TC Boyle's Workshop = Dope

I've taken workshop with a decent amount of writers + i have to say that TC Boyle is one of the most unusual + interesting people i've had a workshop with so far, Aimee Bender + Frances Sherwood being exceptions. I say unusual + interesting, but of course, those are both huge compliments. Here are a few things that i find interesting about tom's workshop in particular:

1. He's an amazing close reader of text--you can see the old PhD student studying 19th century Brit Lit a mile away, to be honest

2. He is, to this day, the only person i've had a workshop with, who even made the suggestion that a story in workshop might end exactly where it should be ending--you never hear that. The operative assumption in all workshops is that stories are never done, + even having a story end where it's supposed to obviously doesn't mean it's finished. But still, here's a writer who can say, "i think this piece still needs work, but i think you might be ending it exactly where i think you should be ending it." Fucking unheard of

3. He reads our critiques out loud (anonymously) + then uses them to launch our discussion, which seems really smart. Not only does it encourage good written feedback but it actively involves student critique in part of the dialogue, while also stripping us of our scripts (since he's holding our critiques), which condenses the dialogue really beautifully

4. He doesn't let the workshop dwell on the same issues. Most workshops I've taken, people either fight to disagree with workshop consensus, writers are competing with each other to outcritique the manuscript, the writers are psychoanalyzing the writer through his/her manuscript or they're trying really hard to kiss the workshop leader's ass. Here, that doesn't happen. When things become redundant, he changes the focus, picks a new aspect of the manuscript to analyze + asks a new set of questions

5. As with Aimee Bender's workshop, when Tom speaks, you fucking listen because like her, he's a master of the short story + obviously all of us, no matter where we are in our own aesthetic evolution, surely are not

6. Because people can't rehash the same shit over + over again, workshop gets out 30-40 minutes early every week. It's fucking amazing!