Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crossing my fingers, my toes, and my eyes!

Alright, it's in the mail now, and there's no going back. My submission to the Writer's in Paradise workshop. Eek!

I want to get into this workshop. (I almost wrote " I want to get into this workshop very badly," but that is using an adverb and "very," both terrible words. So I ended my sentence early. Stephen King would be proud.) Aside from the fact that Dennis Lehane is amazing, the very idea of getting to spend an entire week away from my job, working on my writing is just awesome. It's almost a career investment since I write for a living already (can you say tax deduction?) And the bonus is, if I get in, I will be sharing everything I learn with all of you readers. Yes, I will basically copy and paste my notes into my blog, so you will pretty much got a $675, week-long workshop for FREE. All you have to do is hope that I get in.

I had to send in the first 25 pages of my novel, a two-page summary, a letter explaining why they should give me a scholarship (which I hated writing - I'm bad at begging for money), and the following letter to Dennis Lehane and Eckerd College writing director Sterling Watson detailing my writing experience. Here's hoping!

Dear Mr. Lehane and Mr. Watson,

When I was 10, my brother got a computer. As I watched him pull the monitor from its Styrofoam prison, I knew I had to get my fingers on the keyboard as soon as possible. Though I had always kept a journal and enjoyed writing, I had never typed and printed anything I had written on a real computer. I begged my brother to let me use it, telling him that it was for a homework assignment. Of course, he must have known I was lying; it was entirely too convenient that I had suddenly needed to type, not handwrite, my homework on the exact day he brought home his new computer. But he let it slide. I called the story “Ortho the Giant,” and composed the entire thing in just 20 minutes under my brother’s watchful eye. It was about a giant who had no friends because he smelled bad, but one day a kind neighbor convinced him to take a shower, and he became the most popular kid in school. When I think about the story now, I can’t help but laugh at my first foray into what I was convinced would be a long and fruitful career in professional writing.

I took that same computer with me to college at the University of Richmond in Virginia, where I studied journalism. During my junior year, I spent a semester abroad in Italy and took a creative nonfiction writing class. A story I wrote for the class – about my utter shock and dismay upon discovering that Pompeii didn’t look anything like how it was portrayed on television – was chosen for publication in the travel anthology Italy From a Backpack (Pearson Venture Group, November 2006).

After graduation, I floundered a bit with my writing career, before landing a job as the associate editor of a business-to-business publication. I also write freelance bar, concert, and restaurant reviews for the St. Petersburg Times/TBT and Tampa Bay’s 10 MetroMix. I’m just starting to dabble in fiction, and loving every moment. In addition to completing my first novel, I’m also writing short stories for submission to literary magazines.

At my full-time job, I take the words other people say, copy them verbatim, and create a useful and interesting story around them. I might know how to craft a technically good sentence, but I’m afraid my creative skills fall flat. I know my fiction writing is in its infancy, but I have a love for the craft and a great desire to discuss writing with other people who share the same feelings.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


  1. I love your letter! I have all my fingers and toes crossed for you to get into the workshop so I can live vicariously through you. Good luck!

  2. I'll be sending good vibes your way. Can't wait to sponge off your knowledge. :)


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