Award-winning author Nisi Shawl will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop. She wrote the 2016 Nebula finalist and Tiptree Honor novel Everfair, and the 2008 Tiptree Award-winning collection Filter House. In 2005 she co-wrote Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, a standard text on inclusive representation in the imaginative genres. Her short stories have appeared in Analog and Asimov’s magazines, and many other publications. Shawl is a founder of the Carl Brandon Society and a Clarion West board member.
As a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Workshop, you’ll be lecturing, workshopping, and meeting individually with students. What do you think is the most important advice you can give to developing writers?
Listen to your inner bell. That’s a maddeningly vague tip, I know, but it’s the closest I can come to describing what it’s like to understand when something just is not working, or when something needs a little tweak to make it work smashingly well, or when you’re laboring over something that is not going to ever work, no matter how you tweak and nudge and sweat and polish it. I’m an aural writer, so I think of it in terms of sound; others may metaphorize the idea differently, but most of you will recognize it. For me, it’s “clunk” versus “bonggg.” Continue reading “Interview: Guest Lecturer Nisi Shawl”
Author Alexander Jablokov, who will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey workshop, writes science fiction for readers who won’t give up literate writing or vivid characters to get the thrills they demand. He is a natural transition for non-SF readers interested in taking a stroll with a dangerous AI or a neurosurgeon/jazz musician turned detective, while still giving hardcore SF fans speculative flash, incomprehensible aliens, and kitchen appliances with insect wing cases. From his well-regarded first novel, Carve the Sky, an interplanetary espionage novel set in a culturally complex 25th century, through the obscenely articulate dolphins with military modifications of a Deeper Sea, the hardboiled post-cyberpunk of Nimbus, the subterranean Martian repression of River of Dust, and the perverse space opera of Deepdrive, his last book was Brain Thief, a contemporary high-tech thriller with a class clown attitude. He has recently written a YA alternate universe adventure novel.
His day job is as a marketing manager. He does his writing during the mornings, and on weekends. It took him several years to figure out how to get any writing done at all, particularly since he hates getting up early and hates working on weekends, but has somehow managed it. Visit www.ajablokov.com to learn more about the author and his books.
On your blog you say that, “writing is rewriting.” How do you maintain excitement for that original idea as you work through various drafts?
Sometimes I don’t and have to let it rest for a while. But I consider the first draft as something akin to ore. Smelting and refinement are the next steps. Now, that’s just me—my initial drafts are tangled, full of blind alleys, notes to myself, and repeated sentences where I try to get something right. I’ve learned that attempting to revise while I write stops me dead. That kind of revision can be like cleaning your desk or doing your laundry—a useful task that has wandered into the wrong place. Continue reading “Interview: Guest Lecturer Alexander Jablokov”
Aspiring writers, take note!
There are only four weeks left to apply for the 2014 Odyssey Writing Workshop, to be held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, from June 9 to July 18, 2014.
Participate in the program that has led 58% of graduates to professional publication, with their work appearing in top magazines and published by major publishing houses. Challenge yourself and pack two years of learning into six weeks of intense work: Four-hour classes five days a week, an advanced curriculum, daily writing and critiquing assignments, weekly stories/chapters due, in-depth feedback on your work, personal guidance from director Jeanne Cavelos, and guests Elizabeth Hand, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Alexander Jablokov, and Gordon van Gelder. Our writers in residence will be Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem. Four scholarships and one work/study position are available. Read more here: http://www.sff.net/odyssey/workshop.html.
Make a quantum leap in your writing this summer. Applications must be received by April 8, 2014!