Tag Archives: f&sf writing classes

Advice for Attending a Writing Workshop

A student wrote in to let me know they’d made it into Odyssey, huzzah, and asked if I had any advice about attending a workshop. As a matter of fact I do. Like many things in life, you get more out of a workshop if you’re willing to invest a little effort beforehand, during, and afterward.

I went through a number of workshops in college at both the undergraduate and graduate level, but the place where I learned the most was Clarion West, a six week workshop in Seattle. My instructors were Octavia Butler, Andy Duncan, L. Timmel Duchamp, Connie Willis, Gordon van Gelder, and Michael Swanwick; my classmates included Ann Leckie, E.C.Myers, Rashida Smith, and Rachel Swirsky, among others. If you read a lot of F&SF, you may recognize many of those names and realize how incredibly privileged I was to be part of that year.
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Live Classes for April through June 2017

Here’s the latest roster of live classes for the Rambo Academy of Wayward Writers, with links to descriptions. Info that you may want to know: Logistics: Classes are taught online. You need internet connectivity and a microphone at a minimum; … Continue reading

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More From Moving from Idea to Draft

Having finished up the big April projects, one of the main things I want to get accomplished this month is getting the on-demand version of the Moving From Idea to Draft online writing class up along with the existing on-demand classes.

This has proven a somewhat monumental task, because the needs of the on-demand version are very different than those of the live class. In the live workshops, which are limited to eight students, everyone comes in with a two-three sentence description of their idea, and we work from there, adapting the material to what they’ve brought into class.

For the on-demand version, I started by trying to identify all the different ways there are into a story, a number that fluctuates in the realm of two dozen, depending on how finely I want to draw distinctions.

What I’ve done with each possible path is identify what it is, what it gives you as a starting point, things you will want to consider, possible pitfalls, next steps for fleshing it out, and a set of exercises (with basic and overachievers’ versions) to help explore the starting point. I finish, in what I am still worried may be an excessively egotistic move, by providing a story of mine that started in that way and some notes on its development from the starting point.
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