A Year on Saturn

...is approximately 29.7 Earth years.

"A Year on Saturn" is the website of Shannon Fay,
freelance and fiction writer.

Clarin West Week Six

Posted on: June 4th, 2015 by Shannon Fay No Comments

Recently, I thought to myself ‘Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if I didn’t finish recapping my 2014 Clarion West experience before the 2015 class begun? Wouldn’t that just be hilarious?’ And then I decided that I just wasn’t going to let that happen. So, with less than three weeks to spare, here’s week six of Clarion West 2014.

Each week our instructors brought their own teaching methods to the table. I remember Kij Johnson making good use of the flipchart, drawing graphs to illustrate her points. Hiromi Gotoh gave us lots of helpful tip sheet. John Crowley brought a more formal air to our last week. The man is in fact a professor at Yale, so it’s not too much of a surprise that our critique sessions felt a little less like a workshop and a little more like a classroom. He gave us homework: we read Hemingway’s ‘Hills like White Elephants’ and discussed it in class. I think at that point we were all pretty tired and maybe not as raucous as we had been in previous weeks.

One thing in my favour was that I didn’t have to write a story in that final week. Because my story due date was on Monday, I had already handed in my story for week six. During my time at Clarion I tried to write a bunch of different stuff: sci-fi noir, space opera, contemporary fantasy. I figured I was in such a unique situation, why not write a bunch of different things and see what sticks? For the last week I wrote a weird little suburban horror story. It had only slight fantastical elements, but my classmates really liked it (other people who have read it post CW also like it, which is also nice). I also really like it, but even now almost a year later I still struggle with what to do with it. Out of my six CW pieces (seven if you count the first week flash exercises), there’s only one story that I have re-worked enough to the point where I feel confident sending it out (and it has received nothing but a scattershot of rejections). I think all my stories have at the very least good seeds within them. It’s not the stories I doubt but myself, my ability to bring out the best from within them.

But anyway, enough of that. Since my last blog post I have in fact moved to the UK, so I don’t have my notes and diary from CW to consult, and I don’t really remember all the details about what went on in that last week. I’m sure we partied hard/played hard. In fact, we did that pretty much the whole six weeks.

Don’t believe me? Here is a partial list of all the games that we played at Clarion West:

Settlers of Catan: Star Trek edition, Snake Oil, Catch Phrase, Fiasco, Cards Against Humanity, The Thing (like ‘Werewolf’ but with aliens), telephone pictionary, Gloom, Resistance, Fiasco, Dix It. Also, copious amounts of beer pong and flip cup (we were in frat country, and when in Rome…). See? I told you we partied hard.

Strange how just a list of games can make you miss people.

So yeah, that was week six. Sorry for the short write-up but thinking back about the end of the workshop is making me rather maudlin. I plan to do one more write up, just to gather up any loose thoughts I have about Clarion West. I do plan to have it up before Clarion West 2015 starts, which will make it one of my shortest times between posts if I can pull it off.


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