Day of Reckoning
Day of Reckoning will be a one-day class that runs from 9-12 AM and 1-5 PM CST, quarterly. The current dates for 2017 are May 13th, August 12th, OR November 18th. These are all on Saturdays. There will be seven instructors who will run sessions that last for 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute break in-between (see below for more information). All of this will be on Skype. So you need a good connection, and the day clear! I will be there to help run the sessions. Above and beyond this, you will submit ONE short story to each teacher (as well as myself)—up to eight total. So, you could send eight stories to eight teachers, or the same story to all eight instructors. Or any other combination. (Maximum story length is between 4,000-5,000 words.) Each of us will give you basic feedback—ratings on a number of categories, as well as a longer explanation about one aspect that was done well, and one that needs work, and the overall impression. You know how you never get any meaningful feedback when your story is rejected? Not sure if your stories are bad, okay, good or something special? Consider this feedback to be a professional level of reading, comprehension, and advice. Many of these authors have also worked as editors. And they have all placed stories in elite publications, won awards, and been in the Best of the Year anthologies. There will not be any editing—just feedback. We will not discuss your stories in the sessions, unless they come up organically. Class sizes are small—only eight students (maximum) per class. To sign up or get more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is This Class For?
• Any writer who has 1-8 stories that need feedback (ideally done, not rough drafts)
• Advanced authors looking to expand their skill set
• Brave new authors looking to hone their craft
• Authors that write across genre—speculative and lit; realism and the supernatural
• Authors who don’t have time for a longer class
• Authors looking for professional feedback
Angela Slatter (not August), Mercedes M. Yardley, Kristi DeMeester, Damien Angelica Walters, Nik Korpon, Lucy A. Snyder, Chesya Burke, and Jacklyn Dre Marceau (August only). Richard Thomas will only be providing feedback, but not lecturing. Other authors and instructors will fill in as needed (such as Brian Evenson) when their schedule permits. Teachers will change, and we may offer this class more often as well.
$350 per student, total. There are no additional discounts for past students or paying in full, since we have set rates for the instructors, with the additional amount going to support Gamut. All fees are payable via Paypal. It’s on a first come, first serve basis. To sign up or get more information, send an email to email@example.com.
Session Titles and Descriptions
Make It Emotional, Make It Personal, Make It Matter
Writers are often told to write what they know, but what if you want to write about something you don't know? What if you want to write about politics, race, gender or class issues? Where do you start? When do you accept that you are in over your head? This section will examine how to tackle the difficult topics and when to accept that you simply are not The One.
Creating Immediate Conflict: Avoiding Death by Exposition
Frequently, beginning writers bog their stories down with exposition and back story, delaying the actual start of the conflict until pages in. Learn how to avoid this pitfall and how to work any necessary back story into your story without letting your first page serve as an info dump.
Writing Sex: How to Craft Literary Sex Scenes (August Only)
Jacklyn Dre Marceau
This section will focus on writing erotic scenes. Too often writers find difficulty crafting work that involves physical intimacy, and some writers avoid the sex scene altogether. This course will help you fine tune the usage of sensory language to create work that is realistic, meaningful, and tasteful, while still inspiring arousal in your reader
Brave New Worlds
In this lecture, we'll talk about borrowing across genres and drawing on non-intuitive source material to create dynamic and innovative story worlds. Examples include using Celtic mythology and Marxist writings for a sci-fi murder mystery, and reimagining western films in the frozen wasteland of the Norse gods.
Flensing Your Story for Fun and Profit (Not August)
We will talk about self-editing—the idea of auditing your drafts against the ideas and principles you started out with in order to polish them to a submittable standard.
And Then the Murders Began: Writing Great First Paragraphs
Lucy A. Snyder
Author Marc Laidlaw recently wrote, "The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, 'And then the murders began.'" While often true, most writers can't actually use this technique. In this presentation, Lucy A. Snyder will discuss the first paragraphs of recent award-winning short stories to show why (and how) they work to hook readers.
