Clarion West and Clarion San Diego are two of the most prestigious writing workshops in the speculative field. Every year they each gather eighteen people together for six weeks during the summer. Every week you must hand in a story to be critiqued; each week you critique everyone else’s stories. Every week an author comes to teach, to give their own thoughts on the stories, and dispense pearls of wisdom on writing and just about anything else you like. You live in dorms and are catered for by a fantastic in-house cook. The distractions of the real world are removed so that for six weeks you can focus on nothing but writing.

In 2012 I was lucky enough to attend Clarion West, and the experience was phenomenal. My writing improved immeasurably. I met seventeen other writers, all of them talented, and we still exchange over a hundred emails a week and critique each other’s work. I conceived of this website while I was there (though I now accept that a post every weekday was a tad ambitious).

Clarion West 2013 is starting in a few days. Sadly I can’t go back, but during the workshop’s six weeks they run a sponsored Write-a-thon as a fundraiser for the workshop.

I am one of those sponsored writers. In the six weeks of Clarion West you must write six short stories; during these next six weeks I, rather foolishly, will try to do the same thing again. The details are all at the Clarion West website here. If you sponsor me, you’ll receive copies of the six stories I write during the write-a-thon.

Just because I’m off doing the write-a-thon doesn’t mean I’ll neglect Ten to Infinity. In fact, over these next six weeks I will be posting recommendations of stories from all six of my Clarion West teachers. They were helpful to me in very different ways, to the point where sometimes they even contradicted each other’s advice. It’s this diversity of opinion that is one of the great strengths of the Clarion workshops. And whenever discrepancies came up, Rudyard Kipling was often quoted:

‘There are nine and sixty ways

Of constructing tribal lays,

And every single one of them is right!’

Week 1: Mary Rosenblum – Water Bringer

Week 2: Stephen Graham Jones – Notes from the Apocalypse

Week 3: George R.R. Martin – Portraits of his Children

Week 4: Connie Willis – The Soul Selects Her Own Society

Week 5: Kelly Link & Gavin Grant

Week 6: Chuck Palahniuk

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