Two Weeks to Viable Paradise Application Deadline
Posted on June 14, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 21 Comments
A reminder to you aspiring writers of science fiction and fantasy: You have until the 30th of this month to get in your applications to Viable Paradise, the week-long science fiction and fantasy workshop that I teach at, along with Elizabeth Bear, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Steven Gould and Laura Mixon, and James Macdonald and Debra Doyle. It’s possible that there’s a better way for an aspiring sf/f writer to spend his or her first week in October, but to be truthful about it I’m hard-pressed to think what it might be. Plus, hey: Martha’s Vineyard in the fall. You’ll love it. Get those applications in and the best of luck to you.
I really would like to go. I can get together the $880 for tuition, and squeeze out the money to fly there (or drive 10 hours from Maryland). But the hotel is going to cost in the range of $900, and I just can’t afford that as well. Are there any cheaper housing opportunities or scholarships for a poor, struggling SFWA member?
I don’t suspect you’ll find cheaper lodging on Martha’s Vineyard than where we’ll be, Larry.
The workshop isn’t going anywhere, i.e., there will be a workshop next year as well. If you can’t afford to go this year but want to go, I suggest saving up to go next year. It’ll be worth the investment in time.
As an alumni of VP (2009), I’d say worry about the hotel later. Just concentrate on getting in first. :)
When you do get in, you can ask to see if someone might want a roommate. Quite a few of my classmates did that and it can help save quite a bit of money.
It’s possible to stay on the island for somewhat less if you stay at a campground (which is how my family managed it when I was a kid) or in a hostel.
But I suspect that to get the most out of Viable Paradise, it’s better to stay somewhere that’s more conducive to writing and reviewing (unless you do that really well at campgrounds), and has you close by other writers, while still giving you a room of your own to go to when you need more privacy.
That said, staying with a room-mate can cut down on lodging costs significantly, if that works for you.
Most folks my year (VP XII) roomed with other attendees, and most of those found each other after being admitted, via the Yahoo group for VPers.
You’ll definitely want to stay at the Inn with everyone else–the camaraderie is one of the very best parts of the experience. Plus, when you’re running on very little sleep (and you will be), being able to just trudge downstairs in order to get to the workshop and dinner makes it all so much more doable.
The townhouses at the Island Inn are *spacious.* Four students comfortably sharing a townhouse isn’t unusual. (Or least it wasn’t the year I went.) That makes the workshop much more affordable than it otherwise might be. What also helps is that your tuition includes dinner.
As John Scalzi said though, VP isn’t going away. It’s definitely worth saving up to go to. If you can’t go this year, apply next year.
Okay, I’m applying. I’ve already mapped out the 10-hour driving route. :)
As a VP alum, I highly recommend it.
Another alumna chiming in to say “dooooo eeeeeeet.” It’s an amazing experience.
Obligatory alum pom-pom waving: yes, do it, and don’t worry about the room situation. I split a suite with three roomies, and it came out to two hundred and change for the entire week. The social aspect is part of what makes VP so great, and I think that someone staying in a private suite would miss out on half the fun.
Just remember, whoever gets the room across the hall from John and EBear: they’re huge fans of Night Ranger at high volume.
Good point, Marko. Stacked properly in a 10×15 foot room with an 8-foot ceiling, I figure you can fit 150 writers, which comes to ~$6/each for the week. (For a zombie story I wrote last year I calculated you can fit 7 billion human brains in an 800-foot cube storage bin. Haven’t sold it yet, for some reason.)
Larry: I’m afraid your per-person stack cost won’t drop below $22 per night, due to the Island Inn’s extra person charge for more than a short stack, and the 9.7% combined state and local hotel taxes.
And although they don’t provide quotes, there’s what I believe are progressively higher expenses, as you increase size and density of the stacks, for the bribe-the-fire-inspectors charges, the reinforce-the-floor-and-walls-against-collapse-or-escape-attempt charges, and the zombie-outbreak-indemnity-waiver charges. I think these run somewhat higher than the also-unquoted high-speed Internet access charges.
Reason 42 why I hate living in the most geographically isolated industrialised city in the world. Perth, Western Australia.
And no, despite what David Carradine said in Kill Bill, there are no silver mines here.
As soon as I win the lottery I’m going to jet set around the world attending writer workshops. Hey, it’s my stupid lottery dream and I’m having it, of course I’ll leave some money aside for an island protected by a Navy of two man submarines.
Aaron, if you can wait until January 2012 and can take six weeks off, there’s this! http://www.clarionsouth.org/
But you have to come to Viable Paradise as well, or John might smite me or sic a large, winged, horned kitten on me.
Argh, in in the same boat, a world away without a paddle. I’d like to do two workshops next year, Clarion and Viable Paradise, and spend the summer going from one book signing to another. I’m moving back to cottage country, northern Ontario, summer 2011, where I intend on hunkering down for a few years, reading and writing. By next summer I should have tired of peddling my debut novel to agents and publishing houses, sulking about whatnots and what-ifs, reading a whole ream of “publishable” SF, pull up my waders, and trudge back out. I tell you, and I’ve been harping about this for the past 3 years, you have no idea how wonderful western bookstores are (i.e. small independent SF&F bookstores in particular) until you move a world away from them. You’ll NEVER take them for granted again. I spent a few years in Japan back in the early 00s. Moved back to Vancouver, Canada afterward, bought a large solid pine bookshelf, and spent the next three years stocking it, one read after another. But that was before OMW was published.
I’ve submitted! Thanks due to this website for the push. In fact, I submitted way back in April…keeping fingers crossed…
it sounds like fun. If only I had the slightest desire to write……..
Want want want want want want WANT (Martha’s Vineyard in fall is cherry on top, holy cow). Wish I’d known about this considerably earlier; will definitely consider setting aside bucks for next year.
I’m a VP 2008 alum and I second Marko and Alberto’s comments. I (unfortunately) roomed quasi-solo and missed out on a few of the better social aspects of the workshop, although it did give me the flexibility for conjugal visits from the other half when she joined me for part of the trip.
Alumna from VP X echoing everyone else: you’ll love it. Do we sound like a cult yet?
The lessons are great and the one-on-one time is invaluable, but for me the most important part was spending a week living with a group of sf/f writers. That sense of community wasn’t something I’d realized I was missing until I wasn’t missing it anymore.
I got the money together, I applied, and I just received a rejection from Viable Paradise. So I didn’t make the “Top 24” this year. It sure would have been helpful – I’m an active member of SFWA with 41 short story sales, but in a serious rut when it comes to selling to the top markets. (I also recently completed my first SF novel, and am already halfway through a second.) I really was looking forward to Viable Paradise to help move to the next level, but I guess it’s not to be. A little bird keeps whispering in my ear that I should focus on non-fiction – I’ve been essentially a full-time writer for many years (3 books, 1200+ published articles), but I find SF & fantasy writing far more interesting. Maybe I’ll use the money and do my own personal writing retreat somewhere exotic.