Writing boot camps are workshops where you live for a week (or several) and focus completely on the written word. It’s a very intense experience, one that can change your writing style, your relationship to books, and even your life. Some famous camps like Clarion list many famous writers as their alums.
The most well-known SF and fantasy writing camp for teenagers is called Alpha, and takes place every July in Pittsburgh. It’s ten days altogether (July 10-19 this year) including eight days of workshops and two days of attending Confluence a literary sf convention nearby. You have to be age 14 to 19 to attend.
I’ve blogged about Alpha before, but this year, I willl be teaching there, along with Tamora Pierce and Theodora Goss. If you want to apply, submissions are open now.
To quote Alpha:
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. Students from anywhere in the world are welcome. In the past, students have attended Alpha from Canada, the United Kingdom, all over the United States, and even as far away as New Zealand.
Learn about writing and publishing. Meet other teens who share your interest in writing speculative fiction. Talk about short stories, novels, and films. Have your submission story critiqued. Brainstorm new story ideas, write a first draft, receive feedback, and rewrite. Attend readings by the authors. Do a public reading. Learn about submitting for publication, and send off your story at our manuscript mailing party.
2013 will be Alpha’s twelfth year. Previous attendees have placed in the Dell Magazines Award and Writers of the Future contests, and have sold stories to Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Cicada, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Nature Futures, Pseudopod and more.
Workshop tuition is $1100 and includes all workshop-related costs, but does not include transportation to and from Pittsburgh, or hotel/meals at the Confluence Convention. A limited pool of scholarship funding is available for students in need of financial aid.
Here are some testimonials from previous students.
Click here for more info and to apply.
Click here to donate to Alpha.
I hope I’ll be seeing some of you there! It’ll be great to meet you in person and talk about writing for a few days.
(Also: I will be more blogging soon, including some Uglies movie news.)
61 thoughts on “Take a Writing Class with Me”
So I just finished the Manual of Aeronautics (which was quite enlightening visually), and though it was AWESOME and AMAZING, I was a little surprised to find “hydrogen sniffers” missing from the beastie section. :/
Hey, everyone! I need story ideas for my Alpha application submission!
(P.S. Scott, if you want to help, I totally wouldn’t object. Unless, you know, you aren’t allowed and I’d get kicked. In which case I’d rather you didn’t. If you can toss out a little advice, do you know what they look for in submissions? Strong or inventive plot, strong characters, settings, description, etc.? Who judges?)
I hear you, MM. I, myself, was absolutely frantic for a couple of days because I was COMPLETELY brain-dead story-wise. Luckily, I came up with something and am currently editing the hell out of it.
What’s your genre? Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, or a mix? (I think they’re just looking for a nice mix of all those things you mentioned. The most enthralling and well-written story between 2000-6000 words.)
If it helps any, last year I wrote about a gang robbery in a world-of-words setting (in which they have ink for blood and whatnot).
I’m currently writing a sic-fi manuscript, but fantasy is one of my favorite genres. Definitely not horror, though.
Uglies movie??? I almost died when I read that last sentence, really.
STOP TEASING ME SO!!!!
Agh, I’d love to go to that camp, but sadly, it is necessary for me to work during the summer, which would be completely counterproductive to dropping $1100. 🙁
I’d love to go! It would be awesome! Pittsburg isn’t that far from where I live!!! 😀 You’re like my hero Scott, and it would be totally cool to meet you. Ooooh…. But $1100? Yipes! Totally bogus. It would fun to go though, I need the workshop. Maybe I could save up… *thinks* Well if I get enough money, you’ll see me there. 🙂
I am an idiot who doesn’t know the difference between googling Pittsburg and pittsburgh. Clearly I need to check my spelling when I google things.
Uglies *eye twitch* movie? I really shouldn’t get excited by mentions of this anymore. It has been what? 5 years now? I’m still waiting and growing uneasy about the whole thing as I see other books ruined by hollywood. 🙁
but here I am again, excited and eager to hear what you have to say. SCOTT GIVE US INFORMATION SOON BEFORE I CRACK 🙂
Hi I would so love to go I live really close and its so amazing but I’m to young to go 🙁 but I if u still are there in a couple of years I will be there u can count on it!!!!!!
And what a movie my life is so getting good because I can’t wait to see it I think u should use new faces in the movie though but that’s just me I would go to try out but I heard it wasn’t in the U.S so I can’t and again on the whole I’m pretty young thing but I could always be an extra in the back playing an Uglie
Oh my gosh please tell us about the movie!!
Ummmm how do u get In to alpha I mean I would love to go but do u have to write a story and be exepted?
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