Upcoming Online Classes

Cartoon of Cat Rambo

Done at PenguinCon, but alas I don't have the name of the artist!

10% discount given all former students, except for the Advanced Workshop. To register for a class, mail me at catrambo@gmail.com and indicate which class or classes you would like to register for.

Why take a class with me? As both writer and editor, I bring a focus that lets me advise you from both sides of the desk. My experience as the fiction editor of award-winning Fantasy Magazine as well as short story collections and anthologies combined with the fact that I’m a working, selling writer helps me provide you with solid, up-to-date market advice for both online and print publishing. I have been shortlisted for the Endeavour, Locus, Million Writers, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award.

My teaching experience includes Clarion West, the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Towson State University, and Bellevue College. I’ve studied with John Barth, Stephen Dixon, Grace Paley, Octavia Butler, Karen Joy Fowler, John Crowley, and Connie Willis, among others. Former students can testify that I’m an engaged and entertaining instructor who motivates you to write while providing feedback on the work you produce. See what they’ve said about the class.

These classes are taught online, using Google+ Hangouts, which has proven robust and easy to use. If you’re worried about the degree of technological skill required, my 70+ mother can testify that when she attended the First Pages workshop, we had her computer ready to go within a couple of minutes and she had no trouble with the technology. :) You do need a computer with a microphone at a minimum, but headphones are suggested and a webcam is best so people can see you participate. Each class is limited to eight or nine students, depending on whether or not there will be a guest speaker.

If you have previously taken a class with me (either online or in-person), you are entitled to a 10% discount on class prices, including early reservation prices, except on the Advanced Workshop. Please check if you think you should be receiving the friends and family rate.

Reserve a section by mailing me at catrambo AT gmail.com and indicating whether you would like to pay by check or Paypal. Tndicate which class(es) you are signing up for.

Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction Short Stories
This six week workshop focuses on the basics of writing speculative fiction short stories, including plotting, creating believable and engaging characters, world-building, what to do with a story once it’s finished, dealing with editors and markets, and other necessities. Students will have the opportunity to workshop at least one story over the course of the class and will also be writing and sharing weekly writing assignments. Six 2 hour sessions; limit of 8 students

  • Week One: Introductions, Story Structures, and Plotting
  • Week Two: Characters and Dialogue
  • Week Three: World-building
  • Week Four: Description, Delivery, and Devices
  • Week Five: Revising and Rewriting
  • Week Six: Everything Else

6 sessions, 9:30-11:30 AM PDT Saturday mornings, April 5, 12, 26, May 3, June 7, 14.
$179 for former students; $199 for new students

Advanced Story Workshop
In this six-session class we will workshop two to three stories each session along with a lecture on a specific aspect of story writing and an (optional) writing exercise. Only students who have taken the Writing F&SF Story class or who have comparable experience. Limit of 8 students per section.

Section 1: 9:30-11:30 AM PDT Saturday mornings, Feb 1, 8, 15, March 8, 15, 22 (optional session on March 29)
Section 2: 7-9 PM PDT, Tuesday evenings April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6 (optional session on May 13)

The Art of the Book Review
Where do you start if you want to become a book reviewer? Learn what resources and markets are available, as well as pitfalls to avoid. What should (and shouldn’t) be included in a book review? What ethical questions arise when reviewing books? What’s fair to say and what’s not? A two hour session talks about writing book reviews as well as what to do with them. Guest speaker Nisi Shawl reviews for The Seattle Times, Ms. Magazine, and the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Limit of 8 students.

9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, March 30
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

Character Building
One session: A combination of lecture and writing exercises will get you writing interesting, rounded characters that your readers can identify with, whether hero or villain. Learn how to write convincing interesting dialogue as well as how to flesh out a character so they come alive. Limit of 8 students.

9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, March 16
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

Editing 101
This class, a shortened version of the three session class, targets editing both other people’s works as well as your own. Students have found that learning to trust their editing skills has made them more productive when producing early drafts. Topics include how to edit at both the sentence and story/book level, working well with writers, theory of ToCs, electronic publishing, copyright, and making a living as an editor.

9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, April 6

Flash Fiction Workshop
One day workshop focusing on flash fiction consisting of a mixture of lecture, in-class writing exercises, discussion of how to turn fragments into flash, and an overview of flash fiction markets. Come prepared to write! 8 students per section.

9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, May 4
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

First Pages:
Give us the first 500 words of your novel and we’ll critique and discuss it in a way that will be helpful with the overall work as well as talking about agents, and editors and how important the first page is when engaging them. More than one student has told me this was the single most useful workshop they’ve ever had. Co-presenter Caren Gussoff.

Section 1: 9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, March 9.
Section 2: 9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, June 1.
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

Establishing an Online Presence for Writers
Not sure what to do about blogging and social networks? Concerned about using them effectively rather than as a means of procrastination? In this three hour class, we’ll talk about what works and what doesn’t, the basic online presence any writer should have, how to measure what you’re doing to see if it’s working, and how to use that time to sell books.

Not currently being offered.

Podcasting Basics
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, Fantasy Magazine, and her own promotional use.

9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, April 27
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

Literary Techniques for Genre Fiction
Discussion and in-class writing exercises designed to introduce a number of techniques to use in your own writing such as foreshadowing, alliteration, rhythmic device, allusion, etc, and ways to test them out in short fiction as well as discussion of when and where to use them.

9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, February 16
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

Moving Your Story From Idea to Finished Draft
Come with a story idea, no matter how vague. We’ll discuss several ways of plotting a story, as well as engaging in class exercises designed to hone your plotting skills. Learn how to build a roadmap for your story that will help you complete it.

9:30-11:30 AM PDT, Sunday, March 23
$89 for former students; $99 for new students

These one hour classes will focus on lecture and Q&A, and will not feature in-class writing or workshop. Each will focus on a specific aspect of writing or a career topic. Limited to 8 students. Cost is $19.99 for former students; $29.99 for new students.

  • Putting It Out There: Submissions How to find, research, submit to, and track markets, including reprint markets and yearly “best of” anthologies. Wednesday, February 5, 7-8 PM PDT
  • Speaking in Another’s Voice: Dialogue How to create authentic and entertaining dialogue that reveals character while moving the story along. Wednesday, February 12, 7-8 PM PDT
  • Everyone is Interesting: Interviews How to research a subject and create an interview that showcases why someone is interesting. Wednesday, February 19, 7-8 PM PDT
  • Tessellated Voices: Anthologies, Collections, and Magazines Considerations for assembling as well as submitting to anthologies and theme issues. What to think about when putting together your first collection or an anthology proposal. Tuesday, March 4, 10-11 AM PDT
  • The Devil in the Details: Description How to write description that adds to the story and salts in necessary information without boring the reader. Sunday, March 9, 5-6 PM PDT
  • The Choreography of Blows: Blocking How to block a scene so the reader has enough information to fill in the rest. Tuesday, March 11, 10-11 AM PDT
  • Doing the Policeman in Funny Voices: Reading Aloud How to read to an audience, either real or virtual. Sunday, March 16, 5-6 PM PDT

I am not currently taking tutorial students.