From March 30 through April 24, Clarion West is offering a series of free online classes and writing sprints with an incredible line-up of instructors.

Our first round of registrations began on Friday, March 27 at 12pm PST and immediately filled.

Our site was so overloaded that many people were unable to even find a link. We are so pleased that people are interested in these classes and we plan to provide more. We will be adding classes the first week of April and will send out more information as soon as we can. Thank you for your interest and support!

Classes are open for everyone 18 and over.

K. Tempest Bradford

Writing Sprint: Writing Games

90 minutes, 3 sessions Wednesday 4-5:30pm PST 4/8, 4/15, 4/22. Sessions stand alone; students do not need to sign up for all sessions.

Click on each session for registration:

April 8 Writing Sprint

April 15 Writing Sprint

April 22 Writing Sprint

Text-based solo writing games are a fun way to loosen up creative muscles and get words on the page in a no-stress environment. They’re great for generating story ideas or just playing around with craft and style. In each session Tempest will introduce participants to a writing game, we’ll take 20 – 40 minutes to play, then share the results (if you want to). In partnership with Writing the Other.

Sessions stand alone; students do not need to sign up for all sessions.

Marie Brennan

Building New Worlds: Lifeways

60 minutes Monday 6-7pm PST 3/30

When designing the world of a story, authors often focus on “big picture” elements like government and magic system. But it’s the smaller things that are most pervasive in the text, and truly bring a world to life for the reader: the food, clothing, and daily habits of the characters.

Building New Worlds: Language

60 minutes Wednesday 6-7pm PST 4/1

The art of conlanging (constructing languages) is a very deep rabbit hole to fall down — but it’s possible to achieve realistic-looking results without knowing a retroflex lateral fricative from the ergative-absolutive. Learn some simple tricks that can make invented names and terms sing!

Building New Worlds: Religion

60 minutes Thursday 6-7pm PST 4/2

Crafting a believable religion requires more than just a list of gods and their spheres of influence. Come explore the subtler facets that make up a plausible faith, and how those can enrich the world of your story.

Building New Worlds: Folk Magic

60 minutes Friday 6-7pm PST 4/3

Fantasy is renowned for its variety of magical systems. This workshop is for the *other* kind of magic: not the wizard throwing the fireball, but the amulet that protects a traveler, the calendar of auspicious and inauspicious dates, the midwife reciting a charm for an easy birth. Superstition and folk practice are widespread in the real world; in a fictional world, why shouldn’t it be the same?

Tobias Buckell

Subverting Cliches for Fun and Profit

120 minutes Monday 11a-1pm PST 4/20

Find originality and creativity through examining the uninspired and easy.

Titling your Work

120 minutes Wednesday 11a-1pm PST 4/22

Common and uncommon strategies for titles, and why they’re the most important part of the work.

Story Openings

120 minutes Friday 11a-1pm PST 4/24

What makes a dynamic opening that keeps a reader going, and how do you make it happen in your own work?

Curtis Chen

Query Letters that Work

90 minutes Thursday, April 2 at 4:30pm PST

You’ve written a novel. Great! Now let’s talk about how to sell it. Query letters are still the best way to get an agent, and the skills you use to write that query will also help with many other aspects of book marketing and promotion, no matter how you publish.

Andy Duncan

Performance for Writers

90 minutes, four meetings Tuesdays 12-1:30pm PST 3/31, 4/7, 4/14 & 4/21

All writers, whatever their genres, have opportunities to read and perform their work before audiences big and small, in person and digital, from neighborhood open mics and potlucks to international conferences and viral videos, but this aspect of the craft often is overlooked in writing workshops. This fun, informal class will provide practical tips and low-stress experiences to help all writers improve their performance game.

Eileen Gunn

Going Through an Impasse: Writing While Blocked

90 minutes, four meetings MTWTh 7-8:30pm PST 3/30, 3/31, 4/1, 4/2

Many writers experience creative blocks at some point in their careers. Is blocking a defect, a benefit, or simply the normal irregularity that results from hand craftsmanship? This hands-on workshop will help participants identify behavior and triggers that lead to blocking, and

will provide exercises and interventions that can help resolve short-term and long-term creative blocks. This is not psychotherapy: it’s tricks of the trade.

James Patrick Kelly

Rewriting: a Guide for the Perplexed

120 minutes Thursday 5-7pm PST 4/9

You’re looking at a scene that doesn’t work, a plot with the narrative momentum of a glacier and maybe a limp ending.  Diagnosing story problems is easy; prescribing the right treatment is hard. So how do you cure a sick manuscript? In this workshop we will look at specific tricks you can use to retool your narratives and questions you will have to answer before you can proceed.  We’ll consider the difference between revising on the fly during composition and tweaking a finished draft. Last, and probably most to the point, we will try to figure out when you should stop revising.

Fonda Lee

And Now, for a Change of Pace

60 minutes Wednesday 4:30-5:30pm PST 4/1

Join award-winning author Fonda Lee in a discussion about narrative pacing. How do you determine what the right pace is for your story? (Faster isn’t always better!) When do you need to speed up or slow down? How do you create a satisfying sense of rhythm and variety across your scenes and chapters? 

Henry Lien

Unique Concepts

90 minutes, five meetings MTWThF 4-5:30pm PST 4/6, 4/7, 4/8, 4/9 & 4/10

Use exercises to generate, analyze, and develop unique speculative fiction concepts for short or long form works.

Diversity Plus

90 minutes, five meetings MTWThF 4-5:30pm PST 4/13, 4/14, 4/15, 4/16, 4/17

Explore diverse story forms, aesthetics, themes, and values that go beyond simply including diverse characters and authors.

Seanan McGuire

TBD

Ian Muneshwar & Erin Roberts 

Decolonizing Fiction

More information forthcoming

Brooks Peck

Writing Sprint 

More information forthcoming

Laurie Penny

Writing Sprint: Writing with Laurie

105 minutes Tuesdays 9-10:45am PST 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21

In each session you will work on a short piece from a writing prompt that will be sent in advance. Laurie will take everyone through the exercise, check in, then lead two half-hour writing sprints – heads down, no phones, and on-paper writing encouraged if you’re able – with a break in between for tea and a stretch! At the end you’ll have the opportunity to share your work (via email) if you’d like.

Nisi Shawl

Turning the World: Alternative Histories

75 minutes, four meetings Thursdays 9:30-10:45am 4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23

After discussing methods used to build and depict alternate histories, we’ll practice deploying them for selected “inflection points,” or moments when the world’s stories could have taken very different paths. In partnership with Writing the Other.

James Sutter

The Business of Freelance Writing and Editing

120 minutes Monday 5-7pm 4/13

You like the idea of writing or editing for hire, but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’ve started freelancing, but aren’t sure how to level up. From taxes and networking to work habits and career strategy, this class will give you everything the new freelancer needs to know. How do you get gigs, and are you chasing the right ones? What should you charge for your work? And how the heck do write-offs work, anyway? Whether you’re an author, editor, game designer, or anyone else doing creative work, it pays to understand the business side of the industry!

Catherynne Valente

Plotting for Clowns: How to Create a Plot Out of Nothing When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing and Seem As If You Were In Control the Whole Time

60 minutes, two meetingsMT4-5pm PST4/20, 4/21

Do you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to plot? Good news! Neither did I when I wrote any one of my forty books. Plot is harder than most people think, it doesn’t always come naturally, and together we’ll look at ways to fake it till you make it when it comes to putting together an interesting series of events that have neither been done a thousand times before nor are so far afield that they even alienate the security guard at the book printing facility. It’s not enough to create complex characters and a vivid world! Let’s do terrible things to them. Together.