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Rekindle Your Will To Write | A Writing Unworkshop

If you fell off the writing wagon or constantly feel blocked due to stress, uncertainty, or just not wanting to due to *gesturesAll This and ready to try and get back to it, this unworkshop is for you. Play a no-pressure writing game with me and author Alethea Kontis to spark your imagination and get words on paper again.

We’ll be playing Sugar, Porridge, Spoons, a game for writers designed to push past your internal editor and get you creating weird and wonderful stuff without the pressure of trying to produce something specific.

We’ll meet on Zoom for live virtual game sessions on:

  • Saturday May 1 | 5PM – 7PM eastern
  • Sunday May 2 | 4PM – 6PM eastern
  • Wednesday May 5 | 4PM – 6PM eastern
  • Saturday May 8 | 5PM – 7PM eastern
  • Sunday May 9 | 4PM – 6PM eastern

Click here to convert to your time zone

All sessions are optional. If you can make some but not others, that’s fine. Participants will have access to videos of each session afterward.

You’ll also be invited to a private Discord server where you can discuss the outcome of each game session.

This unworkshop costs $40 and is open to writers ages 14 to 114 years old. There are scholarships available.

Click Here For Details or to Register

Scholarships

There are 4 scholarships available to writers who cannot afford the registration fee for class. Half are specifically for Black, Indigenous, and other Writers of Color, half are available to any writer from any identity background.

To apply, fill out this form. You’ll be asked to provide a personal statement (up to 500 words) and a statement of financial need (300 words). Please Note: I define financial need broadly, from those who absolutely can’t pay to those who may have the money but can’t set it aside for a writing course. Don’t self reject!

Application Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific April 21, 2021.

Tell Donald I want Him to know it was me

It’s on you (yes, YOU) to change this country, culture, and society for the better. Here’s how.

It’s now been a bit more than two months since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took office and almost that much time since I stopped feeling a daily sense of dread about everything. I’m sure others have been experiencing the same. Now that we’ve had some time to breathe and come down a little from the stress, it’s time to re-energize for the long fight ahead. Y’all do know that we can’t kick back and relax for the next four years and expect all the many things wrong with this country to be magically fixed, right?

You probably answered: “Of course I don’t think that! It’ll be hard work to undo the damage done.”

Yes, that’s right. And YOU have to do some of it. More of it than you probably know.

As important as it is that we have people we like or can at least deal with in the White House and Congress, those people cannot do everything and the things they can do they might have to be leaned on to do. That’s where the rest of us come in.

Every single person who cares about progressive ideals and values needs to be pushing for or contributing to change and betterment all the time. What that looks like will be different for different people and that’s fine. No matter what, you need to be doing it.

That all sounds vague, so here are my more concrete suggestions.

First: Pick One Cause To Prioritize

Yes, one. Why one? Because this work can tire you out. Because every person cannot do every thing. Because if a ton of people choose at least one then we have a ton of people putting their energy into positive change, which will proliferate.

Pick a cause that you’ve very passionate about and know at least a little about the activists, organizations, and movements involved in it. That will help with the next step.

Second: Do Your Research

You want to make sure that the organizations or movements attached to the cause are legit. So do some Googling on them and the coverage they get, especially from blogs, newsletters, social media accounts, etc. that are sympathetic to the cause.

A key element to this is not just knowing the problem, but also knowing the solutions to it. What solutions are these groups or individuals suggesting and/or trying to implement? Do they align with what you know and understand? These questions should be part of research, too.

Third: Decide How You Will Contribute

If you only have the time and energy to set up recurring donations or something along those lines and you have the budget to do so, that is okay! Money helps and is often key to getting an issue in front of people who can make change happen.

If you have time or energy for more, look to see if there are already calls to actions or a list of what volunteers/supporters can do. Maybe it’s helping to plan meetings or rallies, or organizing text/phone banking or letter writing, or making lots of social media posts, or something else entirely. If you don’t find a list of helpful actions, contact the orgs or movement leaders or whoever to ask for one.

One action you need to have on your list (unless there’s a specific reason not to) is contacting your elected officials about this cause. Sending letters and other communications to elected officials is one of the best ways to get them to pay attention to the wants and needs of their constituents.

I know some people really don’t like communicating face-to-face (such as at town hall meetings) or over the phone (just in case you don’t get the voicemail). There are other things you can do. I love the tool ResistBot because it makes it very easy to send a letter/message to your elected officials right from your phone in the form of texts. All you have to do is provide your zip code and the bot knows who all your electeds are and will make it easy to connect with them.

Fourth: Keep At It

It’s easy to get fired up and want to help and then have stuff slip from your mind or get shoved back in priority because of stuff going on in you life. That’s why it’s good to assess how much energy you can put into this cause and what is most helpful when you have to pull back. Even if you do, try to keep up with the latest news and developments through newsletters or social media and other communications from the orgs or activists. There may be times when they need more help (a bill is coming up for a vote, a measure is on the ballot) and that coincides with a time you have more energy or space.

