Clarion Write-A-Thon 2015 Is a GO

I was going to re-introduce Friday Fiction today, but it occurred to me that the Clarion Write-A-Thon is starting this Sunday! So instead I thought I would spend a bit of time talking about the projects I’m planning to work on over the next six weeks in hopes of drumming up support for it.

A bit of a recap about the Write-A-Thon: The Clarion Workshop is a six-week intensive experience where rising sci-fi/fantasy writers are invited to workshop their stories with each other and their instructors, who are typically folks who have made a name for themselves in the genre writing community. A couple of furries are Clarion alumni — one of them being my dear husband Ryan! This year, the Clarionauts will be taught by such esteemed writers as Saladin Ahmed, James Patrick Kelly and Karen Fowler.

It’s an amazing experience, and it can really give a leg up to writers who are just starting out by helping them understand the demands and pressures of being published, what it takes to polish their work until it gleams and fostering relationships with fellow great writers at all different points of their careers. But it’s not free; it takes money to attract top talent for the workshop and accommodate writers who would like to attend but need a little help getting there. Clarionauts come from so many different countries and backgrounds, and not all of them can swing the expense.

So, the Write-A-Thon is a charity event where writers set up goals for themselves (a novel written, or a short story a week, or a word count) and ask folks for donations to encourage them to meet them! I’ve participated in the Write-A-Thon for a few years now, and last year I helped to raise $550 for the Clarion Foundation!

This year, I’ve set a goal of writing 50,000 words from Sunday, June 22nd – Saturday, August 1st. That works out to 8,333 words a week, or about 1,388 a day for six days (one for rest, of course). Let me tell you what I’ll be working on during that time.

  • Beast: Animal Genius. This is something that’s been simmering for a little while, and now it’s time to pull the trigger. Beast of the X-Men has never had a solo ongoing series, so I thought it would be interesting to write a prose version of that. The plan is to copy the distrubition model of digital comics — one “chapter” released a week, with three to four chapters bundled up into an “issue” that’s released elsewhere. I love the idea of setting up Beast with his own heroic arc, a network of allies and his very own rogue’s gallery. Each chapter will be roughly 1,250 words, making each issue anywhere from 3,500 – 5,000 words long.
  • Untitled “Defying Doomsday” short story. “Defying Doomsday” is an anthology that features people with disabilities dealing with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic scenarios. I’m a sucker for that type of fiction, and expanding it to include protagonists with disabilities is such an amazing idea. I have an idea for it that I’m very excited to write, so this will be one of the projects I hope to bang out this summer.
  • A Stable Love. This is a commission that a friend of mine has been waiting literally years for; while I’ve made progress on it, it hasn’t nearly been fast enough. So the mucking around stops here — by the end of July, the rough draft of the story WILL be finished and sent to him. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait.
  • The Big Game. This is a short story experiment that I started and abandoned less than a month into it. It was something that combined a bunch of different things I love — growth, gambling, audience participation. My perfectionist tendencies kind of sunk the idea, because the quality wasn’t up to where I wanted it to be. Hopefully, taking the time to sketch out the characters, relationships and arcs will help me keep up the momentum there.
  • The Cult of Maximus. If you follow my work over on (and I seriously don’t expect you to), then you might have seen the beginnings of this. Basically, a police officer is drawn into a shadowy conspiracy that aims to guide a world of intelligent animals to the next stage of evolution. This is smutty writing, pure and simple. But I like doing it, so there!

I’ll be updating The Writing Desk and my LiveJournal with thoughts on writing and my creative process, as well as snippets of what I’ve worked on every week. In exchange, all I ask is that you donate what you can to the Clarion Write-A-Thon through my writer’s page here. My fundraising goal this year is $500 — if I can get ten people to donate $50 (that’s a penny for every ten words!), that’s all it takes! However, any amount you can spare will be tremendously appreciated!
I’m really excited to be doing the Clarion Write-A-Thon again this year, and I hope you folks will join me in helping the cause.

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