Summer 2020 Writing and Teaching

Sonora Desert hills with cactuses Tucson Arizona

As the Spring 2020 Writers Studio workshops wrap up here in Tucson, we’re preparing for the Summer 2020 session, which will also be held remotely due to the pandemic, especially now that cases are increasing rapidly in Arizona. Students have adapted to the remote live video chats and actually seem to like them, based on the feedback I have received so far. This remote capability has also allowed students who wouldn’t otherwise be here in Tucson for whatever reason to participate from elsewhere in the country.

More details can be found on my Workshops page and on the Writers Studio website (where you can find listings for many other classes), but in summary, I’m teaching two workshops this summer:

  • Crafting Fantastic & Imaginative Worlds [FULL CLASS], beginning Saturday, July 11 at 08:00 am MST /10:00 am EDT for six weeks via weekly online text chat with written critiques for writers of speculative fiction and poetry, including science fiction, fantasy, and horror
  • Writers Studio Tucson Workshop, beginning Saturday, July 11 at 10:00 am MST/12:00 pm EDT for eight weeks via weekly remote live video chat with live critiques for writers of fiction, poetry, memoir, and creative nonfiction

I normally have room for up to 12 students per workshop, but the “Crafting Fantastic & Imaginative Worlds” workshop filled up so quickly that I decided to increase the class size to 14 students; it’s now full. There’s still room in my Tucson Workshop.

As usual, I’ll attend the Tucson Master Workshop taught by Reneé Bibby. The feedback I receive from Reneé and my classmates about my writing is invaluable, so I attend the Master Workshop almost every session now.

NYC Midnight - The 12th Annual Flash Fiction Challenge promotional banner - illustration of writers and readers and other objects in space with other constellations
Image Credit: NYC MidnightThe 12th Annual Flash Fiction Challenge promotional banner

I’m also participating in NYC Midnight’s annual Flash Fiction Challenge. This competition prompts writers with a genre, location, and object assignment, and then the writers have 48 hours to write and submit a flash fiction story under 1,000 words. All registered competitors will have the opportunity to participate in two challenges before eliminations begin. There are a total of four challenges scheduled between July 10th and December 6th. Cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 competitors at the end of the competition.

In July, I’ll start reading several collections, chapbooks, and anthologies of speculative poetry so that I can participate in voting for the annual Dwarf Stars Award and Elgin Award from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA). 11 chapbooks and 36 books have been nominated for the Elgin Award so far, which is daunting, but I vow that this year I will finally participate in voting. My plan is to DNF any book that isn’t really working for me so I can hurry on to the next one.

I don’t have any new acceptances to report at the moment, but I have several pieces submitted to various potential markets. I will continue working on and submitting poetry and short stories throughout the summer.

Global, national, and local events are scary, Black lives matter, and we’re in the middle of a long-overdue reckoning, and, I hope, sweeping changes for the better. Writing is the way I grapple best with the world, so I keep writing. I hope everyone stays healthy and safe, takes time to confront their own prejudices (and White people their racism), participates in the work that needs to be done now, and follows their own passions with new dedication and urgency. Not everyone has the same opportunities and privilege to do so, though, so if you can help, please listen to, support, and boost someone who needs it.

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