Days 2 & 3 – Writers of the Future Workshop

off the grid for 24 hours

When last I posted, we’d all been assigned the task of writing a short story in 24 hours. I was given a random object (a 38 Special shell casing) and told to go interview someone on the street, and then use these things to inspire and craft a story.

And that’s what we did for the last day. I didn’t come up for air for basically fourteen hours (in two 7 hour chunks), which is why I didn’t post the schedule for yesterday

A first

But I did it! I wrote a 5K story in a day, and it has all the bones of a decent story. It’s a rough draft, sure, but it has all the bones. There were valuable lessons in that for me. Perhaps the most valuable lesson of this exercise was to see that I could in fact do this from scratch, with random inspirations; the other was that I could do that in a 24-hour window. That makes me feel good.

So here’s what we’ve been doing: 


You’ll notice the right-hand column is the schedule of the Illustrator’s track.

the illustrators arrived today

The Illustrators got here yesterday, and we just met them today and saw for the first time the illustrations they did for the stories that will appear in the anthology. I’ll get a close-up of the illustration for my story. The artist (as you can see in the picture) is a young woman; her name is Maricella, and she is from Mexico.


Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s Awesome Analog Story Catcher

Powered by dice!

100 Pages of Hand-Made Story Elements

The way this works is that she has created 100 lists of 10 possible story elements. First she rolls the percentile dice to select the page, then she rolls one for the list of ten.

Closeup Story Catcher

I told her she should make it an app…then i realized how charming the little book was

When I tried it out, I rolled up: Student, Hotel, Time Travel. Pretty good bones for a story, no?

Story Catcher Ryan Stuart Nina

Nina sharing withtwo of this year’s winners: Ryan & Stewart

Day 1 Program – WOTF Workshop

This program was a closely guarded secret until we arrived

In fact, before we came, I searched the internet for one of these from previous years, to no avail. Now that we’ve all got a copy and permission to share, I can post mine. I’ll post one every day this week.


And yes, you see that right: 8 hours today with David Farland and Tim Powers, talking plot construction, characters, theme, conflict, etc., and hearing stories about bar-hopping with Phillip K. Dick. Fantastic. Such a wonderful opportunity.

Below, David and Tim, after they distributed story props to all of us. In the foreground is the prop that is to inspire a story I write tomorrow. In case you’re not familiar, that’s a 9 mm shell casing, which makes my job easy.There are lots of those in fantasy.

First Morning of Writers of the Future week!

Woke to a lovely day in LA. Our hotel is right on the walk of stars, and wouldn’t you know it, certain members of my family are into American Idol and the American Idol contestants are staying here too?

IBut I saw the Hollywood sign: if you look closely in the picture below, you can see it on the hill behind the palms. This place reminds me of Vegas.


IMG_0906 (1)


Short Story Award

I just learned that my short story, “Outside the Game,” won first place in the Southwest Writers International Writing Competition!  SWW-Contest-Header

Many thanks to David Levine and Fairwood Writers, who helped me develop it.

“Outside the Game” is an alternative first chapter to The Jack of Souls, set in the same place the novel begins, but an hour before the events that start the novel.

I wrote it as a tool to gain attention for the novel (and because Harric is so much fun to write about!).

Here’s the link, if you want to check it out: