Monday, July 13, 2015

A Day of Many Firsts

By Kathy Hobbs

After submitting my registration for the Pikes Peak 2015 Writers' Conference, I anxiously awaited confirmation of my Read and Critique session. Weeks had passed when I finally received the anticipated email, confirming my appointment for my Read and Critique with Author Laura DiSilverio.

Now it was time to get the first two pages of my in-progress novel ready for critique. At first I thought my first chapter was ready, without any revisions. So I practiced reading the pages out loud, just as I will have to for the critique. It didn't take long before I realized my first pages needed some refinement before they were ready for another author's ears. When I started evaluating my written pages from the perspective of a critic, it was surprising how quickly it became apparent where revisions were necessary.

I spent a few hours revising those two pages, to make them critique ready. This effort resulted in a much more interesting beginning to my novel and going through this process was invigorating. My pages were now ready for the Read and Critique session.

Finally, the opening day of the Writers Conference had arrived. This was a day of many firsts for me. Attending my first writers conference, writing my first novel, and having my writing critiqued for the first time. I was very relieved that my Read and Critique was scheduled for the very first hour of the conference. Although I was looking forward to the critique, my nerves were anxious to get it behind me and enjoy the remainder of the conference.

Every seat at the conference room table in the closed critique session was occupied by nervous writers, quietly awaiting Laura DiSilverio's arrival. She entered the room, introduced herself, and quickly explained the process. I would be the last one to read my writing.

I never expected to learn so much from listening to Laura's critique of each writer's reading. There were varying levels of expertise among the writers and everyone's writing was so unique. Listening to each piece being read by its creator allowed all of us attending the critique to get exposure to different styles of writing. Laura was impressive in the way she was able to rapidly make notes on the writer's printed copy while she listened to them read their pieces. She was able to provide each writer precise feedback on their writing.

Having the opportunity to hear Laura's critique of each writer's piece was the most beneficial aspect of the entire conference. As I listened to each writer read the opening pages of his novel, I kept thinking how great everyone's work sounded. Laura was still able to offer suggestions for each writer to make what he wrote even better. Most of us nodded our heads in agreement as she explained her reasoning for the suggested change. It would truly make the written piece even more powerful.

My critique session proved to be very enlightening. Even after spending hours revising my two pages in preparation of the session , Laura provided helpful suggestions for improving the opening pages of my novel. It was such a worthwhile experience to receive feedback from the perspective of a successfully published author.

The Read and Critique was such a valuable session for me that I highly encourage other writers to consider participating in one at next year's conference. Not only will you benefit by getting feedback on your own writing, you will expand your writer's knowledge by listening to the critique given to the other writers attending the same session.

I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend the 2015 PPWC. This scholarship allowed me the opportunity to attend the conference and have the insightful experience of participating in a Read and Critique session. Thank you, Pikes Peak Writer, for granting me this scholarship to attend three days of valuable learning and networking with other writers.

  About the Writer: Kathy Hobbs is the author and independent publisher of the Get Wise book series, which focuses on personal safety prevention. It is Kathy's aspiration to inspire people to become better informed and take responsibility for their own personal safety. Kathy has created the "Hoots of Wisdom" blog at, to diversify her writing and provide useful and interesting postings on a variety of lifestyle topics. Kathy is in the process of fulfilling a lifetime dream of writing her first mystery novel. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I could help, Kathy. Please keep me posted on your writing career!


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