Since I came back from the conference, I have been working diligently on revisions to my manuscript.
Manuscript Aside: It's nice to use that word. It is a recognition that I am serious about what I'm doing. For the longest time, I have expressed myself as working a "piece" or "essay." Now it is not just a piece of work, it is THE work of the moment, my MANUSCRIPT!
Back to revisions. The first chapter of my book, which is the work I took to the critique workshop at the TMCC conference, was already a well-written essay, but to become the knock-out first chapter of my book, it needed more revision. (I had done four drafts of it before sending it in and getting the scholarship award for it.) Most of the critique I got encouraged me to "unpack" abstract concepts and increase the amount of detail in setting and description of people. Well, I am making progress.
I have expanded the first 1000 words of the chapter to about 2000 and I don't think any of the words are wasted or extraneous. I just didn't think about exploring certain parts of the story with as much care and detail as I have now. A one paragraph "set-up" has become about six paragraphs that allow the reader to really see the locale and the people. Instead of being incidental to the "real" story, it is a terrific sidebar that informs the main storyline significantly. This is hard work. I am spending a lot more time sweating out these revisions than I did on the original piece, which seems strange, but isn't. It's like drawing a nice sketch and then using the sketch as the model for an oil painting of the same subject. A pencil sketch is quicker and faster than an oil painting because the oil painting is more complex, with color and texture.
I am just so pleased to have converted from sketching to painting ... It feels great!