Slithytove at Clarion (st_at_clarion) wrote,
Slithytove at Clarion
st_at_clarion

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Clarion, Day 33: She's mafia, I know she is!

In the original ending of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee got married.

The story I had been working on is now, sadly, on hold. I loved the voice, but I don't know enough about gender issues or transsexuals. I still want to do it, but research will take time, and can't realistically be done at Clarion. Another story is in the works. Oh, wait, it's also on hold.

Kelly and Jeff called us together Wednesday night, early, and asked us for feedback on Clarion. How did we feel? How were we doing? Is there something we would like them to do differently?

There's definitely some frustration and burnout going on. K & J detected it in Wednesday morning's crit session, which was palpably too harsh and tense. Therefore: today's stories were critted more lightly, everyone's wip stories were put on hold, and a 900-word writing assignment was given for tomorrow. Folks were also told to concentrate on producing one more *finished* story. Part of the problem is that everyone has been trying to produce the canonical story-a-week, with the results that a lot of stories seem to be coming to the crit circle at draft 1.0 or 1.5. The writer knows there are problems, but wants to get the story in that week. Then the writer is frustrated by the crit circle telling him all those things wrong with the story that he already knows are wrong because it's draft 1.0 or 1.5.

Our other solution was to go out drinking. Then we all came home drunk[1] Kelly taught us to play "Mafia" and "Thing". This was followed by a watergun battle, after which I went to bed, and I deny all knowledge of any shenanigans which happened thereafter.

Mafia and Thing are classic Clarion games. Tons of fun. I had never played them before, but I loved them. They're very subversive, and very game theory-like: best play depends on the actions of others, and others' play depends on yours, in an near-infinite feedback loop. Charles and Tenea in particular proved to be very good players.

And now I go to write my 900-word story for tomorrow.

Oh, thanks to the folks who responded to my cri du cour of two days ago. I'm feeling better now.

[1] This is slightly different than what actually happened, but details have been altered to protect someone or something, and that's all I'm sayin' about that.
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  • 2 comments
Do you think Clarion is too dependent on critique/production as the pervading dynamic to drive the workshop? I know you are still 'midst Clarion and it might not be a good time to ask that kind of question - as you noted, if the product outcome is half-assed is the benefit or potential benefit of late workshop critiques diminished to the point of making both a time waste?

One of the former Clarion attendees noted her at-clarion work was dramatically different from her normal writing, both in style, tone, and quality (due to time) - she also commented on her decision not to be in the business of producing potentially submittable stories - instead she focused on taking personal risks with her work.

Do you think your writing has experienced 'any' type of shift or breakthrough during the workshop or do you have a personal expectation that the value of the pressurized conditions of the workshop environment will process out into material improvements in your story crafting over time?
Do you think Clarion is too dependent on critique/production as the pervading dynamic to drive the workshop?

No. I don't see any other way to teach writing.

Do you think your writing has experienced 'any' type of shift or breakthrough during the workshop or do you have a personal expectation that the value of the pressurized conditions of the workshop environment will process out into material improvements in your story crafting over time?

My workshop writing is definitely different. I've mentioned this several times before. In some ways it's better, in some ways it's just different, in some ways its worse, because it's less polished, as it doesn't go through as many revision cycles.

Will all this result in substantial improvements over time? Who the heck knows. Ask me in 10 years.

The statistic generally quoted is that twenty years after any given Clarion, half the students will have stopped writing for one reason or another, and the other half will be working writers, publishing professionally. This is a very good record for a subject, creative writing, which is notoriously difficult to learn and almost impossible to teach. I hope Clarion helps me write better. That's all I can say.