Online Writing Workshop for SF, Fantasy & Horror: Become a Better Writer!
Writing the Other One day seminars, on-demand master classes, and weekend intensives. This list is surely not complete. Delany is on the faculty. Snyder is on the faculty. Many established writers are passionate about paying it forward.
Check out the websites of your favorite authors. Chances are good they sometimes teach. But not all writers can afford to take a week or six away from their daily responsibilities. For them, online workshops can offer a similar experience. When author Jilly Dreadful studied creative writing in graduate school, many of the students were hostile or indifferent to fantasy.
So last year she founded the online workshop The Brainery , a community for fantasy writers. Receiving critiques can be painful, especially for writers who are insecure. People may lash out, attempting to tear down their toughest critics or perceived rivals, and the experience of writing on a deadline is too much for many students, some of whom burn out and never write again, though this too can provide a valuable lesson.
She carefully screens applicants for basic composition skills and a healthy perspective on writing, going so far as to contact references and compare notes with other workshops in order to weed out hotheads and shrinking violets. Check out some highlights from the discussion below.
The Strangely Competitive World of Sci-Fi Writing Workshops
And so this past summer [the students] created a ceremony for themselves. The people who were about to be critiqued that day would be given this ceremony to help create a sense of calm, and the ability to accept whatever they were going to hear, and to not feel afraid or angry or anything. It involved a crown that you would put on that was made out of toilet paper and paper clips—like little toilet paper flowers—and they would do a reading out of the Shakespearian insult generator, read an excerpt from The Odyssey , then the person would be able to choose a song and they would all dance to the song around a plush goat standing on a can of condensed milk.
I had a dishwashing gig later that day at a restaurant where I would at least get a cooked meal. Meanwhile, watching the race seemed a good way to kill time without spending much money.
This regatta had only three rules: all boats had to sail under their own power; they had to cross the finish line in order to win; and they had to be built, with the exception of sails, entirely of beer cans. By mid-morning, as the heat increased to a breezeless tropical intensity, I, several Fosters on my way to being drunk, hooted derisively along with about three thousand other sunburned drunks as boat after boat launched and sank.
When it appeared certain there would be no winner, I had a little discovery moment. Is fiction writing about making stuff up?
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Maybe it is for some people. Notice I said form, not content. The day of the beer can regatta, I did haul myself, drunk and sweating, back to my boarding house room. I sat at the table beside the open window, under reach of the ceiling fan, spread open a notebook to a blank page, peered out at the broad-leafed banana tree in the yard, and realized I had no idea how to tell a story.
I had assumed inspiration would be enough to get me going and the rest would take care of itself. Instead, I sat and I sat and I sat. No, I never did write that story about the race in which all the boats sank. I had a protagonist, alright, with plenty of fear and anxiety, and a goal.
Apart from the race itself, I had no complications to move the story to a second act, nor any sense of a potential discovery moment that might push a character over the edge into crisis mode, forcing a choice that could lead to a significant change.
My goal with online fiction writing classes is not to fill you with inspiration. Nor is it to nurture your talent. Scott Driscoll, M. His short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and literary magazines, including The Ex-Files, Crosscurrents, Cimarron Review and Gulfstream. He is currently finishing a novel.
- The Weeping Girl (The Van Veeteren Series Book 8).
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- Sackett Street Writers.
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