In Which Brodi's Book is Drawn and Quartered

*knock knock* Housekeeping
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We are closing in on the procreating bunnies. My spies say they are nervous, which doesn't necessarily help their cause. 2,000,000 followers, here we come!

My attempt to introduce non-black clothes into my wardrobe status:
After one week, the experiment is a success! As the below picture of the weekly laundry clearly shows.
Do you see it?

So, you remember I'm at the BYU Writing for Young People Conference all week. Well, yesterday, it was my turn for my fellow conference goers to critique my work. (First twenty pages of a new project).

Even though critique sessions are necessary for a better novel, and even though I know my work is far from perfect, I still hate public scrutiny. Remember this post?

The comments started out nice (that's the rule- the first half must be all positive). And then they delved into the harsher stuff, and I was pretty intrigued by the consensus (and by "consensus" I mean 100% of the students agree):

My fellow writers expected my book to have... a plot. A direction. A purpose.

Not only that, as readers, they wanted to be informed of the plot, direction, purpose.

What is this post-modern world coming to, when readers cannot simply absorb
the mind of the author? Aren't we underestimating them? If I had my way for my next book, I wouldn't put any words on paper. I'd just tell the kids, "The main character's name is Sydney, and she's sixteen. Her parents are dead, of course, because this is YA. Now...close your eyes... and... visualize." Pause. "So, you tell me what happened."

The "plot" debate was quite passionate, and eventually it reached the point every critique session reaches: the instructor asked me (more or less), "Would you like to continue with the verbal part of the critique, or would you prefer the thumbscrews?"
For those who need visuals:

When I couldn't make a decision fast enough (seriously, I know it seems cut and dry, but thumbscrews are painful!) they got together and said, "Let's just take her out back and hit her over the head with a shovel." I was relieved we found a middle ground.

This is my first writer's conference, and now I understand why we had to sign the "Death or Dismemberment" waiver.

But I got to have lunch with James Dashner, so that made me feel a little bit better... At least about his writing ability.
James Dashner always has a plot, because that's how James Dashner rolls.

I have to admit, my fellow writers were correct. Books must have plots. It should probably be a general rule. Somebody write that down.

And my workshop leader - the extraordinary author Martine Leavitt - left me pages of thoughtful handwritten notes about my book. And on one little corner of those notes, one little positive sentence of hers was enough to keep me plugging along. I slept with it under my pillow. When I woke up, it had turned to pixie dust. But I could fly. (I'm in a fantasy workshop, btw. It shows, right?)

Favorite quote of the day: "Write a little bit every day and don't give up for 10 years. If at the end, you are not published, put that book away and start a new one."

Um... anyone have a pair of thumb screws lying around? Anyone?

btw- everyone in my critique group was truly very nice. I don't know if you've noticed, but I tend to exaggerate, especially when it comes to criticism of my person.

ADDED: The book was not the one currently on submission. It's a brand new one.