Here's another week of my Clarion-blog
Week 3: Ending on the inhale
Karen Joy Fowler, third-week instructor, was a Clarion veteran who brought a sense of history and humor to the proceedings. The ghosts of Clarion Past were unearthed and exhibited; wackiness ensued. She also had a lot of suggestions for novice writers, often couched as “Don’t….(whatever it is). Nothing good will come of it.” She warned of the dangers of everyone you know identifying themselves as characters in your book, and the possibility of their taking offense. However, if the character (presumably female) is described as “strangely beautiful” it apparently defuses all thoughts of revenge.
Unfortunately she had to leave before Sunday, so there was limited occasion for the merry chaos that attended other instructors’ sessions. Her insights into our work were amazing. Every time she critiqued one of my stories and suggested changes, she brought it closer to the story I wish I had written in the first place.
She had an apparently endless supply of anecdotes about the Great and Venerated, and crisp descriptions of clay feet. Her reading at Mysterious Galaxy was an Event; and she was joined by Emma Bull reading from her new novel, Territory, and Will Shetterley. The line for book signings was out the door…
Her week moved so fast it was like a time warp. It was over almost before it began. As we said a fond farewell to Karen, presenting her with a poster of Raphael’s School of Athens (which looked eerily like the school at UCSD sans archway) Cory Doctorow arrived.
Oh, and to actually end on an inhale: After the workshop, Karen graciously offered to critique one more story for each of us. She actually gave mine three passes, including an in-line edit. (If it ever gets published, I am sending her flowers!)