Keffy

everything i do is so fucking amazing that sparks are going to shoot out of your eyes

Tag: clarion

Brief Emerald City Comic Con note:

I will be helping out at the Clarion West / Clarion table at ECCC this year!

The table is located in booth 2804, which is on the 6th floor, near all the celebrity guests, and some other writers and stuff. Also, I think the University Bookstore will have a booth near there, so if you wander over and happen to find a book with one of my stories in it, like maybe thiiiis one: Wastelands 2, edited by John Joseph Adams, I will totally sign it for you. Or in spite of you, if you get too close. I have a pen.

Emerald City Show Floor: LINK!

If you want to say hi, I strongly recommend trying to meet up with me while I’m at the table to make plans, because we all know that our phones are going to be like super fancy bricks during most of the weekend, right? I will probably get any texts or emails after I’ve left the con for the evening.

I am also in Seattle and thus “around” for most of the rest of the weekend if people want to meet up for dinner/lunch/whatever, but my badge is associated with the table, so I won’t have a ton of time to do things that are actually in the con.

Anyway!

 

I will be at the table at the following days and times:

Friday 3/27: 10am – 1pm

Saturday 3/28: 2pm – 5pm

Sunday 3/29: 10am – 11am & 1pm – 5pm

Come have a chat about Clarion, writing, the sky, science, GlitterShip, the unusual habits of small dinosaurs, etc!

The 2014 Clarion UCSD Blog Post (of doom)

It’s that time of year again! This year, the Clarion UCSD Write-a-Thon runs from June 22 to August 2. Yesterday was the first day, and although I was generally distracted by BRIGHT SUNLIGHT, I completed 2 of my 150 hours of butt-in-chair time. I also completed my first SUPER SECRET blog post. 🙂

If you don’t know what the Write-a-Thon is, you can check out the main page here: http://clarionwriteathon.org/

My profile is here: http://clarionwriteathon.org/members/profile.php?writerid=457231

Short version is that I’m doing the Write-a-Thon to raise money for the Clarion UCSD workshop, which I attended in 2008. The workshop is a nonprofit, and it depends on donations to keep costs down for the students (and it’s already PLENTY expensive). Clarion is a six-week, intense science fiction/fantasy short story workshop. I had a blast while I was there and learned a ton, so I’d like the workshop to continue so that more people can attend in the future.

NOTE! (IF YOU TRIED TO DONATE IN THE PAST WEEK)

If you tried to send a donation in the past week, check my profile. So far, the only confirmed money I have is from the people who are listed on that page. The Write-a-Thon emails me to tell me when I receive donations or sponsorships, but it doesn’t send me an email or any other identifying information. If you tried to donate and never got a paypal login page, then something went wrong and you might have to try again. I know, it’s a bummer! I’m not sure who’s in charge of the site design, but I think it’s generally a work in progress each year.

You can also drop me a line in email (kehrli at gmail dot com), comments on my website, or in my tumblr ask box.

WHAT DO YOU GET

The satisfaction of having donated to an awesome workshop! And you have encouraged me not to just give up now! Yay! Encouragement! I am AN ENCOURAGEMENT SPONGE.

Also!

If you go to my member profile and either donate or sponsor me for $10 or more, I will send you the SUPER SECRET password and url for my clarion website. The posts will contain what I’m working on, as well as my discussion afterward regarding what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how I feel about what I’m writing. YES! You’ll get to read raw, unfinished fiction. O____O;

I will even answer process questions! Well, if you have them.

If $10 is a bit steep for a donation to a writing workshop, for $5, I’ll send you an ebook (hopefully I’ll be able to get it into mobi, epub, and pdf) containing several of my previously published stories, some of which are not currently available online.

If you have TONS of money to throw at good causes this month, and you drop $25 or more in my bucket (and are a writer), I will critique one of your short stories (up to 5000 words in length). I am a professionally published SF/F short story writer and I currently edit for Shimmer Magazine. I know things!

Obviously, this subdomain is already up (and I’ve just put up my post for Day 1), but the ebook is going to take a few more days to get put together. My critique turn around will be about a week after you send me the story, and you can wait to send me a story for critique until you’ve got one finished. 🙂

DONATION INSTRUCTIONS (kinda)

Finally, I know that the donation site is not completely intuitive. If you’re sponsoring, it should let you choose how much to sponsor me for (7 cents for each of the 150 hours will get you to about $10), and then it’ll just be done. If you’re not going to make an account and just want to donate, you should be able to choose to skip registration. After skipping registration and choosing an amount to donate, the website should automatically open PayPal or another payment window.

If it doesn’t open that up, you can either email the site or just try again. Otherwise, it’ll just show your donation as “unconfirmed” for a few days before it vanishes. Eep.

Also, although Clarion sends me an email from the treasurer to inform me that I’ve received sponsorships and donations, they do not share any of your information with me. Therefore, after donating, please drop me an email: kehrli at gmail dot com so I can send you the password / ebook / etc.

WHY AM I DOING THIS?

I’m using the Write-a-Thon this year to really get on track to write regularly. It’s taken several years to do this because it (embarrassingly) took until earlier this year for me to finally get treated for depression. It’s kind of a long story, but it’ll probably get mentioned in the posts when I discuss the problems I’m having jump-starting my writing productivity.

