Tag Archives: kansas

I think we learned something important today.

Through the workshop, the same criticisms came up over and over again. On a certain level, I wish I had known some of these things long in advance so that I could have done things differently. It would have been nice to have the basics tackled so that they could critique things on a deeper level.

On the other hand, I had the opportunity to read James Gunn’s The Science of Science Fiction Writing before I got there, but didn’t. I was just too stubborn. It’s one thing to have a person you don’t know and haven’t heard of to tell you that you’re doing something wrong. It’s another to have a dozen people all say you’re doing the same things wrong.

So this is what I got from the workshop in terms of things to remember when writing a short story. Many of these also seem to apply to a novel. Keep in mind this is what I came away with, and I may have gotten some of this wrong. If you want it straight from the source, pick up Mr. Gunn’s book. Also, this is what I’ve been taught, not necessarily what I believe. (Or, at least, I’m too stubborn to believe in.) But I’m giving it a shot to see if it improves my writing and my acceptance rate. If you’ve done his workshop or read his book, feel free to correct me.

Also, these are on top of things like “narrative arc” or the dreaded Turkey City Lexicon.
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We’re not in Kansas anymore.

I am back in Seattle, parked in front of a fan and enjoying the balmy 65 degree weather. It’s a beautiful change in pace from Kansas, where they had a heat index of 110 on some of my final days there. It was just muggy and awful. I’m glad we’d gotten milder weather for most of the early part of my stay. I’d never even heard of a heat index prior to this. Seattle is a civilized place that has no such things.
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Kansas! Day Eight

It is the weekend, which the short story workshoppers have “off” and the novelists do not. I’m still playing catchup with reading and have to upload my short story revisions today. But otherwise it’s been a lazy day of doing laundry and looking for coffee. The local coffee stand is closed on the weekends and the cafeteria doesn’t open until 11 (“Brunch”).
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Kansas! Day Two

I woke up bright and early with the aim of getting lots of stuff done today. I hung out in the lobby, working on my workshop notes, waiting for someone to go to breakfast with. I ended up waiting for quite a while. But finally there were signs of life and we went to check out the local cafeteria. They were a couple people from the novel workshop, since they actually met in the morning while us short story folks didn’t have to be anywhere till after lunch.
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Kansas! Day One

I am in scenic Lawrence, Kansas, for the Science Fiction Writers Workshop put on by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. This is primarily a workshop for short stories. James Gunn leads the workshop. There is a concurrent workshop being run for SF novelists run by Kij Johnson. Because I’m not well versed in SF lore, I had not heard of either of these people. But as their Wikipedia articles illustrate, they’re kind of a big deal.

Because a few friends have been curious about the experience, I’m blogging about it. Today mostly consisted of just getting here.

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