Back in 2005 I was a teacher at Clarion South, the Australian wing of the annual “science fiction writers’ boot camp.” Basically, Clarion is a six-week residential course (“residential” meaning you live there) where 15 prospective writers take classes from experts in the field, write a short story a week, and critique each other.
It’s a life-changing experience. At every sf convention I see former Clarionites screaming when they recognize each other, then rushing into hugs. I’ve happily watched my own Clarion students publish a slew of great stories and three novels (so far). We’ve all stayed in contact since, sharing the trials and tribulations of the writing life.
The vastness of Clarion’s effects isn’t surprising, though. What Justine and I have learned from our writing vacations in Mexico , Argentina, and Bangkok, is that there’s something that happens to your brain when it focuses solely on writing, away from friends and family. For a lot of graduates, Clarion is the first time that has ever happened
What I didn’t know is that there’s also a sort of mini-Clarion for teenagers, called Alpha.
The ALPHA SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14 – 19) will be held at the University of Pittsburghâ€™s Greensburg Campus July 16 – 25, 2008 in conjunction with Pittsburgh’s science fiction convention, Confluence, July 25 – 27th.
We’re looking for enthusiastic, talented young writers who have a strong interest in science fiction, fantasy and/or horror and a passion for writing.
Come spend ten days working with professional authors, each of whom will spend two days at the workshop.
There are four instructors this year, including the wonderful Tamora Pierce. The application deadline is March 1, and the workshop costs $950, which sounds pretty good for a private room, food, and a life-changing experience.
A bonus: Acceptance is based solely on the short story you submit. No high-school transcripts or stupid essays about what famous person in history you’d like to meet!