Back in 2008, I went to Clarion in San Diego, and it was definitely a life-changing experience. Prior to that, I hadn’t sold any short stories, so my acceptance into the workshop was the first time I got external validation regarding my fiction writing.

I have blogged occasionally about Clarion and what it meant to me. In order to read the posts that I wrote about Clarion while I was there (and a few I wrote afterward), check out the clarion and clarionucsd tags on my old LJ:

http://kehrli.livejournal.com/tag/clarion%20ucsd

http://kehrli.livejournal.com/tag/clarion

Anyway, thanks for visiting and/or donating! If you have any further questions, either pop them into the comment box here or drop me an email: kehrli at gmail dot com.

Even if you can’t/don’t feel like donating to Clarion or sponsoring me in the Write-a-Thon, please do share this with your friends, especially if any of them might be interested in reading my write-a-thon blog posts and/or getting a professional short story critique.

Some advice for people heading to Clarion:

At Wiscon, I was on a panel about workshops that was utterly remarkable in that the audience primarily consisted of people who hadn’t been to major SF workshops yet. This was a pleasant surprise, since usually when I’m on a Clarion and/or workshop panel at a con, I show up to discover that almost all of the audience has already gone to Clarion. I mean, at that point, we might as well just have a pan-Clarion bar meet-up. One person was an incoming Clarion West student, though, and she told me that one of the things I’d said on the panel was helpful. So, I’m fighting down my natural urge to go, “ADVICE BLOG POST? BLEEEEECH” and writing this.

When you’re at Clarion for six weeks, you’re supposed to write six short stories, one for each week. These stories will then be critiqued by your classmates and instructor.

You should write stories that require you to use techniques you’re unfamiliar with, in genres that you don’t typically touch, with themes and characters you’ve never considered writing about before. Stretch yourself. Challenge yourself. Learn some shit. Blah, blah blah.

Everyone says that.

Okay, so here’s the important part: Do not write these stories with the intent to publish them later. They should still be complete stories, obviously. It needs to be enough of a draft that it can be critiqued. But your goal for these six weeks is to learn how to write better stories, not to sell these six. I mean, if all you want is six weeks off of work to write short stories for publication and send those off? Shit, you can do that at home.

I’m not saying you can’t or won’t be able to sell those stories, just that you have every other moment outside of these six weeks to sit down thinking, “AND NOW I WILL WRITE AN AWESOME STORY FOR BLAH MAGAZINE.”

So… when I was at Clarion, I had not written very many stories. In fact, I had only written three short stories at that point (one of which was The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived, one of my application stories). Writing a whole SIX short stories in a six week period was going to be a huge stretch for me. I thought, well, at least I’ll have six more stories to sell later!

Sigh.

So. I did end up selling my first three stories. Two of them went out the door with fairly minor rewrites, one of them is completely unrecognizable from its original form. Which is good! Because the original draft sucked.

But weeks four, five, and six were pretty much unmitigated disasters. These aren’t even in the category of “Oh, I’ll just rewrite them,” because the shit goes all the way down to the premise. I got super stressed out while writing them which is why they were all written between noon and 3pm of the day that I needed to turn in my drafts (by 3!). I hated writing them. I hated that I knew they weren’t going to sell while I wrote them. I wasn’t quite sure why I was doing it anyway. I mean, I could have just gone downstairs and taken pot-shots at Hugo Award Winning Authors with a water pistol. Or pick through the giant wad of glued-together action figures that Grá found in a dumpster. Or go to the beach and wonder if it was the nude beach, and if it’s a horrible faux pas to be at a nude beach with pants on.

I turned the stories in, and I did learn some stuff from the critiques… but mostly I shot myself in the foot. I felt like crap because I knew that they weren’t going to sell, so no matter what the crits said, I couldn’t turn them around. So why bother. (Eeyore moment.)

AND. WORSE.

I knew that other people, better people, amazing people, had written award winning stories at Clarion! Because those stories were in the archives! And someone from my class had looked them up! So I knew that it was possible! But my stories weren’t that good yet. So, obviously, I had failed at some imaginary Clarion … measure. And by imaginary, I mean really super imaginary, as in, probably only in my head.

AND. WORSE.

You’d think that I’d have figured out that this was an unhealthy way to look at my Clarion experience as of, oh, August 2008. But no. It kind of dragged along behind me for a few years like a string out of a cat’s butthole. That part probably won’t apply to you unless you’re similarly neurotic (or a cat). But I felt for a long time like those unmitigated disasters from weeks 4-6 were proof that I’d wasted at least half of my Clarion experience, and someone else would have been a better choice for my spot.

Phf. I learned plenty from those stories. Like, how to not write something that sucks the same way again.

But, my point isn’t that you can’t write salable stories at Clarion, or that you should write crap on purpose. I’m just saying, if you get stressed out, remember that you’re ONLY writing for the workshop and to learn some shit. It’s okay. Just write some stories, try some things. Worry about your Duotrope stats when you get home.

At least that way if your Clarion stories suck, they’ll suck in new and interesting ways.

 

(This is one of the blog posts I’m writing as part of my participation in the Clarion UCSD Write-A-Thon.)

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