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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Five things I learned at Clarion 
26th-Jan-2011 09:57 am
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Applications are open until March 1 for Clarion 2011. Established in 1968, the Clarion Writers' Workshop is the oldest workshop of its kind and is widely recognized as a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of fantasy and science fiction. More information is here:
http://clarion.ucsd.edu/

The 2011 writers in residence are Nina Kiriki Hoffman, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, David Anthony Durham, John Kessel and Kij Johnson.

I attended in 1996, and James Patrick Kelly, one of my writers-in-residence, has challenged alumni to write about the five things we learned at Clarion to encourage applicants. Here are mine:

1. How to critique. I'm still using Maureen F. McHugh's format in my local critique group. As a corollary, why to critique: Because seeing how to strengthen someone else's work is a fast way to learn how to strengthen your own work.

2. Only one miracle per story, and the first sentence should point to it.

3. The person (or thing) that hurts the most is usually the best perspective for a story.

4. Landscape reflects character, and different characters will experience the same setting differently.

5. The first draft may have everything you need, but you might need to change it all. A good time to outline of your story might be after the first draft to identify these changes.

— Sue Burke

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