Breath Returns, and I Get Back to Work

Well, here’s to the end of Clarion hopes and dreams for 2012. I got the Clarion-San Diego rejection letter last night and the Clarion West rejection letter this morning. Ah, the joys of email — faster rejections, and at all hours!

This isn’t the end of the world, of course. Plenty of others were denied this year, and in years past, as well. Most people, I think, have to apply more than once to get in. While I was really, really hoping to be accepted, I have to think that maybe next year I’ll do better, that I’ll be more ready.

So, I now have plenty of time to get new stories written, ready and polished for December, when applications begin for the 2013 workshops. I’m already hard at work on this, having finished one story this month while waiting for my Clarion emails. Another is almost done, just needing a darned ending (which is proving elusive right now, but I’ll get it!). Which means, of course, that this month I’ll have made my ‘two finished stories a month’ goal for another month. Yay!

I’m also challenging the other rejected applicants of C-SD and CW 2012 to improve their writing over the coming months and apply again with me for 2013. We had a bit of fun together on the forums; think how much fun we’d have learning together. I really hope to see many of your forum names again next year.

Now that I know I’m not going to Clarion or CW, I’ve signed up for the World Fantasy Convention 2012 in Toronto. It’s being held November 1-4. I went two years ago, when it was in Columbus. It was my first convention and my jaw dropped. It was just so overwhelming, so wonderfully amazing! I didn’t know mere hallways could hold so much talent at one time. Of course, I was too overwhelmed to meet many people. This time, I’m hoping to meet a few folks, maybe put some faces to names I’ve seen online, in forums, etc. (But I know I’ll still be a wallflower. It’s who I am, I guess.) If you’re there, look for the skinny, gawky-looking woman standing in the corner; that’ll be me. 😮  Do me a favor–come say hello!

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About M.E. Garber

I'm an itinerant Ohio-born speculative fiction writer now living in north central Florida.
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5 Responses to Breath Returns, and I Get Back to Work

  1. Puss in Boots says:

    I think I need to (and I will) make a blog post about this, because this is the second time I’ve commented about the same topic. (Some of it is pasted from the other comment, which I left in Folly Blaine’s blog, but most is new.)

    I don’t want anyone who gets accepted to take this the wrong way so if anyone reading this got in to the Clarions this year, go…look at something else, haha! I’m not judging anyone else for not having my exact experience. But this is how I feel:

    I didn’t apply to any major workshops for five years after I started writing seriously, because they take credit for your successes. Often it’s inadvertently, via the collective attitude of the industry, and sometimes it’s directly, like in a public list of sales by alumni.

    My first pro sale was a story I wrote in 2008. I didn’t sell it until after I attended Viable Paradise, but I wrote that story beforehand, and I didn’t edit it beyond grammar stuff. So even though my subsequent sales were due in no small part to the instruction I received at VP–especially in self-editing–it felt really good to have that tiny reassurance that I could do this all on my own. It proved to me that what I received from the workshop was an acceleration of skill development rather than some kind of talent injection. When people claim the workshop caused my sales, I have this private knowledge that no, it didn’t, not ALL of them.

    I personally wouldn’t trade that experience away.

    I’m not saying it’s the only way to be happy, or that it even really matters that much, but what I am saying is, you traded one opportunity for another. The education you were hoping for is pushed back a year, but now you may get the chance to own that tiny piece of treasure: the knowledge that you cut through some dangerous jungle to win a marathon while other people were running on nice comfy Astroturf. You’re already selling, so you clearly have a machete. Um, this metaphor is just as stupid as the one I used for Folly. Hahaha! Sorry.

    I better shut up and go write that blog post.

    Like

    • M.E. Garber says:

      Hi Co…PIB! (Don’t want to reveal your true name to the masses. All fantasy writers seem to know…there’s power in knowing a name)

      Thanks for your comment, and the details of your experience with publishing and workshops (and congrats on the pro sale! you’re ahead of me there, but I’m working on that ;). I’m also happy that you’re still with me here, post-C-SD and CW rejections. I hope I didn’t come off sounding like I thought Clarion/CW would be the key to publication, but if I did, let me reassure you. I was (still am next year) looking for the ‘acceleration of skill development.’ Here’s an excerpt from my bio essay that went to CW this year:

      “My second objective goes hand-in-glove with the first: I want to speed up my learning curve. I have learned so much already, but there is so much more to learn. I think that the guidance at Clarion West will allow me to reach my writing goals much more swiftly than I could ever hope to do on my own.”

      My blog doesn’t mention my age (it’s 47), but this is a big reason I feel the need of ‘intervention’ in my learning curve. I want to start writing better stories sooner, rather than later since ‘later’ in my case may find me in a retirement home! I want some degree of success during my life, not posthumously (that’s kinda no fun for the writer).

      That said, I’m pursuing, as you suggested, my own ‘workshop’ education this summer: I’ve purchased a couple genre-specific writing books (Paragons and Those Who Can) and plan to study their techniques, see what I’m doing wrong (and right!), and try my darnedest to get better, faster–on my own! Maybe it won’t be as fast as 6 weeks, but I’ll definitely improve my writing. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about.

      Now I have to go find your post on Folly Blaine’s blog, and see what’s on yours, too!

      Like

      • Puss in Boots says:

        Don’t worry, you didn’t come off as thinking it was magic. In my experience, the people who actually apply for the workshop know it’s going to be a butt-load of work, and that there’s even more work to be done post-workshop. It’s the other people, the writers who don’t even consider going, who seem to think that all that hard work will instantly pay off 😉 I guess it’s a fantasy that they have the luxury of buying into, since they won’t have to test it, you know?

        I like your blog. I don’t say compliments just to say them–I meant it when I told you that your blog is well-written. For me to find interest in a complete stranger’s life if they’re not posting LOLcats is you know, kind of rare 😉 I go through periods of not reading as much as I have been lately, but it’ll stay bookmarked. I admit I have an ulterior motive beyond my own application for chatting with the students: I live close enough to go to the farewell parties they give for the instructors each week, so I thought it would be fun to meet some of you before you got there. So I’ll just plan on seeing you there next year. ^__^

        I don’t know if you’ve ever done the Write-a-Thon, but I did it last year and I will continue to do it probably every year from now on, unless I’m you know, actually doing a workshop during that time, knock on wood. (Taos Toolbox overlaps, and Kij Johnson’s novel workshop, etc.) If you decide to do it, I’ll keep up with your project, whatever it is! I started a novel last year, which I still need to finish. Eek!

        I was even worried leaving that comment because I don’t want anyone to feel like I think The Way I Did Things Is Best For Everyone or something. But I do value how it worked out for me, so in light of bad news, I figured it was worth sharing the silver lining.

        Like

  2. Are you applying to the Clarions for 2013?

    Like

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