Welcome to 2022! I recently updated my Resources for Educators page with some exciting new contest and publication opportunities for young writers! I also added 2022 application deadlines, where available, for upcoming workshops. I’m on a brief teaching hiatus for some project deadlines, but I’ll have new workshops to share later in the year. Hope it is a good one for all of us!
I’m thrilled to be teaching a week-long online writing workshop for young writers at the Center for Fiction this summer!
July 12-15, 2021
1:00 p.m. EDT- 2:30 p.m. EDT
Online via Zoom
Click here to register!
Want to know more? I’ve got all the details up on their website:
The Supernatural Summer KidsWriting Workshop will focus on fostering creativity and confidence in a fun, encouraging environment over the course of four days. As we write supernatural short stories, we’ll explore key elements of genre fiction, including character, dialogue, setting, and world building. We’ll also discuss revision strategies, practice reading our work to others, and review techniques for giving and receiving feedback. Each session will include interactive presentations, story prompts, writing sprints, and opportunities to share our creative challenges and triumphs. The supernatural theme is open to interpretation through all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mystery, fabulism, and horror.
This is a 4-day workshop; individual session registration is not available and missed dates cannot be refunded. Required workshop materials: Zoom access and preferred writing supplies (ex: pencil/pen and paper, MS Word, or any online document editing software, like Google Docs).
Designed for young writers, ages 9-12.
NOTE: Please include the following information about the student taking the course in the “Notes” field at checkout: student’s name, grade level, and email address.
Each year The Center for Fiction offers KidsWrite Fellowships for young adults in need of financial assistance. To apply to be a 2021 Summer KidsWrite Fellow, please click here. The deadline to apply for a KidsWrite Fellowship is 11:59pm ET on June 12, 2021.
Don’t wait to register–previous workshops have sold out quickly!
We had so much fun during last autumn’s horror-themed series and I’m excited to see how these talented young writers will interpret and engage with our spring themes–I expect it’ll be a blast.
These online sessions sold-out last time, so if you have any young writers (ages 9-12) in your life who might be interested, please don’t wait to register! Also, please help spread the word on Twitter (and anywhere else)!
Event details from The Center for Fiction’s website:
Designed for young writers, ages 9-12, these writing workshops will focus on fostering creativity in a fun, encouraging environment. Each session examines a different slice of genre fiction and will include writing sprints, interactive discussions of story structure and common tropes, and opportunities to share and review our work. Parents are encouraged to register for individual sessions based on their child’s interests or for multiple sessions at a discount.
Saturday, April 10, 1-3pm ET
Witches and warlocks, mages and sorcerers—by any name, spellcasters are magic! In this workshop we’ll be discussing fictional magic systems, spells, and tools as we write stories about the people (and creatures) who make and use magic—from the mightiest wizard to the tiniest fairy.
Saturday, April 24, 1-3pm ET
Fiction’s strangest creature club has something for everyone, from Loch Ness Monsters, yetis, and Jersey Devils to chupacabras, jackalopes, and krakens! In this workshop, we’ll explore the wide world of cryptids, craft our own pseudoscientific catalog of creatures and write stories about our fantastical creations.
Saturday, May 8, 1-3pm ET
Super Spies & Top-Secret Tech
When it comes to high-octane espionage, everyone knows that elite secret agents get all the best gadgets. In this workshop we’ll explore the thrilling world of spy stories and invent incredible technology for our secret agents to use while they try to save (or destroy) the world!
- One Class: $50
- Two Classes:
$100$75 with coupon code KIDSWRITE2
- Three Classes:
$150$100 with coupon code KIDSWRITE3
The Center for Fiction has TONS of amazing programming coming up, so be sure to check out all their events and workshops!
*Image art by E. L. Trouvelot.
I’m thrilled to be leading a new series of horror workshops for young writers at The Center for Fiction next month, kicking off the Halloween season *AND* the CFF’s KidsWriting program!
We’re going to have a lot of fun exploring some of the genre’s most popular branches and playing around with its most infamous tropes. Halloween is my very favorite holiday and even though I know this year will be different, I’m still all-in for celebrating the spooky season, and, IMHO, this is a perfect way to do that safely and creatively.
We’ll be meeting via Zoom beginning on October 10th, with the first of three sessions (detailed below), which can be bundled or taken individually. Registration is open now, but attendance is limited, so please don’t wait.