Turning the Paper World Real: A Lesson in the Senses
Damien Angelica Walters
It's easy to craft a story using only visual elements. After all, you're painting a picture for a reader to see in their mind. But there are five senses, not one, and if you utilize them all, you can create a stronger story and a richer experience for a reader. We'll talk about adding scent and sound, taste and touch, and yes, sight, to create a world that feels real.
Working Through Distractions
Mercedes M. Yardley
We'll talk about using a timer to focus, how to build your work sentence by sentence, and how to build yourself a flexible, effective writing environment.
Chesya Burke has written and published nearly a hundred fiction pieces and articles within the genres of science fiction, fantasy, noir and horror. Her story collection, Let's Play White, is being taught in universities around the country. In addition, Burke wrote several articles for the African American National Biography in 2008, and Burke's novel, The Strange Crime of Little Africa, debuted in December 2015. Poet Nikki Giovanni compared her writing to that of Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison, and Samuel Delany called her "a formidable new master of the macabre." Burke's thesis was on the comic book character Storm from the X-Men, and her comic, Shiv, is scheduled to debut later in 2017. Burke is currently pursuing her PhD in English at the University of Florida.
Kristi DeMeester is the author of Beneath, a novel published by Word Horde, and Everything That’s Underneath, a short fiction collection forthcoming from Apex Publications. Her short fiction has been reprinted or appeared in Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year Volume 9, Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volumes 1 and 3, in addition to publications such as Black Static, Apex, and several others. In her spare time, she alternates between telling people how to pronounce her last name and how to spell her first. Find her online at www.kristidemeester.com.
Jacklyn Dre Marceau lives a quiet life writing and teaching on the Carolina Coast.
Nik Korpon is the author of The Rebellion's Last Traitor (Angry Robot, June 2017), Queen of the Struggle (January 2018) and The Soul Standard, among others. He lives in Baltimore.
Angela Slatter’s debut novel, Vigil, was released by Jo Fletcher Books in 2016, and the sequels Corpselight and Restoration will follow in 2017 and 2018 respectively. She is the author of eight short story collections, including The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales, Sourdough and Other Stories, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Black-Winged Angels, Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales and A Feast of Sorrows: Stories. Her work has been adapted for the screen, and translated into Japanese, Russian, and Bulgarian. Angela has won a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, one Ditmar Award, and five Aurealis Awards.
Lucy A. Snyder is a five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning writer who is the author of ten books and about 100 published short stories. Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, Italian, Czech, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Asimov's Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Shadowed Souls, and Best Horror of the Year. She lives in Ohio, has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Goddard College, and is faculty in Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can learn more about her at www.lucysnyder.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.
Richard Thomas is the award-winning author of seven books—Disintegration and Breaker (Random House Alibi), Transubstantiate, Staring Into the Abyss, Herniated Roots, Tribulations, and The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). His over 100 stories in print include Cemetery Dance, PANK, storySouth, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2 & 3, and Shivers VI. He is also the editor of four anthologies: The New Black and the Shirley Jackson-nominated Exigencies (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and the Bram Stoker-nominated Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for LitReactor and is Editor-in-Chief at Gamut Magazine. For more information visit www.whatdoesnotkillme.com or contact Paula Munier at Talcott Notch.
Damien Angelica Walters is the author of Sing Me Your Scars (Apex Publications, 2015), winner of the This is Horror Award for Short Story Collection of the Year, Paper Tigers (Dark House Press, 2016), and the forthcoming Cry Your Way Home (Apex Publications, 2017). Her short fiction has been nominated twice for a Bram Stoker Award, reprinted in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and published in various anthologies and magazines, including the 2016 World Fantasy Award Finalist Cassilda's Song, Cemetery Dance, Nightmare Magazine, and Black Static. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescued pit bulls. Find her on Twitter @DamienAWalters or on the web at http://damienangelicawalters.com.
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of many diverse works, including Beautiful Sorrows, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls, and the BONE ANGEL trilogy. She recently won the Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red. Mercedes lives and works in Las Vegas, and you can reach her at www.abrokenlaptop.com.