Thursday, January 06, 2011

Low Res? Ready!

I spent this week going back and forth over which manuscripts to bring to my first low-residency in Charlotte. I have my always-a-work-in-progress-historical-fiction, as well as a recent collection of short stories.

At Queens, writers participate in small group (3 - 4 members) and large group (7 - 8 members, comprised of small group + another) workshops. Manuscript submissions to each group are limited to 25 pages. My short story collection ms ran 25 1/2 pages. No amount of editing (or at least the cuts I was willing to make) could shorten that last paragraph. I could have done some creative font changes and page break deletions but decided against it - sticking to guidelines and all that. I'd have to cut one story.
Next, I reviewed the historical fiction piece. My plan was to submit it to the small group. These will be the folks I'll be working with for the rest of the semester. The first chapter? All good.The next two or three - eh. Needs a little more revision. A little more cleaning up. But isn't this what the workshop and semester long project is about? I asked myself all week. Alternately, I reasoned, I don't want to throw crap at people. Ok, it's not crap, but it needs...well, you see where my thought process has been since Monday.

My current solution? Leave the historical fiction at home. I've divided up the short stories, for small and large group submissions. It makes more sense to focus on one project at a time. 

I'm still wavering...I might end up making copies of the of the historical fiction chapters and bring them along, just in case I change my mind. Again.


Rags said...

Does half a page really make such a difference? Especially when you're submitting it in a workshop? I'm sure people will understand. 25 pages (give or take a page).

I sent in a writing sample to Vanderbilt that finished on pg 26 (they ask for 20-25 pages, and I didn't have a sample in that range).

In the end, it's all about your work. Yes, stick to the page count, but not so obsessively that you're fiddling with font and margins and finally dropping the story all together because of one paragraph.

What do you think?

Sheila Lamb said...

I kept the contemporary short stories split and have copies of the historical fiction...I think (right now!)I'd like both genres critiqued (see, switched from yesterday!)

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