Friday, August 16, 2013

Worldcon and Writers' Workshops

I registered for the writers' workshop at Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention).

"You said you would never attend another writers' workshop at a con," said Paul, my fellow SF&F buddy.

"I know," I said, "but this one's different."


Well …

1.   It's Worldcon. The biggest event for readers/writers/aficionados of SF in the world (hence, the name). I would be remiss if I didn't take advantage of the experience.

2.   It's inexpensive: $15. That's a nominal price to pay for what could be an enriching experience.

3.   Unlike the workshops at other SF&F cons that Paul and I have attended, the critique groups at Worldcon are small. In the case of my group, there are three other amateur writers and two pros to guide us. That's an improvement compared to workshops where 19 to 20+ writers are crammed in one room and we slog through everyone's submission. To be prepared for that arduous task meant reading 19 to 20+ submissions prior to the workshop. Mind numbing does not begin to describe the process (the very reason I've never applied to be a slush reader for a magazine).*

4.   Despite my bitching, writers' workshops help me grow. I've attended a half dozen so far and learned vast amounts at each one. The exhaustive hard work always pays off.

5.   Writers' workshops force me to network (which I really suck at). I've met pro writers who taught me much, editors who gave me a different perspective on the publishing industry, and fellow aspiring authors who became good friends.   

Five solid reasons. I'll report later if any of them panned out.


* I'm sure that makes me sound haughty, but I don't mean it that way. Truth is every writer is at a different stage in his/her development. Reading a submission from someone you've never met can be a challenge. Do you critique hard and risk hurt feelings, or soft and unfairly inflate an ego? I always try to give a fair critique - the same that I hope to get.

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