Steering the Craft
September 8

September 8, 2019, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
University District, Seattle

“There’s no sea chart for a boat in a hurricane. But there are still some basic ways to make her seaworthy and keep her from capsizing, going to pieces, or hitting an iceberg.” Ursula K. Le Guin

Using ​Steering the Craft​, Ursula’s book on writing, as a guiding text for the day, this workshop will focus on discussion and practice in the fundamental skills of storytelling — syntax, rhythm, voice, point of view, and the “expository lump.” As we work our way through five of the exercises Ursula created for her book, we’ll discuss the particular element of craft that each exercise is designed to practice, and read examples of it from notable writers (asking, as she suggests, “what is the writer doing, how is she doing it, why is she doing it, do I like it?”). And by focusing all of the exercises on a particular character or set of characters, you may come away with five (or more) related scenes and thus, at the end of the day, the rough beginnings of a coherent story.

Molly Gloss is the author of several novels including ​The Jump-Off Creek, The Dazzle of Day, Wild Life, The Hearts of Horses ​and​ Falling From Horses, ​as well as the story collection Unforeseen. ​She writes both realistic fiction and science fiction, and her work has received, among other honors, a PEN West Fiction Prize, an Oregon Book Award, two Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Her story “Lambing Season” appeared in ​The Best of the Best: Twenty Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

This workshop is available to anyone aged 18 or older for a $ fee.

Unless otherwise stated, all times listed are US Pacific Time.

We offer a limited number of scholarships for each class to Black and Indigenous writers and writers from other marginalized backgrounds on a first come, first served basis. Please email us at with a one-paragraph statement about your scholarship interest and/or need. Please include the name of the class you would like to apply the scholarship to.

By participating in any Clarion West activity, you are agreeing to our Code of Conduct, the Clarion West Harassment Policy, and our Zoom Guidelines.

Clarion West will refund all class fees if the request is made 30 days prior to the class date. Refund requests made within 30 days of the class will be honored if we can fill the seat. Any exceptions are subject to approval by our workshop staff.