I have a writing workshop which is now down to 4 people which meets weekly in Cambridge/Boston. two pieces are workshopped traditionally. It is currently composed of two Emerson MFAs, a guy who works in publishing who is an associate editor at Fantastic Stories, and me, repeat Asimovs offender, publishing there and in F&SF and Interzone.
Currently we are three men, one woman, with one woman on hiatus expected to return and two men who may return. So we’re 4 people, potentially 7; until we have any firm withdrawals we will cap at 8 people.
So we have one slot at least.
The meeting schedule may need to be revised, as expecting people with jobs to produce something every other week is going to lead to raw fragments. Oh, that’s the other thing about the group, it is essentially a challenge to come up with something and fragments are preferred to punting.
We do not meet for a single piece, unless it’s novelette/novella length, and we do not meet with less than four people; we postpone. Sessions are after work (6) in Kendal square. Meeting frequently but only talking about two (or three) pieces and keeping the group under 10 makes the sessions shorter, less than two hours generally, less painful, more focused, at the cost of the extra travel time.
If anyone knows anyone looking for a genre-friendly fiction writing workshop in the area, please let me know. There is an approval process, which is essentially just letting us read a finished piece and a trial workshop session in which the candidate is revealed to be mostly sane. We are currently writing a mix of genre and literary fiction in the group.
The goal of the group is publication. I’m currently the only group member pursing both trad and indy-pub. The group does not workshop poetry. We are inclusive in every way imaginable, in terms of race, creed, ethnicity gender identity and sexual preference. We’ll even accept Vogons, but we won’t workshop their poetry.
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*** End of Ad for Workshop***
I write best with other people, for other people, knowing that there will be people who read what I write who will talk to me about it. I hadn’t known really, how much I would still need that after I started publishing more frequently; my stuff is now routinely sells and is read.
But I’m still a tiny fish, and beyond a handful of web-reviews and the few people who seek out this blog, some part of me still feels like I’m telling my stories alone at a campfire with crickets chirping loudly in the background. Sometimes I see the reflections of eyes in the dark past the edge of the circle. But I’m not really sure it isn’t my mind playing tricks on me.
I’ve started reading stories by peers in my magazines and reaching out to some of them and that has been great; the problem is, I’m not, by nature, a guy who reads a lot of short fiction by different writers at the same time.
I had this great insight that I usually find someone I like and read many books by them in a row, learning their voice and digging in for the long haul. Once I have their voice down, I’ll revisit them as they create new content.
What I have never done is read dozens of short stories by dozens of people at the same time, dozens of books in a year all by authors I have never read before. Turns out I’m bad at it. Which is ironic, because that is the only way I could reasonably be expected to be read myself of course, which makes me some kind of reading / writing hypocrit. So I’m working on it.
The loophole in this for me has been reading stuff by people who sit in the room with me and let me talk to them about what they’re writing.
Hence, the workshops.
Anyway, I’d love to workshop with folks who are publishing short fiction; I’d like to be a beta-reader for someone publishing novels, too. I need few more people in my eco-system. Dropping out for twenty years sort of thinned that community down for me.