Creating positive change is a long haul, not a quick fix.

What cause are you going to pick? I’d be interested to know in the comments! And if you already know which orgs, groups, etc. you plan to work with or donate to, please drop those links in there as well.

Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and Me

I knew this news was dropping today. What I didn’t know was that Polygon was gonna namecheck me as one of the contributors! EeeEEEeeEEeeeEEE

I’m super proud to be part of the team that created the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 5E Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft book. I’m in such amazing company; Ajit George, The Strix, Molly Ostertag, Cassandra Khaw, Jessica Price, and many others contributed. Working with F. Wesley Schneider, the design lead, was a great experience. Everyone involved gave me support and wonderful feedback and I loved every minute.

I cannot wait for folks to start playing the adventures in this book (I wanna hear about it!). It comes out in May and is up for pre-order now. You can find more preview information over at Inverse as well as on the DnD site.

Should Authors Write Characters Different From Themselves

New Webinar: Should Authors Write Characters Different From Themselves?

I get asked a version of this question all the time. So does anyone who is outspoken in the diverse literature space. It usually comes in the form of:

Should white creators write characters of color?

or

Should abled creators write characters with disabilities?

or

Should heterosexual creators write LGBTQIA+ characters?

and so on.

Truth is, the answer is simple (yes) and also complex (yes, but…), thus some people need guidance in answering the question for themselves. Lucky for y’all, Nisi Shawl and I are willing to offer that guidance.

Our next webinar is on this topic, it costs $20 – $30 or whatever you can afford, and will happen on March 6th. If you cannot make the live webinar you can register to get the video after. Details and registration are on Writing the Other.com. Hope to see you there.

Deal Announcement Ruby

Now it can be told: How Ruby vs the Robo-Bug came to be

I am beyond excited to finally announce my first book deal! From the notice in Publishers Marketplace:

Science fiction and fantasy writer and media critic K. Tempest Bradford’s [middle grade] RUBY VS. THE ROBO-BUG1, in which an 11-year-old Black girl passionate about entomology finds an alien bug in her backyard and has to rely on her friends, the scientific method, and her instincts to help the alien get home safely, to Grace Kendall at Farrar, Straus Children’s, in a very nice deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2022, by Larissa Melo Pienkowski at Jill Grinberg Literary Management (world English).

I’ve been sitting on this news for months as the slow wheels of publishing turned. I’m glad I can finally be public about it because I am so very excited for this book! I didn’t set out to write a middle grade novel or really any novel that wasn’t the one I’ve been working on for ages. How did we end up here? Settle in and I’ll tell you.

Continue reading “Now it can be told: How Ruby vs the Robo-Bug came to be”


Footnotes

  1. A working title and slightly different from the draft title: Ruby vs. the Big, Red Bug. []
Authors K. Tempest Bradford and Aisha Matthews

I’m on the Science Friday Book Club talking about New Suns

Last week I had the great pleasure of being on WNYC’s Science Friday as part of the #SciFriBookClub. All this month they’re reading and talking about stories from New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction By Writers of Color edited by Nisi Shawl. I got to talk to editor Aisha Matthews and producer Christie Taylor about the story “Dumb House” written by Andrea Hairston.

Any time I get to discuss Andrea’s work with people I’m happy, so I knew going in that this would be fantastic. We ended up having a truly wonderful conversation that went a little over time, so some had to be cut. Still, what’s there captures the essence of what we talked about. You should buy the book, read the story, and listen in.

If you want to listen to the first segment where they talked to Darcie Little Badger about their story, or find the upcoming segments, head to the Science Friday book club website.

World Fantasy, the Convention That Keeps On Failing

On social media (mostly on Twitter, I believe) there are several ongoing conversations about the problems with the initial programming lineup for the 2020 World Fantasy Convention. One of the first people to bring up the vast number of serious issues publicly1 was Miyuki Jane Pinckard. She wrote a long thread on October 4 as she spotted issues, then compiled an open letter which she posted on Google Docs.

As she and others began raising the alarm on panel titles and descriptions, the official Twitter account for the con started posting tone-deaf responses that made it seem as though the con Chair didn’t really grok what might be wrong but also extending an invitation for people, especially marginalized people, to help WFC fix the problematic panels. And if you knew absolutely nothing else about this situation, that might seem reasonable and like some honest mistakes were made.

I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. That, in truth, WFC Chair Ginny Smith was warned that this exact scenario would happen unless she took specific steps to avoid it. This advice, which was based on the experience of many years, was ignored. And so the situation the WFC 2020 convention committee finds itself in right now is not the result of honest mistakes, but willful ignorance and likely some ingrained bigotry.

