Since writing workshop season is upon us (shout-out to all my friends going to #SCBWINY14 this month!) I thought I’d do a fun post on the topic. Contrary to the title of this post, though, I’ve never actually been whipped, beaten, or made to cry in a writing workshop. Not in the least. My book manuscript, however, has had its fair share of beatings. Why? Workshops are about making the best damn book you can. And making a damn good book requires a pummeling. A blood sacrifice, even. Specifically, the kind that oozes from the pages when they’ve been redlined to resemble a body part in a slasher flick. Don’t be scared. Finding that publishing industry expert who’ll read your work with a cold eye, then take the stuffing out, is the best gift a writer can receive. Most workshops only focus on the first twenty pages of your book, but those crucial first pages are where people decide if they want to read more.