Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Wednesday, 12 June 2002

I've got about 1300 words in the virus story. It's coming along fine. I'm at the point now where I was in the earlier version, where the two characters go separate directions. This is where I got stuck before, because I had the wrong POV character. Now I can follow the more interesting character.

I'm suffering from Clarion envy. It isn't that I want to go to Clarion again, exactly. Intellectually, I know I wouldn't get nearly as much out of it as I did the first time. But the stories of the various Clarion journalers bring back memories of just how much fun it was.

There are a lot of things you can teach someone about writing, but there's a lot more that you have to learn on your own by just writing a lot and trying different things. For someone who hasn't had a lot of instruction in writing fiction, going to Clarion the first time teaches you a huge amount of stuff about how others perceive your work, about how to analyze work critically, and about how to improve it.

I'm sure there's still a lot I could learn from instruction, but now the ratio is different. A year ago I could benefit from almost any good instruction on writing fiction. Now I don't think that's so true. A much higher fraction of the things I haven't learned yet are things I'm just going to have to learn from experience.

But Clarion was so much fun! It was so cool to get together with a bunch of neat people and work together with a shared purpose.

Sigh. I couldn't justify going to Clarion again as a student, fun as it would be. There are some invitation-only workshops for pro-writers, which I'm sure would be a lot of fun, and a way to learn a lot in a hurry, but it wouldn't be Clarion.

There's really only one hope for me. I need to become such a well-known, well-respected, well-liked sf writer that they invite me back to be an instructor.


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