(This article has been reprinted from Apex Publishing’s archives. It was originally published there on February 7, 2014)
When you’ve reached the point in your writing career where you’d like to connect with other writers and improve your craft, it might be time to start exploring your options with regards to writers’ workshops.
For science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers, there are a range of options. There are six-week residencies and year-round online communities. Workshops vary in number of students admitted, costs to attend, and application procedures, so please visit their websites for the full scoop.
Nota Bene: Writers’ workshops can mean considerable expense, both in money and time spent. They are not for everyone, and they are not a guarantee of writerly success. What they are is an opportunity to focus on craft in the company of other writers, including more experienced writers. This can be a powerful experience.
Here are a few of the workshops available in the United States and online for adults and, separately, for teens, along with insights from program organizers, teachers, and students when possible. (Note, while I’ve done the gathering, errors happen and are entirely the blogger’s fault – please consider each workshop’s website as the final word.)
Please add more workshop info in the comments! What’s your favorite workshop?
Viable ParadiseLocation: Martha’s Vineyard, MassachusettsDates: October 12-17, 2014. Length: one weekApplication Deadline: open through June 15Instructors: Scott Lynch, Steven Brust, Sherwood Smith, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Debra Doyle, James D. Macdonald, Steven Gould2014 Writers in Residence: Elizabeth Bear, Laura MixonCost: Tuition and partial board: $1100 See website for more information.Workshop instructor James D. Macdonald says: “Viable Paradise is a one-week intensive residential workshop held every year on Martha’s Vineyard. The student/faculty ratio is 3:1 with full time working writers and editors giving students exposure to a wide variety of opinions and instruction. Social interaction, formal and informal lectures, and writing exercises fill the week. Our goal is to take students to the next level in their writing.”
Taos ToolboxLocation: Taos Ski Valley, New MexicoDates: July 6-19, 2014. Length: two weeks.Application Deadline: Rolling. Only a few spaces remain.Instructors: Nancy Kress, Walter Jon Williams2014 Writer in Residence: Ian TregellisCost: Tuition, room and partial board: $3100-$3500. See website for additional details.Instructor Walter Jon Williams says, “”We build writers! Taos Toolbox has only been in existence for six years, and already our graduates have been nominated for six Hugo awards. Taos Toolbox is a two-week master class that takes place in beautiful mountain surroundings. Students will listen to lectures, do exercises, and have two pieces of longer fiction critiqued by the workshop. The workshop is taught by two multiple award-winning authors along an acclaimed new writer. We cheerfully accept novels, and pay special attention to novel pacing, plotting, and structure.”
OdysseyLocation: Manchester, New HampshireDates: June 18 – July 9Length: 6 weeksApplication Deadline: April 8.Program Director: Jeanne Cavelos2014 Guest Lecturers: Elizabeth Hand, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Alexander Jablokov, as well as editor Gordon Van Gelder.Writers-in-Residence: Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Rasnic Tem.Cost: Base tuition: $1965. See website for additional details.Program director Jeanne Cavelos says, ”We work hard to improve the workshop each year, so I’m very excited about our 19th Odyssey this summer. We’re adding some great new lecture material on the interconnection between character and plot, on writing powerful dialogue, on the different changes a scene can show to drive the story ahead, and–as we’ve been doing every year lately–on the changing publishing landscape. At Odyssey, we feel it’s very important to provide advanced, in-depth instruction that gives authors the knowledge, tools, and techniques they need to improve their work, while at the same time providing feedback that shows authors where they need to improve. The combination has proven extremely effective, triggering light-bulb moments and helping writers make major breakthroughs in their writing.”
Clarion WestLocation: Seattle, WashingtonDates: June 22-August 2, 2014 Length: 6 weeks.2014 Instructors: Paul Park, Kij Johnson, Ian McDonald, Hiromi Goto, Charlie Jane Anders, and John Crowley.Application Deadline: March 1Cost: $3600 – tuition, room, partial board. See website for additional details.
ClarionLocation: San Diego, CaliforniaDates: June 22-August 2, 2014. Length: 6 weeks.Application deadline: March 1.2014 Instructors: Gregory Frost, Geoff Ryman, Catherine M. Valente, N.K. Jemisin, Ann Vandermeer, Jeff Vandermeer.Cost: Tuition, room, and board: $4,957. See website for additional details.
For Teen Writers only:
SharedWorlds (Rising 8th-12th graders)Dates: July 16-23, 2014. Length: 1 week.Application deadline: Check website for details.2014 Instructors include: Carrie Vaughn, Steven Barnes, Mur Lafferty, Nathan Ballingrud, Will Alexander, and Kelly Barnhill.Cost: Tuition, room, board, extras: $2,200. See website for additional details.Workshop instructor Will Hindmarch says, “Students at Shared Worlds team up and combine their imaginations to conjure vivid, inventive worlds in a week. Thoseworlds become the sparks and the settings for original fiction written by each student on their own in the second week. It’s a remarkable experience for everyone involved, seeing these worlds take shape through drawings, maps, and writing exercises inspired by multifaceted lectures and thought-provoking presentations from writers, artists, and professors. Mists form into mountains, forests rise up on imagined islands, and oceans teem with alien creatures. […] It’s a wonderfully social and collaborative way to exercise skills that are so often practiced in isolation. Shared Worlds teaches students — and reminds me, every year — that though writing is often a solitary pursuit, we’re not alone in it.”
Alpha (ages 14-19)Location: Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDates: July 25-August 3Cost: Tuition, room, and board: $1100. See website for additional details.2014 Instructors: Tobias S. Buckell, Bruce Coville, Tamora Pierce, Rachel SwirskyApplication deadline: March 2. See website for additional details.
LaunchpadLaramie, WyomingDates: July 13-20, 2014. Length: 1 week.Applications open: Through March 15.Instructors: Mike Brotherton, Jim D. Verly. Guest lecturers.Cost: Tuition, room and board: $0
The Online Writing Workshop – ongoing – annual fee after first free month – http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/index.shtml – $49/year $30/6 months
Odyssey Workshops offer online writing workshops as well as the residency.