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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Today’s Thing I Like is an online writing workshop from Cat Rambo. Now, I’m not affiliated with her in any way except for the fact that I’ve just gone and purchased this workshop for myself. Go me, investing in education:)

I discovered the workshop thanks to my favorite submissions tracking site, The Grinder.* Mizz Rambo is this month’s site sponsor.

Here’s the workshop:
Description and Delivering Information for Genre Writers: How to Deliver Information and Build a World Without Slowing Down Your Story

Check out that detailed curriculum. In fact, go ahead and take a gander at the Introduction and Description previews too. The course goes in depth on a wide range of topics and is seeded with useful exercises throughout. Rambo even provides additional exercises for overachievers.

The course is also a steal at $29, particularly when you consider the source. Who is this fabulously-named instructor, you may ask?

Cat Rambo is a prolific writer and editor of sci-fi and fantasy, with 200 short stories and more to her credit (including a cookbook, most excellent). She studied with Octavia Freaking Butler and other amazing writers at Clarion West. I’ll cite a bit of her blurb to fill in the picture:

She has been nominated for the Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award and is the former editor of Fantasy Magazine. Her own work includes over 200 short stories, several novels, and most recently a cookbook, co-edited with Fran Wilde, Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook. She is the current president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

I’m not a writing workshop junkie but I have gone through several. Now that I’m halfway through the Rambo course, I can say that this is the most useful one I’ve taken to date.

Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg: Antonio Litterio

Cat Rambo has four online workshops available at the moment, including the Description for Genre Writers cited above, as well as Literary Techniques for Genre Writers, Character Building for Genre Writers, and Reading to an Audience. She also gives live classes if you’re interested in a more personal touch.

Most days I’ll work through a chapter, then apply the exercises to my current work in progress. Very practical and the writing does double duty. If I do the overachiever exercise I get a cookie. Win win!

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* Yep, I’m putting in another plug for The Grinder guys as well (I’m a donor and sometime beta-tester but not otherwise affiliated), because it’s a great project and always free free free. Yet another one of the #ThingsILike!

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This article by scientist Pascal Lee has a great point: reading helps kids turn dreams into reality. I just have one tiny bone to pick, and that has to do with the non/fiction divide:

“Let’s get ready for Mission: Mars and take our kids with us. Let’s start them on this journey with a non-fiction STEM book.”

I absolutely agree that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning and advancement requires books of the non-fiction variety. That’s right, actual facts are actually important. No question. I would add, though, that not only is it not bad if Generation Mars includes fiction on its reading list, doing so will help them with that first bit: having dreams. It’s also important to remember that much of the best science fiction is based on extrapolated science fact.*

“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
— Peter Diamandis

As Lee points out, Scholastic’s “Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life” motto is right on target, but why limit that reading? Non-fiction shows you how to build the path, fiction helps you decide where you want to go and imagine what it will be like when you get there.

I can’t wait to see where Generation Mars takes us.

* While “top X” lists are always arguable, they can be a great place to start. Check out this list of The Best Hard Science Fiction Books of all Time: Ten titles that inspired Technology Review to publish TRSF, its own collection of sci-fi stories.

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