In short, I felt privileged to be in such fine company. Oh, and I will never grow tired of staring at the New Mexico mountains. One day, a black bear made an appearance on the hillside behind our lodge. We were told this was a good sign for our future sales.

I came home with my brain feeling very full, the way it did when I took dance lessons and tried to put into practice dozens of different instructions all at once — head up, shoulders back, breath, smile, firm frame, don’t rush the beat, 1-2-3, etc. But hey, writing is easier for me than dancing in that I don’t have to get everything right all at the same time. I can make multiple passes through a story focusing on different things – evolving character motivations, scene structure, reveals, evocative description, realistic dialog, and on and on.

I’m plunging back into the revision of a novel with so much more to consider. Plus, I believe in that black bear.

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