keilexandra: (glomp)
(Alphans, obviously, can ignore this public service announcement.)

Alpha is a 10-day nonprofit writing workshop for genre writers aged 13-19. It's held in Greensburg, PA (near Pittsburgh) and costs $950 with some financial assistance available. The deadline to apply is March 1st, just two weeks away! You'll need a short story of 2k-6k words, formatted in standard manuscript format. This year's guest authors include Tamora Pierce and Theodora Goss.

More importantly, it is awesome and it changed my life in so many ways. There is no self-deprecation in the circle of love...
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The ALPHA SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14-19) will be held at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg Campus July 16-25, 2008 in conjunction with Pittsburgh's science fiction convention, Confluence, July 25-27th. Twenty talented young writers will be selected to attend the workshop on the strength of their submission stories. Four guest authors and ten staff members will be present during the ten-day residency workshop to teach genre writing. Mike Arnzen, Timothy Zahn, Chris McKitterick and Tamora Pierce are our guest authors for 2008 (our seventh year). Workshop fee: $950.00 For more information, see:

By the way, the lovely website was redesigned by the equally lovely [personal profile] sarahbrand. Don't think many people on my f-list fit the age requirement and don't already know about Alpha, but [profile] ww2b, you should totally apply! I know you're mainly a poet, but it'll be good development for your prosey side.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
In celebration of Halloween tomorrow (and inspired by [personal profile] fireriven's boundless excitement about the holiday), I give you [profile] laitma (Sharon!)'s flash-fiction piece, "Angel Mother." (Line-edited by yours truly.) I think it's more lovely than scary, but other opinions have differed. Julia's writing has spoiled me for horror.
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ALPHA Writers Workshop Debriefing
Panelists: Ann Cecil, John Schmid, Thomas Seay, Wen Spencer, Diane Turnshek (M), Michail Velichansky
The ALPHA SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers is over. Here's how it went this year, and what the plans are for the future of ALPHA.

I have no idea why Alpha is capitalized as ALPHA, and it's F/SF/H (not SF/F/H). Very fun panel, though. The audience was maybe 80% current Alphans, 10% former Alphans, and 10% parents/friends of Alpha people. So we mostly just had great fun reminiscing. A semi-transcript follows; assume everything is paraphrased unless otherwise noted. Very disjointed, as I'm terrible at reconstruction of full sentences from notes. Please note that I was 15 minutes late, so I missed the beginning.

Ann: Alpha doesn't teach basic writing skills; it makes your writing better and pushes genre tropes.

Wen: Anecdote about meeting Ann at age 19 and needing help from other people to make the jump from self-taught to saleable.

John: High school English often can't help with genre writing, only with the basic things like spelling, grammar, etc. Or with the market aspect.

Wen: Another anecdote about her awesome high school English teacher who didn't know anything about genre but neverthless invited her to her house after school for one-on-one help.

Michail: Alpha focuses on eventually building a real writing career, whereas University creative writing programs often aren't.

Thomas: Cookies! [reference to Ann, our resident cookie lady] Anecdote about people in the U of Kansas MFA program who still aren't ready to submit their work.

John: The social aspect of Alpha is really important--sense of community and the beginnings of a network. [the last bit about networking may be my mind making false associations; not sure]

Diane: prompting various audience cross-intros and discussion

Audience (Julia P.): Horrow writing is dangerous in school. Anecdote about students getting suspended, ordered to counseling.

Thomas: After ascertaining that no newcomers were present, "continue with the in-jokes"! [of which there were plenty]

General mocking of Paolini and Eye of Argon, both of which were...negatively Alpha activities.

Thomas: What did the Alphans learn this year? (at audience)

Audience (Rebecca M.): Loved being able to just hand a manuscript to someone and knowing they'll read it and give critique. [that was the vague idea, I think--notes are kind of confusing]

Ann: Critique="constructive ripping."

Audience (Julia P.): "All my friends are related to Alpha..."

John: "It's not a cult."

Thomas: "Community is such a huge part of Alpha." Then, urging us to make use of almuni contacts.

[other stuff I didn't write down]

Thomas: Talking about the constant need to recruit more guys.

