There are four groups that are divided into approximately 20 people. Ann Garvin, the author of On Maggie’s Watch, is a vivacious, petite, curly haired group leader for AB and I. Ann is so engrossed with helping the l7 people who are in her group that she is more nervous than we are when we get our two minutes with each editor. She is not only a gifted writer, but passionate about helping other writers.
Ann and the other three leaders of the workshop spend hours on end helping us perfect our pitch to make sure it will be clear to the editors what we have written. Word count, genre, title and comparable works of fiction are all gone over so the editor can have a clear vision of what it is we write. These are worked on both in group session and individual sessions.
It is amazing how we root each other, how our eyes are all locked on the door waiting for someone to come out behind closed doors to give us a thumbs-up after pitching to an editor. We are rooting as a team – a team that feels comfortable to be with – at team that feels as if we have known since grade school.
Tonight there is a get-together at pub in the New Yorker Hotel where I, among others, are staying. Tomorrow will be our last pitch and I know even now that there will be tears among many of us as we leave the place where each of us has made leaps and bounds pulling our hair out and watching our team leaders pull their hair out as they try to help us understand how to write a pitch, how to present the pitch, how to be confident that even if our book isn’t chosen, the journey is not over.