Week Five Instructor: Nalo Hopkinson

Week Five Instructor’s Superpower: Dance moves

Photo on 7-26-15 at 4.12 PMUnexpected Week Five Discoveries: I AM A WRITER LOOK AT ME I WRITE THAT’S HOW I DO I CAN WRITE YOU ANYTHING WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO WRITE

Week Five Story Wordcount, Current: 4100 words out of 5500ish, currently contains NO CONFLICT GO ME

Week Five Story Title: shut up, don’t look at me

Week Five Bummer: This was by far the fastest-moving, shortest of the weeks. Unbelievably fast. Over-before-it-began fast. I am already in mourning and trying hard, hard, hard not to be.

Week Five Highlight: I wrote a unicorn orgy and then after critique (which was heavy on the “Tegan, you wrote a unicorn orgy”) I spent an hour watching the naked mole rats at the Pacific Science Center. Life is fucking magical sometimes.

 

Week Four Instructor: Susan Palwick

Week Four Instructor’s Superpower: Empathy. We got into some deep shit about trauma and Big Feelings and how it’s our responsibility as speculative fiction writers to offer people hope, and not just trendy ironic bleakness. I can be ironic and bleak with the best of them but that’s not my writing, not 100% of the time.

Unexpected Week Four Discoveries: My experiment for last week was to see if I could take an emotional kernel, build a metaphor over it, and work backwards from that. Usually I do the opposite, with the metaphor and plot there first, and I don’t figure out what I’m really trying to talk about until, like, draft three. There’s not enough time for that in a week. Last week’s story (which ended up being called Epitome, if you’re wondering) was the most successful I’ve written here, in terms of my classmates’ critiques. Susan seemed to really like it as well.

Week Four Story Wordcount, Current: 3300 out of probably 6k

Week Four Story Title: The Kingdom Eternal

Week Four Bummer: We are now counting down towards the end. Time feels finite. It makes me sick to my stomach that this isn’t forever.

Week Four Highlight: Skyping with Neil Gaiman? Bumping in to Kij Johnson at Greg Bear’s house? Drunk texting Andy Duncan? This whole week has been fucking surreal.

 

Week Three Instructor: Tobias Buckell

Week Three Instructor’s Superpower: Plot & structure analysis, holy wowzers. The man is a story machine. Also, he’s very good at watching drunk people be drunk.

Unexpected Week Three Discoveries: I can still write a story in a week even if my brain is all, “don’t write a story this week.”

Week Three Story Wordcount, Current: 3400 out of a likely 5500, but I am not worried. Yet.

Week Three Story Title: I HAVEN’T GOTTEN THIS FAR

Week Three Bummer: Connie Willis, who was supposed to be our week four instructor, fell and is in the hospital. We have a replacement teacher who is, I am certain, totally great, but is still not Connie Willis.

Week Three Highlight: The spontaneous Friday post-party party that lasted until way past when everyone was too drunk. Definitely saw the inside of everyone’s souls this week.

Runner-up to that is getting the next 1/3 of my crow tattoo finished. I like how this is bookending the workshop; I’m scheduled for my last appointment on the day I move out of the CW house.

Week Two Instructor: Eileen Gunn

Week Two Instructor’s Most Surprising Non-ironic Quote: “Oh, but that was back when I was in that biker gang.”

Unexpected Week Two Discoveries: I can actually survive quite happily on four hours of sleep and very little food if these are tempered by extremely high-quality company and lots and lots of beer

Week Two Story Wordcount, Current: 6,200, drafted but unedited

Week Two Story Title: Feather by Feather (working title)

Week Two Bummer: We have all made a lot of plans to do things but because of the heat nobody’s been motivated to leave the house much

Week Two Highlight: Actually sleeping through the night last night, thanks to earplugs and juuuust a little bit of dog xanax