I’m going to lay out what I know–not just about this World Fantasy debacle, but some of the history behind it. I want people who are, in good faith, trying to fix WFC’s programming and think that they can somehow pull this con out of the tar pit to know that this situation cannot be fixed ad hoc, cannot just be addressed at the level of this one concom, and cannot be solved by continuing to attend.

Continue reading “World Fantasy, the Convention That Keeps On Failing”


Footnotes

  1. Trust, there have been a ton of people backchanneling about this in private spaces. []

Daily Writing Exercises: Preptober + NaNoWriMo 2020

Practice and warm-ups are fundamental to every artistic discipline, writing included. Especially when you’re gearing up to set down 50,000 words in 30 days.

Doing a 10 – 20 minute writing exercise can help kick your brain into creative gear without pressure, give you the chance to try out new craft skills, or simply keep your writing muscles limber on days when you don’t have the time or energy to work on your work in progress.

Whether you’re getting ready for NaNoWriMo, or starting a new long fiction project, or just want to try building a daily writing practice, this course is for you.

Click here to Register

Part 1 – Preptober (Reg Ended)

Starting October 1 you’ll get a short writing exercise via email every day for a month. These exercises will give you an opportunity to play around with voice, point of view, dialogue, and other aspects of craft plus help you get to know your characters better and dig into details of your setting. You can use the exercises to prepare for NaNoWriMo, or a non-NaNo project, or as warm-ups before starting on your current work in progress.

Part 2 – NaNoWriMo

Starting November 1 you’ll get a different set of writing exercises via email every day for a month. The November exercises will all relate directly to your work in progress, diving into the characters, the world, and the plot in ways that will help you keep moving forward.

You can sign up for Part 2 for $45. Grants are still available for those who can’t afford the registration fee.

Grants

There are a total of 10 grants available to writers who need them. Grants are for both parts of class. Five grants are available to Black, Indigenous, and other Writers of Color, five are available to any writer from any identity background.

To apply, fill out this form. You’ll be asked to provide a personal statement (up to 500 words) and a statement of financial need (300 words). Please Note: I define financial need broadly, from those who absolutely can’t pay to those who may have the money but can’t set it aside for a writing course. Don’t self reject!

FAQ

Do I have to be doing NaNo to take this course?

Nope! If you just want a month or two of writing exercises that will help you with your fiction or get you into a daily writing practice, this course is for you.

What are the technical requirements?

Just an email account.

Can I donate so more people get grants?

Yes! And you’d be the absolute best for doing so. Click here to donate via PayPal. You can pay to cover the full grant price or just part of one. Any amount donated is appreciated.

New Webinar: Cultural Appropriation – What It Is and How To Avoid It

Nisi Shawl and I are teaching a webinar on Cultural Appropriation next month. This class has low-cost registrations and a donation/Pay What You Can Afford option to make it more widely available to writers affected by COVID-19. Basic details:

When: May 2, 2020, 10AM – 1PM Pacific Time (Click to see when this happens in your time zone)
Where: Online via Zoom video conference
Price: $20 – $30 or Whatever You Can Afford (Details Below)

Most writers want to avoid Cultural Appropriation but worry that they don’t fully understand what it is or how to ensure their work does not include it. They wonder what the difference is between appropriation and exchange or between appropriation and influence. And they hope avoiding cultural appropriation doesn’t mean only writing stories about people from their same race, culture, or ethnic group.

In this 3 hour webinar, authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford will offer concrete answers to those questions and a set of resources to help authors navigate these tricky waters. The webinar includes two short lectures and a lengthy Q&A.

Click here for full details or to register

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New Class: Managing Social Media for Writers

I’m teaching a new class for Cat Rambo’s Academy for Wayward Writers about how to manage social media if you’re a writer. Especially if you DON’T want to be on it. Details:

When: Sunday, May 3, 2020, 1:00-3:00 pm Pacific Time
Where: Online via Video Conference
Price: $99 ($79 for existing Academy students) – scholarships are available

Authors need to use social media for publicity, audience building, and community connection. And yet, social networks are undoubtedly time sinks, distractions, and can sometimes be bad for our mental health. All of which can eat into writing time. Maintaining a balance between time on and off social media is important, especially for authors who want to lean more toward being OFF it. In this class, K. Tempest Bradford will offer tips for how to limit your time on social media without having to delete your account and how to set up a system of auto posting and scheduling that will allow you to maintain an appropriate presence without annoying your friends and followers.

Classes are limited to 15 students. They are taught online and require reliable Internet connection, although in the past participants have logged on from coffee shops, cafes, and even an airplane; a webcam is suggested but not required. Classes are recorded for the benefit of class members only.

Click here to register.