I have to admit, before entering, I did my homework and looked her up ahead of time. I felt like my MS was a pretty good fit, but you never know, and when I submitted to be a part of the workshop, I told myself to just do it to learn writing techniques and get professional feedback on my first pages.
Getting into the Workshop stoked me to take another editing / rewriting pass at the MS.
It began before I entered. To enter, I read past entries, extensively. I decided to ditch my previous Chapter 1 and made Chapter 2 the new Chapter 1.
First week, I learned I still hadn't started far enough into the story. The new start is about mid-way through my previous Chapter 2. I had already written what one mentor asked for, so I felt good that I anticipated that story point in the plotting.
Also, after key feedback from that first week, I began eliminating the mixed POVs for tight 3rd limited (to my MC only), past tense. So many readers in the Workshop recommended it I felt I simply couldn't ignore that very valuable advice. I'm about 70 pages into that portion of the rewrite.
The second week, one of the permanent mentors gave very specific instructions for rewriting, which was pure gold!
I studied what she did, and the best I can come up with was a strategy for "narration stripping" -- which is where I take a scene, pull it out of the text, strip it of narration down to nothing but the dialogue, evaluate it (primarily, identifying the purpose of the scene and making sure it delivers that) and rewrite it from the ground up, but focused around the dialogue, not the narration. I'm doing that for every scene I'm still not happy with. Thus far, I've done it for two, and it aids in the text flow, and gives the story overall a faster pace. It hasn't resulted in as many cut words as I thought it would, but I'm ever hopeful.
Also, in the second week I went to a Sisters in Crime workshop here locally, at which a trauma surgeon and unit head spoke to the group. I learned that the old Hollywood stand-by of getting shot in the shoulder as being nothing serious is a load of garbage and almost a guaranteed death sentence. It's kind of logical: that space is packed with arteries pumping blood out to the body and the arm, veins pumping used up blood from the arm and body to the heart, lungs, a rib cage and clavicle / shoulder bones, etc. It's nearly impossible to get to. He described the odds of surviving an injury there as literally "threading a needle."
So, I'm rewriting and changing where one of my characters is skewered by a dragon, so he'll survive. Turns out, the outside of the thigh is not that bad a place for a through-and-through puncture with something like an ice pick, or say, a dragon's talon. (Wink!) I've got to go through the MS and make changes for that. I've done the initial scene with it, but there are others that will need tweaking, as well.
Then today, I learned the agent picked my MS to query! Cartwheels!
It could be a while before Dragon's Leap is ready. I'm putting down my latest WIP, my adult murder mystery (sorry Ginger, you and the ostrich are gonna have to wait a bit longer to get fully written!), to polish and rewrite Dragon's Leap the whole way through. For those of you wondering, it will be version 11. I just want DL to be as good as I can get it before querying the agent.
I cannot say THANK YOU enough times to 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop mentors and fellow participants. I don't think I've ever gotten as good writing advice as I did these past three weeks! You are AWESOME!!!