So by my count, (which is always perfect, hush, I never get mixed up about what month we’re in), it is currently the 4th week of Clarion. The crazy week. And as I’m doing the write-a-thon this year, (sponsor me), I should really participate in all of the ups and downs of Clarion.
So what am I doing to celebrate the crazy? Last night I cut 14 inches off my hair.
So how crazy is that? Is that Week-Four-Clarion crazy?
Well for comparison, in 2011 week four was the week I thought it would be a good idea to plan out a story, write none of it, and then spend three days at San Diego Comic-Con as preparation for my Monday critique session. I wrote the thing in one sitting on Saturday night, when I also decided it was a good idea to write it entirely in dialogue
So clearly I need to up the ante.
How will I increase the crazy in my life? I have decided to throw myself open to COMMISSIONED FLASH FICTIONS FOR A GOOD CAUSE.
Pledge money to Clarion, and I will write a story of under a thousand words (more or less), to your insane specifications. Want to see a story where a radish is used as a weapon? I can do that. Want to see me write a touching mermaid-selkie romance doomed by misguided tourists? You have that power. Want to break me with an order for a flash fiction referencing russian literature, weaponized chopsticks, fried chicken obsession and attraction-activated clothing? IT IS WITHIN YOUR GRASP.
Here is how it is going to work. For a five dollar donation (you can donate here), you can order a flash fiction with one details. For every additional three dollars after that, you can add one more detail. I am open to details of plot (such as a spoon used as a weapon, a girl disguised as a boy, or something set on fire), theme (such as first love, grief, or moving), style (for example no commas, all in dialogue, extensive use of some type of sensory description), genre (make it a romance! make it a heist! Write me a piece of horror (please don’t,)) and character (all characters must have no specified gender, or a character must be modelled on the Doctor, or include evil twins).Note: I absolutely make no promises whatsoever as to my ability to pull off a western, say. Or literary fiction. I am also notoriously bad at romance and I’m keeping all my stories at no more than a PG-13 rating because anything more than that would just require too much research and I just don’t have time for that. I also reserve the right to make it humorous unless you pay extra to keep it unfunny.
You are terrible at explaining things, you say. I need some examples. I can provide examples.
Example #1. Mina just wants to give some money to Clarion, cause it’s a good cause and she wants the tax receipt. She donates 11 dollars to Clarion, (5 + 3 + 3), which earns her a story with three details. Man, I dunno, Mina thinks, looking around her living room. Uh, make it a story with tea used as a weapon, set in uh, a colony in the sun, and don’t use commas. Is that three?
Example #2. Jamie is someone who knows me and wants to torment me because of that time three years ago when I said the romance in his nano-novel was unconvincing. I’ll make her pay, he cackles, digging coins out of the couch to get to 23 dollars. She will rue the day she ever spurned Asister and Scriver’s touching love! 23-5 is 18, and that’s 6 *3, so 3+3+3+3+3+3+5=SEVEN DETAILS. Jasmine you will write me a romance with no dialogue which includes chess, photography and secret twin mistaken identity, set in a city where no one touches the ground, and the main characters are based on Phineas and Ferb, and clothing has been outlawed! Ahahahahaha!
Example #3. Patricia thinks this writing workshop seems pretty excellent, and John Scalzi raised 500 dollars for it by wearing a dress, so a 100 donation seems like a reasonable donation for a story. (Patricia may or may not be independently wealthy.) And she doesn’t care about details. Oh wait, can you put in a necromancer? And carrots? Oh, and base it off this picture?
So to sum up: I want you (yes you) to donate to Clarion. It’s an awesome workshop which lets beginning writers learn from professionals who tear them down and remake them strongerfasterbetter. It has been described as “an MFA program in 6 weeks”. It relies on donations. And right now it’s not getting the donations it needs to keep running at full levels of awesome.