Catch the Live Show

As it has been noted elsewhere, I’ll go ahead and note it here, too:

I have been invited to become an instructor for next year’s Viable Paradise writing workshop, and have accepted the invitation. For those of you who don’t know about VP, it’s a weeklong workshop specializing in science fiction and fantasy, which is shorter than the six weeks you need for Clarion but longer than a weekend workshop — as it says on the Web site, “It’s a commitment, but not one so large it’s overwhelming, nor so small it leaves you feeling dissatisfied.” Last year’s instructors were Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, James D. MacDonald and Debra Doyle, Stephen Gould and Laura J. Mixon, and Elizabeth Bear and Cory Doctorow; my understanding is that I’ll be replacing Cory (who will be newly enbabied and short on time), thus maintaining the critical Campbell winner balance with eBear.

You ask: “Who are you and what have you done to the famously workshop-adverse John Scalzi?” I respond: It’s still me. However, my workshop aversion is a personal one, i.e., I probably wouldn’t have been a good workshop student (because I am an ego-filled twit, you see). Other folks would find the workshop setting more congenial to their process. Likewise, while I don’t suspect I’d personally make a good workshop student, I think I could be a good instructor. And I guess now we’ll find out. Fortunately, even if I turn out to be absolutely bollocks at it, the other instructors — with their chock-a-block awards and sales for editing and writing — will minimize the damage of my flailings. So that’s good, too. In any event I’m very much looking forward to it.

If you want to get in on this action, hold your horses: It’s too early to apply, and the application window is still a few months off. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it’s active. But inasmuch as you’ll need to submit a story with your application (per the application requirements, which you should read if you are interested), now’s a good time to get started on that.

22 Comments on “Catch the Live Show”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang O.C., the Original Changsta


    I got waitlisted for this year, which crushed me. Apparently, I was wicked close to getting in. Well, maybe this year will be the chance I get to continue my stalkification of Scalzicce (I’ll warm up with Boskone).

  2. *cackles*

    Have they told you yet that we’ll be sharing a condo?


    We are installing the brainwashing devices now.

  3. Well, that takes some of the sting out of not finishing the piece I started to submit with my application *this* year.

    It’s that dang 8k word limit. Apparently I cannot write anything short.

  4. Congratulations!

    But… wait… enbabied? Does Cory have a Stealth Wife he’s never mentioned? Or does that word not mean what I think it means?

  5. Cory has a Significant Other, Alice, who is enciente. I’ve seen it mentioned multiple places. Haven’t you noticed the increase in baby and child things showing up on BoingBoing? *grin*

  6. Congratulations! Gah… I went two years ago, and narrowly missed Elizabeth Bear. And now I’ll miss Scalzi, too? This sucks for me! But is wonderful for you. I hope you have a terrific time.

  7. Awsome!
    If I was an aspiring writer I would check this out.
    I am curious about what Scalzi’s course curriculum would entail..
    It could be quite scary! ;)

  8. Fabutronic, was hoping to get my application in this year. Now more Viable with more Scalzi! Excellent sellling points (you know, besides the wonderful instruction by those other people, Patrick and Teresa).

  9. I was an ego filled sexy man who thought workshops weren’t for me, but I tried one anyway. Life changing moment for me.

    It’s debatable whether I was a ‘good’ workshop attendee or not, since I sort of lead a sleep deprived participant revolt by the end of the week.

    I’d say it cut 5-10 years of ego filled trial and error and 500K of 1 million bad words out of my learning cycle.

    You’re mileage may vary.

    Will you be teaching photoshop procrastination?

  10. I was an ego filled genius(sorry can’t join you guys on the twit part) who thought workshops weren’t for me, but I decided to attend one where I thought hobbnobbing with the instructors would at least be interesting.

    Turned out to be a life changing move.

    Whether I was a ‘good’ student is still debatable considering I sort of lead a sleep deprived participant revolt by the end of the week.

    I’d say that my workshop* experience cut 5-10 years of ego filled trial and error and 500K off of my required 1million bad words. Not bad for a week.

    Will you be teaching photoshop procrastination?

    *the workshop I attended is now semi-defunct, invite only

  11. I went to the Gibraltar Point Artists in Residence this summer–there’s a group of writers (all with SF roots although not all of our stories were science fiction.) Apparently Cory used to go to that back in the old days (which I was not there for). But I got to go this year for the first time and eet was awesome. It was awesome with awesome sauce on the side. :) It was less workshoppy than perhaps VP, but there was a lot of valuable advice and writing time there.

    I really want to apply to VP, but all my vacation currently goes to the Gibraltar Point stuff.

  12. Congratulations, on such a fantastic and well deserved opportunity/honor. You my fellow egocentric are HUGE inspiration for me. You have no clue.

    Keep on keepin’ on.

    Peace, Health & Prosperity.
    Scalzi fanatic :)

  13. Hmmmm.. Now that is weird… I’m sitting at two computers on seperate networks, one on a corporate network considered secure and one, ummm, not so secure.

    Whenever I post from the corporate, I just assumed something was blocking the actual post from submitting(wouldn’t be surprised if they had those sort of policies), but I now am guessing that it is going into the moderation queue… Strange.

  14. Patrick M:

    Yeah, I just checked and you had two comments sitting in the spam queue. This makes me suspect there are some zombie spam machines on your secure network.

    I just despammed your previous messages, incidentally.

  15. Yeah now I look crazy with similar comments all over the place.. :)

    Fortunately I am not in charge of securing the secure network, otherwise I would feel obligated to hunt down the zombie spam machines….

  16. Scalzi said:

    > Take out the gerunds.

    Hmm, that smells like a pet peeve. Or are you owning up to a personal bad habit?

    Actually, I can usually cut first drafts down by 10% merely by correcting every sentence I start with “So” or “And”.

  17. Ah, darn! Well, I did get to read The Ghost Brigades at this year’s Viable Paradise, but I would have loved to have met you. I am glad that I got to interact with Cory though, so I guess it’s a trade-off.

    Kudos to you! It was beautiful this year, and here’s hoping that it will be that nice next year.

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