I went to Newfoundland in September of this year for a wonderful writing workshop called The Piper's Frith. It was a unique experience and thanks to Joan Clark and my group I learned not only what needs to be tweaked in my story but also why it needs to be tweaked. I've counted the tweaks the story needs (thirteen) and I've set it aside until I feel like tackling it again. If you get a chance to go to the workshop held at the Kilmory Resort on the Burin Peninsula, go. I also learned some other things while I was there. Here's the list in no particular order:
1. I don't know how to cook cod properly. It still tasted good but was a bit dry. If a native Newfoundlander offers to cook your cod for you, take them up on it rather than doing it yourself.
2. For some unexplained reason, I had no hot flashes the entire time I was in Newfoundland.
3. If you're careful, it is possible to carry a couple of cuttings of dogberry all the way home in your pocket without squishing them. They're still in a jar in my kitchen, a nice little reminder of my trip.
4. Black flies still think I'm tasty. Apparently I'm especially delicious while standing still, trying to talk on my cellphone.
5. I sleep better in the dark. It was very dark in my lovely little cabin.
6. Sometimes it takes quite a long time on the beach to pick the perfect small round rock to bring home.
7. When busy concentrating on workshopping and critiquing and writing, lunch becomes a grilled cheese sandwich every single day, sometimes with soup. (Perhaps a grilled cheese sandwich a day is a cure for hot flashes.)
8. I don't know what a bear outside at night sounds like. I thought a raccoon was making the huffing and scratching noises, but apparently there are no raccoons in Newfoundland. The next morning the whole place was buzzing with news of the previous night's bear sightings. We looked around for signs of the bear but only found a chocolate bar wrapper. I thought that was a sure sign but the others walking around with me outside my cabin said it wasn't conclusive.