Tag Archives: online workshops

On Clarion and Privilege and the Internets

People are, understandably, saying that the equation clarion + student = pro writer is not the only way you can reach that particular sum, and they are absolutely correct, although the drama is — as is often the case on the Internet — a bit hyperbolic.

This is the fact of F&SF writing — there are people disadvantaged by gender, or race, or sexuality or other physical circumstances. But there’s also a big group — which contains a disproportionate number of those differing physically — affected by economic issues. Continue reading

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Video: Literary Techniques for Speculative Fiction Online Class

Here’s another video, this time for the Literary Techniques for Speculative Fiction Online Class. This is my favorite so far. Discussion and in-class writing exercises designed to introduce a number of techniques to use in your own writing such as … Continue reading

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Why I Don’t Want to Read Your Story

I get a lot of requests to look at people’s stories. Sometimes people just send them to me. This has prompted this post, but it is not directed at any specific recent requests. I’m sorry. I really am. I know it’s a great story. But here’s some reasons why I’m not thrilled by your offer to let me read it.
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How to Critique: Best Practices for Workshopping

Both my Writing F&SF Stories and Advanced workshops offer students a chance to critique and be critiqued. To my mind, the latter is actually more useful, because being forced to articulate one’s position on an aspect of writing can be enlightening and instructive. With that in mind, here’s some best practices for such workshops.
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Five (More) Gifts for Speculative Fiction Writers

A couple of days, I blogged with five gifts for speculative fiction writers. Here’s an additional five, which you can get in time for the holidays still.
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Why Podcast? Reasons For Writers

This Sunday, Folly Blaine and I are teaching another podcasting class. Here’s the description: Podcasts, both audio and video, are an increasingly popular way to reach an audience. In this two hour session, learn what you need to know to record and edit your own podcast, how to promote your podcast, and what equipment and software to use. As Folly Blaine, Christy records and acts as Podcast Manager for Every Day Fiction, and has also recorded podcasts for Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Wily Writers, and This Mutant Life; Cat is the former fiction editor of Fantasy Magazine and has recorded podcasts for Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Fantasy Magazine.
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What is the First Pages Class?

This is the class that more people have enthused about afterwards than any other, in my experience. It’s team-taught. You give us the first 500 words of your novel. One of the instructors reads it aloud, then both discuss it.

Sounds pretty simple, no? Sure. It’s that simplicity that lets the instructors range across a wide array of tools and strategies.
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Class Notes: The Art of the Book Review

The first session of this class went well! Nisi Shawl was a terrific guest speaker.

In talking about reviews, we talked about good reviews and what they do. Here’s the notes from that. Continue reading

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The Writer’s Toolbox: What Goes In It?

A metaphor that I was exposed to at Clarion West (now nearly a decade ago) still works beautifully for me, and it’s one I use when teaching: the idea of the writer’s toolbox.

In my mind’s eye, it’s a big red metal tool chest, small enough to be carried around, large enough that you wouldn’t want to HAVE to carry it around all the time. Inside, drawers lift out to reveal neatly packed devices and tools, each in their own padded slot.

There’s a blade capable of lopping off awkward paragraphs, and sharper, tinier words designed for work at the sentence level, trimming beginnings till they catch a reader like a fish hook and pull them into the story. There’s a box of punctuation marks, with a special slot for the semicolons. There’s the intricate device of an unreliable narrator, calculated to wobble like a gyroscope yet still remain true to the story’s course. There’s a set of filters, each one a specific point of view, each letting you cast a section in a different light. And a layer of ornamental gadgetry: epigraphs and scraps of poetry. And a valuable gimlet, capable of drilling down to a character’s motivation: the question, “What does s/he WANT?”
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Final Version of the Postcard

So I wanted a postcard to put on con giveaway tables advertising my classes because I’m always trying to scare up new students. I know that once they take one class, they’re very likely to take more from me, which really pleases me, but the trick is getting them into that first one. Yeah, it's not particularly pro looking, but the colors are bright and pretty, so perhaps a few people will be intrigued enough to pick it up. Note that the postcard itself trims some of the edge off, so what you see here is not entirely representative of the final result.
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