Friday, November 12, 2010

Moniack Mhor

I'm spending this weekend at Moniack Mhor (photo from their website), a beautiful steading about 25 minutes from Inverness, with a group of writers and two tutors. I've never done an intimate multiple-day course before, and am a bit nervous. I know the tutors (Cynthia Rogerson and Kevin MacNeil, whom I've blogged about before) and I always learn from them, but tutors don't intimidate me; other writers do.

Scotland is lucky to have a fairly open literary community. If you take the initiative to introduce yourself to writers, publishers, and agents, they're more than happy to have a conversation. But for wannabes, it can get uncomfortable, and sometimes nasty - as it does anywhere. Some writers are all about the love; they're positive, give constructive feedback, and are willing to discuss ideas and ways to improve. Some are the opposite - negative, unhelpful, loathe to discuss how things can be fixed. But perhaps the worst are those who are selfish about their work, who are keen to receive feedback and defend their decisions, but somehow find themselves busy, tired, or noncommittal when others' work is in the spotlight.

It will be interesting to see how these stereotypes translate when we're all staying under the same roof, for two nights, in what's likely to be a weekend of sleet and cold.

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