Additional info from the CFF event page:
Designed for young writers, ages 9-12, these writing workshops will focus on fostering creativity in a fun, encouraging environment. Each session breaks down a different branch of horror and will include writing sprints, interactive discussions of story structure and common tropes, and opportunities to share and review our work. Parents are encouraged to register for individual sessions based on their child’s interests or for multiple sessions at a discount.
Saturday, October 10, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Haunted Places & Ghostly Faces
In this workshop, we’ll be writing ghost stories, urban legends, and crafting original “local lore” about hauntings, cursed places, and other spooky, unexplained phenomena. Poltergeists welcome!
Saturday, October 17, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Movie Monsters & Creepy Creatures
From vampires, werewolves, and zombies, to shape-shifters, ghouls, and mummies–and everything in between–in this workshop, we’ll be writing stories about the terrifying things that go bump in the night (or in your closet)!
Saturday, October 24, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Scary Science & Techie Terrors
Whether it’s extraterrestrial invasions or evil scientists, destructive blobs or sentient computers—in this workshop we’ll be writing Sci-Fi Horror about the places where science and technology meet the unknown and the unexpected.
A version of this post appears on nrlambert.com.
[Read Part 1: The Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop]
A big (big, BIG) part of freelance life is the hustle, and a hearty chunk of that hustle is exploring new opportunities in your chosen field (or fields). For example, the educational writing market has always intrigued me–a distant glow shimmering on the horizon at dusk, calling me forth into the wilderness, but… I’m getting carried away with this metaphor. Suffice it to say, I’ve long been interested in expanding my freelance and work-for-hire writing to include educational publishing. But even after researching the market online, I wasn’t really sure where and how to begin. Which markets were legit? Which ones used freelancers? Which ones paid those freelancers in a timely manner? Which ones forced their freelancers to hire a flashy (but free!) legal team to chase down overdue invoices? There are hundreds of educational publishers and companies out there, which is great–lots of opportunities. But trial-and-error exploration of those opportunities could be costly both in money and time (which is money, so in money-money and time-money).
Flash-forward to early 2017, when I saw that Paula Morrow and Jan Fields would again be offering their popular “Writing for the Educational Market” workshop in June. Reader, I jumped on board and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I gain loads of valuable advice and information on breaking into and succeeding in this market, I also discovered I’d found an additional outlet for utilizing and applying what I’d learned during my recent Launch Pad experience.
Paula and Jan were engaging and knowledgeable as they shared their experience, expertise, and advice across a wide range of interests and specialties in the educational market. They, along with their teaching assistants, Sandra Athans and Julia Garstecki, and guest editors Cindy Kane (Six Red Marbles) and Karl Jones (Penguin Workshop) were extremely generous with their time, both in and out of the workshop sessions. We also laughed as much as we learned—which is a rare but wonderful way to impart knowledge and speaks volumes to the faculty’s collective gift for teaching.
My fellow attendees came from a variety of backgrounds and brought a wealth of experience to the workshop, further deepening and enriching the program. (One of the side benefits of attending this workshop is that I also gained a wonderful and supportive network of impressive professionals that continues to guide me long after our last class session ended.)
I’ve been writing on the trade side for many years, but prior to attending this workshop I felt lost regarding the ins and outs of approaching the educational market. After spending the week with Jan, Paula, and my talented fellow attendees, I walked away with a real, concrete, and actionable plan for breaking into, and (hopefully) finding success in, educational writing.
If this is an area that interests you, I can’t recommend Paula and Jan’s workshop enough. It doesn’t look like a 2018 “Writing for the Educational Market” workshop has been scheduled yet, but you can sign up for updates on the Highlights website. (I’ll also update with a link if/when I see it.)
(Mirrored post from http://www.nrlambert.com.)
This summer I had the pleasure and honor of attending the 2017 Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop. Organized by University of Wyoming professor (and SFF author) Michael S. Brotherton, PhD. (who founded the program) and astronomer Christian Ready, Launch Pad is hosted at University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming.
The Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop’s tagline is “Improving science literacy through words and media.” As Mike and Christian explained on the first day of the workshop, many people obtain their science through fiction and media. If the science is wrong in the fiction they’re reading (or watching), they won’t know and will walk away at best misinformed, at worst with a radically incorrect view of how the universe operates.
Creators have a responsibility to the story, absolutely, but they also have a responsibility to their audience. If creators do their best to keep the science accurate and plausible in their works, the audience gets a little bit of knowledge along with their rollicking space battle scene and may be inspired to learn more, or even apply what they’ve learned to their own creations, thus spreading knowledge instead of misinformation. The Launch Pad site sums this up nicely:
“Our primary goal is to teach writers, editors, and creative professionals about modern science, specifically astronomy, and in turn reach their large and diverse audiences. We hope to both educate the public and inspire the next generation of scientists.”
