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Choosing First Clarion Story

I hope to post periodic updates on my Clarion experience here, although not every day. What I’d most like to do is share the best writing advice that I hear from the instructors, and the insights that arise from the crit process.

I’ll parallel-post on my other LJ, and if there’s anything I consider to be sensitive, I’ll probably friends-lock it there (all posts on this LJ are public). If you’d like to read those sensitive posts (if any) and you’re not already on my flist at the other LJ, send me an e-mail and we’ll talk.

I’ll be arriving at La Jolla in nine days. , who’s the Week One instructor, asked us to decide whether to use one of our submission stories for the Week One crit, or rather write a new one. This presented me with an opportunity. Of the two stories I submitted, one has had a lot of praise from editors, and there’s one editor (you know who you are) who’s been sitting on it for more than seven months, who says he might, might, just might publish it.

But the other story, which was singled out for praise by one of the Clarion judges (never mind how I know that), has been form-rejected from a handful of markets, and didn’t even merit an Honorable Mention at WotF. That intrigues me — Here’s a story I know has merit, and which I also know has marked problems, but I don’t know what they are. I can’t imagine a better opportunity for a group-crit.

So I’m going into the Week One Crit genuinely hoping that my classmates will find flaws with my story — and hoping especially that they’ll all find the same flaws. Because then my job will be easy. 🙂

For some reason I’m fixating on the social aspect of Clarion, and worrying that I’ll make an offensive nuisance of myself. Everyone says that the biggest benefit from these workshops is the strong community of loyal writer-friends you have when it’s done, and I have repeated, unhappy fantasies of being so toxic that no one wants to know me when it’s over. That’s a very old fear of mine, and it’s galling that it surfaces now, when I’ve got this once-in-a-lifetime, thrilling experience to anticipate. Grr.

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