You should apply if:
- You are a writer.
- You've been hovering around the same level of writing for a while and you want to improve your craft.
- You want to meet people who can become critique partners.
- You want to learn from established pros in the SF/F genre.
- The idea of six weeks at Clarion sounds terrifying.
- You want to eat the best collard greens ever.
A week at VP
The writing part
- Three days of group critiques (2 hours in the morning). You receive your peers' application pieces, read them, and discuss them in a group (two per day, except the day you receive your critique). Each session is moderated by two instructors.
- Two one-on-one critiques from the instructors (45 minutes in the afternoon, two days)
- Lectures and colloquia on topics like plot structure, how not to piss off your readers, and exposition (3-5 hours per day)
- Wednesday afternoon is free of lecture, but you will have other things to do
The rest of it
- Morning walks with Uncle Jim (100% optional)
- Evening walks to see bioluminescent jellyfish
- Beer with Billy, wherein you drink beer (or cider) (or soda/water) and read Shakespeare (and laugh at all the dick jokes)
- Spending time with your classmates and the instructors, which may or may not involve alcohol. (Tip: try Teresa's scurvy cure.)
- Delicious food made by Mac and her capable staff. If you have dietary restrictions (I'm vegetarian, and about half my class eats gluten free), they can be accommodated.
- Amazing, wonderful, helpful staff composed largely of VP alums.
- Staying up way too late but not really caring. Everyone else loaded up on coffee or tea, but I can't have caffeine, so I just was really tired.
- Bonding with your classmates: your writing peers and the people you'll be proud (and maybe a little jealous) of when they publish work or get nominated for awards
- Beautiful Martha's Vineyard in October. I wasn't quite a popsicle at any point, but it was pretty windy.
Instructions for applying are here, along with lots of information on the workshop and instructors (present and past).
Everyone says that Viable Paradise changed their lives, and it sounds like a cliche. But it's true. It's a transformative experience (usually in the positive sense).
Feel free to ask me any questions you have in comments.