Our group meets on the 3rd Monday of each month and is focused primarily on critiquing each-other’s work. There are also a number of other events in Bellingham (and occasionally Seattle/Vancouver) that are of interest to our members, so we post them here.
April in Seatac, WA
NorwesCon is a genre convention for fans of SF, fantasy, horror, comics, anime, etc. with a useful track of programming specifically for writers. It’s too late to get into the Fairwood Workshop held at the con this year (they take submissions in November to give the pros time to read it all) but the programming is full of opportunities to ask questions of industry professionals and network with other writers in the Pacific NW area. ALL of my writer friends go every year, except one who is a hermit!
Odyssey Writing Workshop (they also have online classes!)
Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH
Odyssey is another intense, six week workshop like Clarion, only it’s taught by one editor with guest speakers popping in on certain days, instead of a new teacher every week. Odyssey is another respected workshop, and a great educational opportunity.
Uncle Scott’s Class & Bootcamp
Orson Scott Card’s Writing Class is open to all writers; Literary Boot Camp is only available for college-age or older writers who are serious about writing as a career. I’m not familiar with the curriculum, but I’m familiar with two graduates, and they speak highly of the experience!
CSSF SF Writing Workshop (“the Gunn workshop”)
I don’t know a lot about this workshop, but it has a good reputation, and it’s the only workshop I know of that’s specifically aimed at people who haven’t published yet or have JUST started publishing. (Many of them welcome those people, but the curriculum here is intended for them!)
Alpha Teen Writers Workshop
University of Pittsburgh
Only ages 14 – 19 are allowed to attend this workshop! Professionals in the SF&F field teach young adults about writing and publishing. This is not a day camp where your parents ditch you for ten days while they hang out in Hawaii–this is a real workshop just like Clarion, Viable Paradise, Odyssey, etc. Alpha graduates prove every year that you don’t have to be an adult to write good fiction, or to make sales. Have your application in by March 1, 2012!
Cascade Writers Retreat
Writing retreat in Vancouver, WA aimed at people who are just breaking into the industry of genre fiction. Get some quality time with other writers, both professionals and novices, while you eat delicious food and attend a writing workshop run by industry giants. This year Beth Meachum from Tor Books will be there, as well as several accomplished authors. More expensive than Rainforest, but in the past it’s had an equally beautiful setting (I haven’t been to this new one yet!), you’ll have plenty of time to write, there’s great company, and an educational opportunity, so it’s worth the cash.
WorldCon (World Science Fiction Convention)
This is a very large convention, and every author you love will probably be there! Networking opportunities are limited to your own ability to talk to people (not like Rainforest or Cascade, where it’s small enough that people will feel like they ought to try and include you even if you’re very shy. Here, you’re on your own). The panels are worthwhile, but if you came to meet people, most real networking is done at the parties or in the bar, and it’s often who you know that dictates who you get to speak with. My advice: take a friend. 🙂
Foolscap is a small weekend conference where readers, writers, visual artists, and other people who love science fiction and fantasy meet, learn, talk to each other, and have a great time together. Like Potlatch, this is an excellent introduction to cons because it’s not overwhelming and it’s mostly PG.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA
This is an intense workshop, but it’s only a week long. The setting is gorgeous, the instructors are amazing, and you’ll bond to a network of graduates that gives you a foot in the door at every major genre convention in North America (and beyond!). The deadline for applications is June 15, 2012. I’m biased because I attended this workshop and I’m now staff, so for more information Google it 😉
Surrey International Writers Conference
Surrey, British Columbia, CA
This is not just genre–this is ALL writing–and it’s quite expensive in comparison, but there’s good reason. Surrey offers you the chance to pitch your work directly to agents and editors–you don’t have to hunt them down like you do at other conventions. You have ten minute sessions in which to do this. There are also workshops every day. This is a conference with a GREAT reputation, with valid information for you whether you’re a beginner or a pro, but I personally think if you’re going to spend six hundred bucks, you shouldn’t attend until you have a novel in your hand that you’re trying to sell.
World Fantasy Convention
This is a professionals-only convention. They don’t check your credentials before allowing you to purchase a membership, but it’s a much more insular crowd because most people are here to actually do business. If you have questions about how the industry works, how to write, or basically how to anything, I’d get them answered BEFORE coming to WFC. It’s also worth noting that while many people do wear casual clothing, and everyone here is into SF&F, this is NOT a costume convention. It also caps at 850 members, so if you’re planning to go, register early in the year!
Simultaneously (and MUCH more useful for novices!)…
This is a genre convention like NorwesCon, but smaller, and there are two writing workshops available, both of which are quite useful (and you can be in both). For more information, check out these pages:
Writing workshop: http://www.orycon.org/orycon33/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3:writers-workshop&catid=1:writing-events&Itemid=17
Open read & critique: http://www.orycon.org/orycon33/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2:open-writing-critigue&catid=1:writing-events&Itemid=17
In addition to all these, there’s a whole calendar of classes at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and if you can afford to go, it’s another place I highly recommend. The two workshops I’ve attended there both opened my brain and let in some fresh thoughts, like opening windows in a musty old attic and letting a breeze in. 🙂 Their teachers are fantastic, the workshops are often only one or two days, and it’s close by. http://hugohouse.org/classes/hugo-classes
The PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) holds a yearly conference as well (a huge, all-commercial-and-literary-fiction one like Surrey). They also hold several workshops and workshop series’ during the year.