Clarion Write-A-Thon 2013 is a Go!

I feel like I’m failing at the whole fundraising part of this thing because I haven’t talked it up nearly enough, but that will change starting today! As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be participating in this year’s Clarion Write-A-Thon, where my goal is to write 25,000 words of “Unstable Future” by the time it ends on August 5th. You can help provide encouragement by sponsoring me or pledging money for a certain word count, and the money goes to the Clarion Workshop so that aspiring writers can be taught by established authors in the sci-fi/fantasy field.

Let’s start here: the Clarion Workshop is a wonderful thing where writers who are hoping to make careers writing in the sci-fi/fantasy genre can get instruction on various aspects of the craft and business of writing from established authors. Clarion’s been around since 1968, and their list of instructors are pretty impressive: John Scalzi, George RR Martin and Ellen Datlow have taught in years previous and just this year Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill and Cory Doctorow are workshopping with the latest crop of hopefuls.

It’s a tremendous opportunity for those of us in the genre to build lasting relationships with aspiring and established writers, learn about taking our writing to the next level and focus intensely on our work for six weeks with people who are just as passionate about creating as we are. I’ve got a bit of a personal stake in this, since good friend Kyell Gold is a graduate of Clarion and husband Ryan Campbell applied just this year. In a few years, I hope to apply.

Clarion isn’t free, alas. It takes money to run the workshop every year and attract the talented writers who provide instruction. Writers who are accepted to Clarion are frequently offered financial aid in order to take advantage of the opportunity, and that takes donations from people to make possible. This is where you and I come in — I work on a project that I’ve been wanting to write for quite some time, and in return for updates, story snippets and (eventual) full-blown release, you donate money to a great cause! It’s win-win, right?

“Unstable Future” is a really great universe that was created by a talented fellow named Neopuc. He’s written a 15-part short story series that you can go and read over on SoFurry, a repository for furry fiction and art. (Before you click through the link, be forewarned: while the story itself isn’t explicit, there are other parts of the site that are.) I really loved the idea of it, and wanted to play around in that sandbox for a while. So I’ve been noodling around with a set of short stories of my own, set in a different part of the world that uses the same premise.

The plan is to write 13 parts of one big story, and release them on a weekly basis to constitute a ‘season’ of fiction. It’s a model that I really love the idea of, and it seems to be something that is catching on — especially with digital platforms. My story will be available for free, once it’s ready for release, and I’ll let you know where you can find it when it’s ready. For now, though, I want to focus on writing as much as possible. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, right?

As for the story itself, if focuses on Abernathy Jones, a Rabbit farmer whose family was one of the first settlers of Oleander City. Oleander is a small town established more than a century ago, during the wild times after war precipitated the downfall of a society capable of uplifting animals to sentience, engineering them into human shapes and many, many more technological wonders. There has been an influx of science and technology firms, treasure hunters and university students since ruins of the old world were discovered sitting beneath the city, and Abe has been resistant to the change of his community from slow-paced agrarian settlement to fast-paced tech hub. When the recently discovered technology starts to inflict Oleander’s population with impossible changes, Abe must step up to become an unlikely leader in the fight to save his town.

I’ve posted small snippets featuring Abe every Friday last month, just to get my head around him. I’m quite excited to dig into this story now, and I hope you are too. If you’d like to help out the Clarion Foundation and help encourage me through the project, feel free to visit my author page and either sponsor (make a straight-up donation) or pledge (promise a donation based on word count, days written, etc). I’ll be incredibly grateful for your support, as well as the chance to help out an organization I’m really excited about.

I’ll post up my first snippet over at the Clarion homepage, and I’ll offer weekly updates and small snippets here on the blog every Friday. Hopefully we can reach the goal of $250 raised by August 3rd!

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