Back in January, our friend Paul challenged me to apply to the Viable Paradise workshop. I'd been lusting after it for some time, but the travel costs, (it happens on a small island on the East Coast, and I'm on a small island on the West Coast) effectively doubling the otherwise-quite-reasonable cost of the workshop, had placed it in the unattainable lust object category. Paul dared me to apply, saying that he'd cover the airfare if I was accepted.
This was at his New Year's party, so alcohol may have been a factor as well as his vast heap of Frequent Flyer miles. But even the next day he kept the offer open, to my surprise and gratitude.
I dithered. I dithered about whether to submit the first chapters of The Willow Knot, or the first chapter of The Astrologer's Death. Or all of "The King of Elfland's Stepdaughter". I wrote two separate application letters and made up two packets. In the end I chose The Willow Knot, because the language is less difficult. While I suspected that the instructors wouldn't blink particularly at my version of Stuart English, I was dubious about the other students' reactions, based on my experiences in OWW. (To be fair, several OWWers have not only read The Astrologer's Death without difficulty but have given me useful feedback on where I've sacrificed clarity to archaism.)
I sent my application off in mid-January, and got on with writing to keep myself from twitching really noticeably.
In July I got the news that I'd been accepted, along with 27 other students, four more than usual. In the meantime, VCon, the Vancouver Science Fiction Convention, had announced its Guest of Honour, Barbara Hambly, one of my favourite fantasy authors, and announced a date - the same weekend that Viable Paradise began.
Or not quite. Because Viable Paradise begins on the Sunday afternoon, so I could attend the Friday and Saturday of the con. And Friday was a one-day workshop, or lecture series rather, Master Classes in Writing Genre Fiction, with Barbara Hambly being the keynote speaker.
I'm sure, Gentle Reader, that you can imagine how quickly I sent in my application and fees for that. Then, mostly because I had a story of the requisite length (not too short, not too long) I decided to sign up for a session of the regular Clarion-style workshops, so that I'd have some tiny practice in face-to-face critiquing before launching into a week of it.
During the workshops, I kept a ragged diary, which I propose to post over the next few days, filling in the gaps and gray areas enough to be coherent. At the time, so much was going on and my days and brain were so full that much did not get through the keyboard.