Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Clarion Notes: Day 17 (Descent into Madness)

Sanity Status of the Troupes: One of our number started meowing in class, today. It didn't seem particularly weird. The in-jokes now involve lumberjacks, the word "hard," and collectively saying, "Errrr" in displeasure when something goes wrong.

Currently, the common room has a list of "possible titles" for a choose-your-own-adventure story on the wall and a drawing of the sprinkle lord.

In my phone call to my mom, today, I'm shocked I sounded normal.

Workshops: Elizabeth Bear has proven to be an interesting combination of Nina and Scalzi. Like Nina, she concentrates on the art of narrative; like Scalzi, her approach to teaching is pragmatic.

After workshopping four stories on Monday, she delivered an interesting lecture on different forms of narrative, ranging from the 5-act Elizabethan structure to the epic/soap opera plot style. Her take on want vs. need (main character) and the try-fail cycle was fascinating. It culminated in the class brainstorming two movies in ten minutes based on her outlines.

Tuesday's lesson involved the strengths and weaknesses of different points of view in narrative (ex. omniscient vs. limited third). Also, writers are allowed one amnesia story per career. Unofficial rule.

Today's lecture was mainly a discussion about first lines/hooks, what works, what doesn't, and favorite books and their openings.

The reading at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore was lovely, this evening.

Bear read us an excellent Californian vampire story from an upcoming Ellen Datlow collection. I think the piece may have been more about Californians than vampires, but that may just be me and my home fried biases.

I'm afraid, due to the little sleep I've been getting lately, I ended up a bit loopy tonight. (Hence the title.) Am currently drinking chamomile before I begin critiquing tonight's stories.