Week Three in Review

Our second alumnus-turned-teacher this year, Week Three instructor Cadwell Turnbull, inspired the class with a project idea: the craft dictionary. The art of the writer’s craft is discovering how an effect is accomplished — whether it’s physically moving characters from setting A to setting B or using unexpected perspectives to surprising effect — and the craft dictionary is an opportunity for the students to apply what they admire to their own work. When Cadwell revealed that he had never met an effect he couldn’t eventually figure out, the class had to know his secrets — but unfortunately, he further revealed that his own craft dictionaries have been cursed, getting lost and forcing him to start afresh every time.

Photo of Cadwell Turnbull speaking at lectern in front of a Clarion West banner and a slide show showing his book, We are the Crisis.

Cadwell centered curiosity: in applying craft techniques from other mediums, like science writing and podcasts, to fiction; in growing stories through exploring multiple character perspectives; in diving down rabbit holes as deep as you dare. He also discussed the fine art of collaboration, starting with his experience writing “Break the Skin If You Have To” with 2016 cohort-mates Emma Osborne and Jess Essey, to his current work with the Many Worlds collective. Drafting collaborative work is fast, but editing it is slow, so Cadwell recommended getting formal about the editorial process early and fast. He encouraged the students to collaborate with one another, one more opportunity to connect with a cohort they’ll be learning, growing, and publishing beside for the rest of their careers. Considering how well the class has started to cohere both in and out of workshop, it’s clear they’re taking his words to heart.

In the Flash Fiction Groups, writers are busy with their second story submissions and critique. This week our Flash Fiction Master Mind, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu (CW ’22), focused on giving and receiving feedback. She also challenged participants in the week’s story prompt to try “writing the shortest story possible,” with reference to the six-word story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” attributed to Ernest Hemmingway.

In the Write-a-thon, we had a Re-Watch Party for Frauke Ulenbrach’s Class on Creating a Language for Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds, listened to a reading from Cadwell Turnbull at the Seattle Public Library, and heard from Iori Kusano for their class, Building Worlds. 

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