Alpha Writing Workshop

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 Pittsburgh’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.

Click here for the details.

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!

302 thoughts on “Alpha Writing Workshop

  1. Hey, I’d be willing to pay that price, then again I would pay for him all the time, and you would become very very rich, my friend, and very very lonely.Ah, tres magnefique.(sp?) What does xD mean?!?
    Everyone uses it, yet no one will tell me. I feel left out.

  2. YaY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Not sure what that was for, probably left over from my earlier sugar rush. The only bad thing about a sugar rush is th aftershock of the sugar crash.

  3. Oh fooey! I was making chicken noodle soup and I just opened the can and I dropped it, and my dog tried to lick it all up so now she’s got soup all over her ears. Darn those adorable long bassett hound ears. I am admitting it, if I am in the kitchen there will almost certainly be a disaster. I’m not necessarily a bad cook, just extremely accident prone.(Where is the stupid mop?) Oh YaY!!! my Dad just cleaned it!

  4. That is an awfully low price for Edward, quite a bargain if you ask me. Who’s Kevin Flamme? Never mind I’ll look it up.

  5. Ooohhh, he’s kinda hot, but still confused as to *who* he is.
    Gaspy’s like a gazillion times hotter than him though.
    How bout we make a compromise Lena-la?
    I get Gaspard and you get that Kevin guy?
    See Ya!

  6. No, you can’t have Edward because he’s marrying Bella, duh.
    You can have Jacob though, actually take him, he’s free, okay I’ll probably pay you to take him.

  7. No No NOOOOOOOOO!!!! I’m a super ninja!YA!!! HaHaHa!!! My kungfu worked, Gaspard is MINE once again!Muhahaha!!!

  8. Oh, that one hurt Lena-la that one hurt deep.
    (I’ll use my mastermindish ways to get you back Gaspy, don’t worry.)
    HaHaHa!!! I got a new screen saver for my celly and every time there’s an incoming call it says “Gaspard is My Man” with cute little hearts around it.

  9. I won’t try Lena-la, I will. And I wouldn’t have to steal him, cuz my Gaspy would come willingly.(HeHeHe!!!I mean!) No, I don’t want to be hostile.
    (click my name, it’s linked to his site, with tons of fab pictures of him)
    See I can be nice.LoL!

  10. yeah
    I don’t know any guys who read ANYTHING (‘cept for Ian…but he’s odd, ya know with, like, doctor humor and I don’t think he has ever gotten less than a B+ on his report card)

  11. Got it. Good luck to you.
    I’m amazed how many people wrote on their Alpha applications that they heard about the workshop from Scott’s blog. From right here.


    Besides this blog, other answers to “Where did you hear about Alpha?” included:
    –from my English teacher
    –from Tammy’s blog
    –from a web search on “teen writing workshops”
    –“I met someone at the Nebula Awards Weekend in NYC last May who told me about Alpha.”

    Good show–I’m happy.


  12. YaY! I’m kinda worried though because I was a big dunce and didn’t put the page count in the right place and I didn’t notice until after I sent the story. And thanks for the Good Luck!

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