Tag Archives: speculative fiction 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 January Through March 2017

There is still room in the two live classes left this year, both happening next weekend. The first on Saturday is Linguistics for Genre Writers with Juliette Wade, at the usual 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time. This class differs from pretty much every other one I’ve seen in that Wade doesn’t just cover linguistics and worldbuilding, but how to use the principles of linguistics to strengthen, deepen, and otherwise improve your prose. I heartily endorse it.

The second, which is also a really fun and informative class, is To Space Opera and Beyond with Ann Leckie. Technical difficulties hindered the first sessions but everything is smooth and running well now! In this class, Ann talks about space opera, its characteristics, how to handle them, and the process of writing not just a single novel but a series, while we provide writing exercises to take away and use to apply what Ann has told you. Ann is a lively and congenial teacher, funny without being snarky, and above all encouraging and inspiring. I’m really looking forward to the next class, which happens on Sunday, December 11, 9:30-11:30 AM Pacific time. There is still room in that and the Saturday, January 7 class at the same time.
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