Instead, OCCBWW was a relaxed atmosphere that invited writers to open up and share their work, get feedback, and learn from the lectures. Every day we had a personal consultation with one of the instructors. This could either be with an author, an editor, or an agent. Prior to the consultation the person we were meeting with read our first five pages, then during the consultation they gave us feedback on it. Each day presented a new opportunity with a new instructor. My consultations were with agent Michelle Andelman and author Pamela Smith Hill (Michelle twice during the week, and Pamela three times).
My work wasn't right for Michelle but regardless, she gave me amazing feedback that helped me better my writing and steered me in the right direction. The fact that she wasn't the agent for me wasn't a bad thing. This made our talks very relaxed and allowed us the chance to interact, maximizing the learning experience. She was encouraging about the agent whom I have a full of the manuscript out to (saying she'd be great for the work) and even steered me in the right direction toward an editor (who was in attendance at the workshop). I'm waiting on that though since I have a full out and want the chance to edit if that agent takes me on, before an editor sees it. The other three days I met with author Pamela Smith Hill and it was a match made in heaven. Her knowledge of YA historical transformed my outlook and my writing.
If you're looking for a workshop that will give you maximum feedback on improving and polishing your work, then this is definitely the one for you. And who knows, you just might make that connection with an agent or editor in attendance. I'm curious, what are some of your favorite workshops or retreats, and why?