On Day One, Mike and Christian warned us they’d be compressing a lot of information into just one week (I believe the term “fire-hosing” was bandied about). Now, I implore you to imagine how impossible a feat it is to further compress that week into a
singularity single blog post. So this will be a highlights-only post–and in a week packed with literally nothing but highlights, it will inevitably fall short of even that modest goal.
Classroom sessions were super full days–from 10 a.m. to about 5 p.m.–packed with a science-tsunami (not a real term) of engaging lectures and presentations from Mike and Christian, as well as special guest lectures and lab activities. The “Kirchhoff’s Laws and Spectra” lab with the affable Jim Verlay, PhD. seemed to especially delight the class. All the instructors, especially Mike and Christian, excelled at making the covered material accessible to a wide range of comprehension levels.
After dinner, we kept going with observation sessions, a planetarium show, and several guided discussions about “Science Fiction Science,” wherein Mike walked us through examples of science and astronomy as portrayed in fiction (TV, film, and books), covering who got it right and who got it wrong (in some cases, hilariously wrong, see: Armageddon). These discussions yielded some of my favorite (and funniest) moments of the week.
On our penultimate evening, Launch Pad organized a trip to the Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO), where we got to tour the facility, be jealous of the students studying there, and take in the stunning views from the top of Mt. Jelm at 9656 ft. (Much props to our T.A., Doug Farren, who navigated a rental van through some ridiculous switchbacks to get our group up the mountain. Also, for his patience while we all jammed our phones out the windows in an attempt to capture the incredible sunset that night.)
Let me pause a moment to rave about my wonderful co-attendees–what a talented, inspiring, and kind group of humans with whom to share this experience (see the full list of names under 2017 Attendees on the Launch Pad site). Between them, I think they’ve covered every genre and subgenre of science fiction and fantasy; so definitely go check out their books and stories.
In addition to a cubic shit ton (not a real measurement) of information, Launch Pad also provides room and board–we stayed at the gorgeous Honors House, where we enjoyed private dorm rooms bigger than most NYC apartments. Also, the lucky (and hardworking) students that stay there during the school year have a huge rec room (and a laundry room!!! and a dishwasher!!!–can you tell New York has warped me?). The staff and volunteers at the University of Wyoming were equally impressive. I can’t speak for all attendees’ experiences, but everyone I interacted with seemed exceptionally warm and friendly. The campus and buildings were gorgeous, and as for Wyoming itself—wow…
Just. Gorgeous. Actual rolling prairies! Actual snow capped mountains! Actual pronghorns and buffalo and camels (idk, but they were there)! Blue skies for miles. Sunsets that you wouldn’t believe. Absolutely breathtaking. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a lot of incredibly beautiful places in the world, and Wyoming ranks up there (altitude* pun!) with the best of them.
*Speaking of altitude: As a life-long New Yorker I’ve always lived at (or, occasionally below) sea level. I didn’t really think about this until the first “Hydrate or Die” emails started zipping through my inbox in advance of our arrival. Hogwash! I thought. Surely I’d been at a similar altitude before! But no, Fake News! The startling truth was that I’d never even visited a place higher than about 2,000 ft. above sea level. So I arrived in Laramie more than a little nervous about altitude sickness, but it turned out to be just fine. Better than fine actually. There may be less oxygen in Laramie (elevation: approx 8,000 ft.) but the quality of that oxygen is apparently much, much better (no surprise) than here in NYC. Also, as advised, I hydrated like a m-er f-er. And as such, I saw just about every bathroom on the UW campus—all lovely. Five stars. Would visit again.
I am so grateful for this incredible once-in-a-lifetime** experience. Not only did I gain valuable material for a series I’m currently writing; I also walked away with a notebook filled with story ideas that will probably take me several lifetimes to complete. (But I’ll still try to get though them all in this one.) So huge thanks to Mike and Christian, my co-attendees, the sponsors (see below), and everyone at Launch Pad for providing a week of education and inspiration that I’ll never forget.
**Unless…Alumni workshop? Just saying…
Launch Pad is a funded workshop, generously sponsored by Space Telescope Science Institute and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). If you are an author/editor/creative professional who is interested in attending, the application period for the 2018 workshop should open sometime in Spring 2018.
If you are interested in helping support this excellent program, please donate via the Launch Pad fundraising page.
(Mirrored post from http://www.nrlambert.com.)