Sunday, February 2, 2014

Looking at Workshop Options

I've only ever heard one person say they were dissatisfied with their Clarion experience, and that person indicated it was mainly the personality mixture of the group (though I guess you do always hear stories about the people Harlan Ellison has sent to the hospital with panic attacks). Everybody else has sworn by it.

Everybody keeps saying it's two years or more worth of writing experience crammed into six weeks. And as someone who knows they need to get better and wants it to happen sooner, I covet that.

I very rarely want expensive things. Expensive things- ipads, nice cars, boats, giant houses- float distantly above me like big puffy clouds, so that I can look at them and admire them in a sort of aesthetic fashion, but never expect to touch or interact with them. Actually wanting something stratospherically expensive is a new sensation for me.

I cried when I found out how much Clarion cost. Cried. Like a child. It was ridiculous. I was finally in a situation where I wouldn't lose my job and my apartment if I went somewhere for six week, and until I'd cleared that hurdle, it hadn't seemed important to look at the price.

With time having taken the burn of the idea that this is a thing I simply can't ever have, I figured I'd go back through more calmly and see if maybe there's a way to get it after all. What follows is going to be a series of numbers and figures, so if you're into that, enjoy yourself, if not, thank you for reading this far.


Writers in residence:
Gregory Frost
Geoff Ryman
Catherynne Valente
N.K. Jemisin
Ann VanderMeer
Jeff VanderMeer
which is awesome. 

$65 application fee
$4957 workshop fee (includes housing and meals)
miscellaneous "incidental expenses"

$5,022+ total plus travel expenses. 

Potential Scholarships:
...huh. Clarion is incredibly coy about how much their scholarships are actually worth. They "range in size from $100 to over $3000, though most are between $500 and $1500." Of the 14 potential scholarships listed I'm eligible for 10 based on my race, age, student status, and county of origin. Which, given the information available, is as little as $1000 out of those $5000 dollars, or as much as $30,000, but probably between $5000 and $15000, assuming I were to take all 10. Further Google-Fu isn't turning up any specific amounts on most of the scholarships, though I did find someone who mentions receiving $500 on the Marjorie and Walter Farrell Scholarship but not finding out how much they would receive from aid and scholarship until after classes started, which is.... not ideal from a financial planning standpoint. 

Okay, so looking at this another way, there are typically 18 students accepted, with some amount of scholarships that could pay a full ride for between 0.2 and 6 of those students (but probably 1 to 3), or between 0.01% and 30% of the expenses for each (but probably 0.05% to 15%).

So. There's a notification of scholarship awards March-April, with a hard final date of pulling out with a refund of April 30th (the full balance of the $5,022 being due two weeks after acceptance and conceivably before you find out how much scholarship you're getting... and it looks like well before you scholarships pay out.)

Okay. So there is enough scholarship money that I could conceivably do this if I won enough scholarships, which is by no means a set thing, but I would have to pay the balance in credit before I found out if I could do it, and drop out and reapply later if I didn't get more than half the cost in scholarships, which would require me to be both better and needier than 17 other Clarion-eligible writers. Verdict: dubious.

Clarion West

Paul Park
Kij Johnson
Ian Mcdonald
Hiromi Goto
Charlie Jane Anders
John Crowley

$40 application fee
$3600 (including room and most board)

Wow, okay, this is much more useful information. 7 full housing and tuition scholarships our of 18 students (Eight if you count the Octavia Butler one, which I'm not eligible for). One additional full tuition, two partial tuitions, and one each for disabled and New York people. That's incredibly encouraging.

This actually looks pretty do-able. Significantly cheaper in the first place and with a much better idea of what scholarship money is available. Still couldn't go without a scholarship, but it looks like at least a third of the people going are going to get one. 



Melanie Tem
Steve Rasnic Tem
Catherynne Valente
Elizabeth Hand
Alexander Jablokov
Delia Sherman
Ellen Kushner
Gordon Van Gelder

$35 application fee plus postage 
$1965 tuition
$100 textbook
$812 housing (food not included)
$400-600 suggested food budget

$3312-3512+ plus travel expenses

Full tuition, $500, and $300 awarded to character writers
$2500 available from HWA (deadline passed)
$750 for work study

Cheaper, overall, which is nice, but much lighter on the scholarships. Possibly worth waiting the year anyway, and applying for that HWA grant. 

So I guess, at the end, it's nice to feel like going to one of these is actually possible, if still unlikely. Clarion West looks like the best chance, or, if I can get another pro-horror publication of size between now and next year, trying for the HWA scholarship at Odyssey. 

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