Here’s what I wrote:
How to workshop the TMI piece: 1) be specific 2) be honest 3) help writers clarify their own ideas
Running a writers’ workshop is like running a kindergarten. You deal with the same players: 1) the star 2) the resenter 3) the diva 4) the tattler.
When dealing with a diva (who will constantly interrupt the workshop), diffuse by asking: “What would you like to accomplish in this piece?”
Sometimes people use memoir as a way of processing their feelings. This can get weird. One way to ease the discomfort of workshopping true story is to treat the nonfiction protagonist the same as a fiction one. Ask: 1) What does the character want? 2) What stands in her way? 3) What’s at stake if she doesn’t get what she wants?
And that’s it. Nice, right? All manner of respected literary giants around and I spend four days stuffing my face with every variety of ethnic food I could find. My excuse is that I live in a small town built on subs, gringo burritos and pizza. I crave spice.