Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My workshops at Surrey

Got asked today to submit details for the two workshops I'm going to lead at the Surrey International Writers' Conference in British Columbia this October, and thought some people reading this might appreciate an advance peek:

Mastering Point of View: Learn the strengths and weakness of first-person and third-person narration, and how to avoid point-of-view pitfalls. Most beginning writers have a hard time choosing the appropriate point of view for their stories -- and an even harder time sticking to it. Printed fiction can be more powerful than film, TV, or stage plays because it allows us to get inside the head of our viewpoint character -- to actually become someone in the story. But a poor choice of point-of-view character can leave the reader uninvolved, and violations of the limited perspective provided by a specific point of view can rip the reader right out of the story.

A Top-Down Approach to Science Fiction Writing: Science Fiction is often called "the literature of ideas," but where do those ideas come from? How do you turn a grandly cosmic vision into an intimately human story? What is the relationship between theme and plot? And how do you take the classic elements of science fiction -- time travel, starships, alien beings, artificial intelligence, alternate worlds -- and do something fresh with them, when so many other writers have already mined the same topics?

I also volunteered to do twelve 15-minute blue-pencil café sessions, in which I'll do cold evaluations of three-page (double-spaced) samples of attendees' writing.

Other speakers with an SF/F connection this year include agents Donald Maass and Rachel Vater, Del Rey editor Jim Minz, Bantam Spectra editor Juliet Ulman, and authors Diana Gabaldon and Jack Whyte.


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