Day four ended on a high note. We had three excellent critiques of vastly different novels in the afternoon. Our Cuban, writing in a second language, offered a story about Cuba in the 1930s based on his father's life. Wonderful language, excellent characters, great dream sequences, lousy grammar. Our advice was keep writing and hire a copy editor when you get closer to submission.
We had a Southern Gothic novel, where one of the chapters was complete enough to stand alone as a short story. We encouraged her to submit to various magazines for publication.
The last work was a fantasy that doesn't work as well as the writer thinks it does. We liked parts of it, disliked other parts, and thought it should be cut back by about half. This writer is in an MFA program and thought she would teach us everything she's learned. Turns out it's not as much as she thinks it is. She didn't like our critiques because we were too stupid to get her work. Besides, we weren't her audience. As she matures, perhaps her ability to interact with grown ups will mature as well.
We ended with a bar-b-que and an open mic night. Our shiest member got up and read the first poem she's read in public. She was terrified, but she did it. The poetry teacher challenged each of us to write a poem without a title. I recited mine:
A haiku undeserving of a title
One slippery step,
And on that note, I must go and read the last materials for tomorrow.
What a great experience. I want to come back next year and take the writing about trauma workshop.