Escape Artists

News:

News

ATTENTION: NEW FORUM THEME Please see here for details: http://forum.escapeartists.net/index.php?topic=13188.0

Author Topic: Workshops  (Read 5989 times)

wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
on: February 27, 2007, 11:50:39 PM
What workshops are cool?
                       are lame?
                       have you heard of?



Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #1 on: February 28, 2007, 01:05:19 AM
All of the ones geared toward getting you to professional level - Odyssey, Clarion East, Clarion West, Clarion South, Viable Paradise - are good.

The complaints I've heard about Clarion have generally come from people who A) had a sucky group dynamic, or B) decided not to put in the effort that was necessary to help them get the most out of the experience.



SFEley

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1408
    • Escape Artists, Inc.
Reply #2 on: February 28, 2007, 01:45:44 AM
What workshops are cool?
                       are lame?
                       have you heard of?

I did Viable Paradise in its second year.  I'd highly recommend it.  It's not quite the same experience that the others are reputed to be -- it's only a week long instead of six -- but it is an intense week, and the close proximity with that many instructors helps you learn quite a bit about the profession and attitude of writing, not just the craft.


ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


GoodDamon

  • Lochage
  • *****
  • Posts: 352
    • Speculations - My writing blog
Reply #3 on: February 28, 2007, 06:29:33 AM
And if you live somewhere with a professional writing group open to non-professional membership, such as the Wordos, join up. I would recommend a group that uses the Clarion method for critiques.

If nothing of the sort exists near you, start one.

Damon Kaswell: Reader, writer, and arithmetic-er


Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #4 on: February 28, 2007, 08:50:59 AM
Or join one online.

The Online Writing Workshop:

http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/

Critters:

http://critters.critique.org/

(By the by, for whatever it's worth, Wordos is a workshop that welcomes both newcomers and established pros. A lot of ocal writing groups that I know of, because I am or have been involved, or because friends of mine are or have been, are level-based, where people try to more or less work with other people at their writing level.)



Mfitz

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
    • Flying Whale Productions
Reply #5 on: February 28, 2007, 02:24:27 PM
I've had several people, including Clarion grads, tell me that it's really only useful if you want to write short fiction.  It won't hurt if you want to write novels, but it probably won't help either.

Anyone have a comment on that?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 02:26:50 PM by Mfitz »



Mfitz

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
    • Flying Whale Productions
Reply #6 on: February 28, 2007, 02:34:00 PM
Context the non-media con in Columbus Ohio has a weekend genre workshop that is reasonable, and has a good reputation.

http://s187772641.onlinehome.us/workshop.htm







Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #7 on: February 28, 2007, 07:42:53 PM
Quote
Anyone have a comment on that?

Almost all workshops skew toward short fiction.

The two are different skills, but I think people underestimate the benefit of working outside one's genre. I take poetry classes, playwriting classes, novel workshops - and I primarily write short stories. Poetry teaches specific control of language; playwriting teaches, among other things, how to work without narration; novels teach you how to write slowly and develop things more fully.

Also: Taos Toolbox -- http://www.taostoolbox.com/ -- is novel-focused. I'm applying for this summer.



Mfitz

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
    • Flying Whale Productions
Reply #8 on: February 28, 2007, 09:28:00 PM
[...I think people underestimate the benefit of working outside one's genre. I take poetry classes, playwriting classes, novel workshops - and I primarily write short stories. Poetry teaches specific control of language; playwriting teaches, among other things, how to work without narration; novels teach you how to write slowly and develop things more fully.


I think you hit a nail on the head there.  Exposure outside the genre is important. 

I am in CWP's,  long running and fairly successful writer's group.   It's for fiction writer's only but, there are people writing in all genres in the group and right now there are people with poetry, sports writing, advertising  and screen play backgrounds.  I'm doing Space Opera stuff. The other SF people are good help with genre specific problems, like will a reader buy this bit of businesswith a FTL drive, but I've found the feedback from the non SF/Fantasy readers/writers in the group tends to be what makes my writing stronger.
 
Good writing, is good writing. The same things make for all strong fiction no matter what universe a story occupies. I'm not a poetry fan but I love having poets in the group, they don't let us be lazy with language, or the things like flow and voice, they are like lasers in their focus. 


If you are in the GR.Cincy area you can check out the group.

http://www.cincinnatiwriters.org/

Sorry that's a semi-cobwebsite, but it's run by volunteers who would rather be writing in their spare time than fooling with HTML.



wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #9 on: March 01, 2007, 01:12:39 AM
Since I live in Japan, I was looking for something online.  Also, I like the idea of being able to participate when I can instead of having to fit regular meetings into my schedule. 

It looks like Critters participants need to submit about a critique per week or risk losing their memberships, and it takes about a month of a submission to be up for critiquing.  While The Online Writing Workshop charges $49 per year, and as long as your dues are paid you will not be dropped.  You earn a point per quality critique and it costs 4 points to submit a story.   Critters if you have more time than money, and OWW if you have more money than time...though not that much money. 

Has anyone taken the writing courses offer by Gotham Writers Workshop?



Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #10 on: March 01, 2007, 04:05:39 AM
OWW is, in my opinion, a better system for people with unpredictable schedules.

I don't trust Gotham; I think they may be... not a scam, but... skeevy.



SFEley

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1408
    • Escape Artists, Inc.
Reply #11 on: March 01, 2007, 04:45:55 AM
I don't trust Gotham; I think they may be... not a scam, but... skeevy.

I grok that.

Four hundred bucks is a lot of money.  If you're going to drop that much money on learning to write, you should know who's teaching it and have confidence in their credentials -- and you should also have confidence in your fellow students, because much of your learning is going to come from them. 

The Gotham courses don't seem to have any kind of screening process, which means that for your cash you're bound to get lumped in with people who barely know what nouns and verbs are.  You can learn a lot from your peers, but you can't learn from idiots.  And I'm sorry if my bluntness offends anyone, but there are a lot of idiots who want to learn to write, and these sorts of programs attract them like moths.  You might still learn things from the course, but you'd be learning in spite of your fellow students, not from them, and that's suboptimal.

(This, by the way, was a problem I had with Critters too, when I participated in it several years ago.  There are some brilliant, brilliant people there -- but Sturgeon's Law applies, and you get many more crits back along the lines of "Woww.  I reelly liked this peice, it made me wnt to read more.  Only 1 prolbem: hwy was there a dog insted of a cat?  I like cats more and I think you should chagne this if you want to sell.")

Clarion, VP, Odyssey, etc. are all more money and serious time.  But one thing they all have going for them is the application process.  You can't get in unless you first show that you know the basics and have some degree of spark -- and that means that the students can trust each other, and everybody learns more.

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine


Rachel Swirsky

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1233
    • PodCastle
Reply #12 on: March 01, 2007, 05:22:46 AM
"This, by the way, was a problem I had with Critters too, when I participated in it several years ago"

*cough* Yes.

OWW is a little better on this front, because of the entry fee -- and because the system is set up in such a way that you can find a circle of people who get your writing and exchange work generally with them, while still having the permeability to seek new people or be sought out. For people who join, I recommend learning to give really good crits, then finding people who write the way you someday want to be able to, and critiquing them. Sometimes they come back and crit you in exchange.



wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #13 on: March 01, 2007, 05:48:05 AM
What I deleted from my earlier post:

Quote from: self
I don't want to seem elitist, but  I tried Critters a few years ago, and becuase it's free and open to everyone, I felt that the stories and critiques weren't so hot.


I think spending a little money would help increase the seriousness of those envolved.  Palimpset's comment about gravitating toward like-minded people, but not being stuck with them is attractive.

Yeah, $400 could buy a lot of pan-galactic gargle blasters.  And they keep the class size small, so if what Steve says is true, and there are a lot of idiots who want to learn to write (which I find utterly shocking) then you are stuck with these same dopes.  OWW would let you find different dopes. 



Anarkey

  • Meen Pie
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 703
  • ...depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Reply #14 on: March 01, 2007, 05:26:08 PM
I'll join Steve in the rah-rah Viable Paradise department.  I went year 9 and thought it was definitely worth the while, the money, and the travel.   

I'll also join him in the un-rah-rah for Critters department.  It sucked up way too much of my time: critting other people's stuff was like the ultimate cat-waxing for me, because I could convince myself it was useful.  When my piece dropped into the queue I got, if you can believe this, too MUCH feedback to really process usefully, especially when I had no other gauge with which to classify the comments I was being given. 

I've wondered about OWW, but never tried it.

Winner Nash's 1000th member betting pool + Thaurismunths' Free Rice Contest!


Jason

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Writing my Great Canadian Graphic Novel
    • Kel on Earth
Reply #15 on: April 11, 2007, 12:22:28 AM
Has anyone taken the writing courses offer by Gotham Writers Workshop?


Ha! I actually bought a bright yellow book by these guys. I guess it was okay, except for the fact that every chapter was written by a different person. That kind of leads to contradiction between segments.



wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #16 on: April 16, 2007, 07:47:11 AM
Quote
Quote
Has anyone taken the writing courses offer by Gotham Writers Workshop?


Ha! I actually bought a bright yellow book by these guys. I guess it was okay, except for the fact that every chapter was written by a different person. That kind of leads to contradiction between segments.

I bought it, too.  And yeah, it was OK.  But, I think it was the chapter on creating characters, where the writer referred to each type of character as a type of boyfriend or a type of date.  I found myself not thinking about creating characters, but psychoanalyzing this person who obviously has trouble with relationships. 



SFEley

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1408
    • Escape Artists, Inc.
Reply #17 on: April 20, 2007, 09:04:35 PM
I bought it, too.  And yeah, it was OK.  But, I think it was the chapter on creating characters, where the writer referred to each type of character as a type of boyfriend or a type of date.  I found myself not thinking about creating characters, but psychoanalyzing this person who obviously has trouble with relationships. 

Heh.  Okay, now I want to track it down for the humor value.  >8->

ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine