Clarion Submission Period Open
Posted on December 2, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 28 Comments
Most of you know that next year I will be teaching a week at Clarion, the intensive six-week science fiction and fantasy workshop, along with Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Elizabeth Bear, David Anthony Durham, John Kessel and Kij Johnson. If you want to be one of those who gets to drink from our veritable firehose of speculative fiction knowledge, now is the time to get your applications in order: The submission period for Clarion 2011 is now open, and runs through March 1, 2011.
What do you need to apply? From the Clarion site:
[Y]ou must submit a workshop application form, two short stories, a scholarship application (if applicable), and the application fee. All are submitted online using a registration service called RegOnline.
The application form asks for contact information, a brief summary of your educational background, and a few details about your writing habits and goals. You may submit a scholarship application along with your workshop application if you wish.
Admission to the workshop is based on the promise of the applicant’s writing at its present stage. In addition to the application you must submit two complete short stories, each between 2,500 words and 6,000 words in length. The stories should represent your best fiction work to date. Although skills acquired or developed at Clarion are useful in other kinds of writing, Clarion is a short-story writing workshop, so please do not send screenplays, poetry, essays, or portions of a novel.
Other questions you might have are probably covered in the Application FAQ.
There are 18 spots, and Clarion is highly competitive, so the part about your submission representing your best work to date isn’t just there for show. Get in there and wow ’em, and hopefully I’ll see you in San Diego this summer.
I dream of being that cool…but I’m not. I’ll be happy being one of the many supportive minions enraptured by ya’lls magnificence.
I’m going to have that damn firehose image stuck in my head all day now, darn you.
18 people are chosen to learn the secrets of the craft. This in the second decade of the 21st Century, in an era of internet and YouTube lectures. I have a better idea: why not hold the workshop online and allow more than 18 people to participate? Something more cutting edge is needed here, something more visionary than a medieval model of tutoring a handful.
“I have a better idea: why not hold the workshop online and allow more than 18 people to participate?”
It’s not a better idea, in fact. It’s a different idea.
Also, of course, if you want such an online workshop, get to making it.
It is, in fact, a better idea.
You would also have a problem with giving each “attendee” the direct attention Clarion does. I’m not sure, not being that talented, but I assume that part of the workshop is to have the lucky-18 not only listen to the leaders, but also write and get direct feedback from them. That’s very hard to do with a large number of participants.
My point is that Clarion seeks to imitate the institution of the MFA creative writing workshop (for more history on the MFA creative writing workshop and its academic context see The Program Era.) But why should it? Can’t we invent a new and better way than the ancient mode?
Your need to soapbox about what you feel is a better model does not oblige those for whom the model works to make any changes. Also, unless you are part of Clarion, your use of the word “we” is questionable in this context. If you want to go invent something more suited to your vision, go do it and don’t expect other people to do your heavy lifting for you.
Now, please go be tedious about this subject elsewhere.
Whatever model you pick, it always works for someone, doesn’t it?
[deleted because critic is not picking up the hint that he’s done on this thread — JS]
Your “better idea” already exists and has for years. Search for Critters and the Online Writing Workshop, to start. Or try, you know, YouTube. Search for the keyword “writing” and go nuts. I know Dan Wells and John Brown (not the abolitionist) have interesting clips therein. So, you’re good now, right? Why begrudge a group of people who want to shack up for six weeks and get busy?
Okay, that last sentence needs some work…
(oops, cross-posted) ::buttons lips::
No worries, patron. Although I think we’re done on this particular line of discussion, folks.
Hmmm – is a sense of humor a good thing? I really, really like that Wheaton/Scalzi unipegacorn story I did. Of course, it may not work without the image, lol. Any thoughts, people who know more about it than I?
Gads, that takes me back– I attended Clarion ’82 with Nina (Motto: “We give good critique!”).
I suspect it’s probably best to have any submission story you send stand on its own, humorous or otherwise.
I’d try it on unsuspecting friends who haven’t seen it yet, but I think I made everyone read it the first time, lol. I have one recent story; time to put the articles on the back burner & do some more fiction. Stupid day jobs, why was I not born a Hilton sister?
i seem to have a problem with short stories, they’re too short. two of the best shorts i wrote, people generally said read like they should be novels.
short story markets seem to be shrinking too. lots of markets have 4k limits or so. I fight to keep a story under ten thousand words.
of course, i have the other problem of not getting to the point of getting published. so length is one item on a laundry list of issues.
John, not sure you’re allowed to disclose this (out of concern that people might try to ‘write to the judges’) but are the instructors at Clarion the folks who review the submissions, or is that handled by the Shadowy Masters of the Clarion Committee? And are the admittees’ submissions then handed off to the instructors? Really, I’m just curious as to whether the instructors get a preview of their trainees.
The information at the link actually spells out who is doing the reading.
That’s what I get for trying to be all clever and going to the FAQ first.
Greg: I don’t think there’s such a think as too short for a short story. One of my favorites (I can’t recall the name off the top of my head) was about 2 pages long.
I love the idea of going to a writer’s workshop with legitimate money earning novelist/writers, but at this point it would be easier for me if you just all flew to my house. And well, that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. So, I sadly will be the loser this time out before even being able to apply.
If you are wondering if Clarion *might* be for you: APPLY!
If you are wondering if you’re ready: APPLY!
If you are at all serious about writing: APPLY!
Seriously, just apply. If you’re at this point, you’re ready. You never know what might happen. Yes, it’s spendy, and yes, it’s six weeks away from work. But it will change. your. life. And our lives are way too short to sit around and wonder whether we’re good enough or smart enough. You only have the chance to get what you want by going for it.
I myself will be too busy suing the crap out of bad guys to apply. BUT! The rest of you – what Tiffani said!
When I first heard about Clarion, I thought no way I can afford to take six weeks out of the summer and not teach Physics. The next year, I realized I could afford it, and got my application sent the day the application period opened. And I got in.
Clarion is sometimes described as boot camp for SF/F authors. It’s actually a devious plan in using sleep deprivation and total immersion in genre reading and writing. Mind, no one MAKES you read or write — you’ve just cleared the decks for everything else so you CAN read and write all day and half the night. (grin) If you want.
Plus the friends I made amongst the other attendees and the instructors are a bonus you cannot imagine.
I can’t speak for your mileage, which will vary, but I benefited greatly from the 2004 Clarion.
It would be completely insane for me to sign up for this which is why I probably will. And it’s utterly impossible for me to get away for the time to go there so I probably will. This is in keeping with my resolution for 2011 which is “Well, if it kills me then I won’t do it again.”
Chang, you are far braver than I am. I am not in any way, shape or form in a position to even apply for this, much less consider the astronomically-huge odds of maybe possibly oh please oh please oh /please/ getting in. If I took six weeks off from work, it wouldn’t just be my life crumbling into an unfixable mess. It’s almost an unfixable mess anyway…
You know, that’s a point. If it’s already almost completely fubared, what the hell is the point of carrying on?
Whatever. You know what? If I can scrape together the application fee and get one more really good short finished before the deadline, I’ll apply. Why the hell not?