Audience: Men often write plot-driven stories, versus women and character-driven stories. Maybe more male/male-appealing guest authors would help?

Audience (Julia P.): Daunted as a female horror writer--"girls can write scary stuff too."

[more discussion on Eye of Argon, I think]

Ann: Eye of Argon could maybe be saved if rewritten from the girl's point of view.

And then we ran out of time.


Jul. 27th, 2007 09:00 pm
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
I've already bought five things at Confluence, not counting food: the annual t-shirt (decent in dark green and gold with celtic designs), a gorgeous black choker necklace, and three books (The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales, Kushiel's Scion, Odalisque). I'd been specifically looking for the first, but it was a $20 hardcover. The dealer required a minimum $30 purchase for credit cards, so I bought the Kushiel book because I hadn't read it yet and my friend got a Simon R. Green Nightside book. Then I found an "uncorrected proof" trade paperback of Odalisque, which I've been wanting forever, so that was another $10. I'm thinking about going back tomorrow for the first Kushiel trilogy, but their copy of Kushiel's Dart was damaged so I'm not sure (plus, I'm running out of suitcase room and my mom will likely kill me). Maybe a ring from the cheap jewelry vendor, too.

Decisions, decisions.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Listening to Tammy's lecture right now. She's talking about how she thinks of characters, by remaking all the people and pets around her. Apparently Kyprioth in the Trickster's series was based off Bruce Coville. But Kyprioth does something in Trickster's Queen that made his human incarnation rather angry, and I can't remember what the something was!

Other interesting ones are her first boyfriend as Lord Roger (Song of the Lioness) and her friend's pet dove as the griffin in Protector of the Small.

And the discussion is bringing back good memories about various of Tammy's books. Now I want to reread The Will of the Empress, which I just bought and got signed yesterday. But I have Tigana and The Quantum Rose to savor, and I need to finish Maledicte before the end of Alpha. I'm only a few pages in. Looked through Interfictions and it looks interesting, but not fascinating. That's iffy.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Apparently "fantasy of manners" (which I guess I write, in connection with the general term "political fantasy") is also called "mannerpunk." But mannerpunk sounds so inelegant! It completely contradicts the whole idea.

And in other news, yhlee is quoted in the mythpunk Wikipedia article. Link goes to a 404, though.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
Question: in the strictest definition, can a story without magic be considered "fantasy"? Examples that come to mind are Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic series and Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint. But Sarantine Mosaic does touch upon magic indirectly--the zubir, the light globes in the streets of Sarantium. Swordspoint is an alternate history, but it has no connection to our history. And plus, swordsmen! Male/male lovers! Fantasy of manners! (Is it a coincidence that these authors are also the two that have influenced me the most in my own writing?)

I'm typing this in the Alpha dorm common room (no internet, unfortunately). Cassie, one of the staffers sitting next to me, pointed out that Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw could also be considered borderline fantasy. Other than all the major characters being dragons. (Disclaimer: I haven't read this yet, though I want to very much. Don't quote me on secondhand information please.)
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
The way things are working out, I'm going to have two essays and all the research for a 5-10 page research paper due the Monday right after Confluence. Woe. I meant to start the narrative essay yesterday, but I can't think of an awkward situation that would make a good essay. Class is at the main campus library tonight, so I'll get preliminary research done; and hopefully I can work something out with the professor regarding the essays. Got almost all the reading done, at least.

Still need to pack for Alpha, likely tonight at 10:30 or some other ungodly hour because I can't get anything done during the day due to my (three-year-old) sister. Did all my digital "packing" aka file transfer. Still have three Alpha stories to read and informally critique, but that's not priority.

Also, via [personal profile] yhlee, helpful hint for the colorblind: BE LESS BLIND. An insightful post on racism.
keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)
So, this post by [personal profile] coffeeandink made me realize that Maledicte was written by Lane Robins, who also happens to be one of my Alpha critiquers. Which means I have an (informal) obligation to read her work. I will definitely be borrowing the book from you, [personal profile] sarahbrand. Even if I have to stay up reading it as if it were HP7.


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January 2011



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