Workshop Schedule

The schedule for Alpha 2021 is still being determined.

2020 Virtual Workshop Schedule 

Wednesday, July 22 – Welcome

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM Opening Ceremonies and Introductions

Thursday, July 23 – Day 2
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Staff Reading
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Zoraida Córdova Author Lecture
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Zoraida Córdova Author Lecture
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:30 PM Author Social Break: Zoraida Córdova
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Initial Brainstorming Workshop – A Group
3:30 PM – 4:45 PM Initial Brainstorming Workshop – B Group
4:45 PM – 5:29 PM Staff Lecture: How to Write a Short Story (1/2)
5:29 PM – 5:30 PM Optional: Practice Reading Aloud
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Writing Studio
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Friday, July 24 – Day 3
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Second Idea Workshop – A Group
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Second Idea Workshop – B Group
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Prologue
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Zoraida Córdova Author Lecture
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Zoraida Córdova Author Lecture
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM How Not to Critique
5:00 PM – 6:15 PM Author Bookstore Event
6:15 PM – 7:30 PM Staff Lecture: How to Write a Short Story (2/2)
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Saturday, July 25 – Day 4
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Student Reading
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Roshani Chokshi Author Lecture
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Roshani Chokshi Author Lecture
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM Author Social Break: Roshani Chokshi
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM Staff Lecture: Horror Rules! (The Rules of Horror)
3:45 PM – 4:30 PM Second Year Demo Critiques
4:30 PM – 5:15 PM Structured Social Break (Optional)
5:15 PM – 6:00 PM Staff Lecture: Weird Facts for Building Weird Creatures
6:00 PM – 6:30 PM Writing Studio
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM First Lines Party
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Sunday, July 26 – Day 5
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Student Reading
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Roshani Chokshi Author Lecture
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Roshani Chokshi Author Lecture
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Mandatory Prologue
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Guest Lecture: Writing About Food with Nibedita Sen
3:00 PM – 3:15 PM Staff 1-on-1: A Block
3:15 PM – 3:30 PM Staff 1-on-1: B Block
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Staff 1-on-1: C Block
4:00 PM – 4:15 PM Prologue
4:15 PM – 5:15 PM Staff Lecture: Tapping Your Obsessions
5:15 PM – 6:00 PM Staff Panel: Rights, Agents, Querying, and Contracts
6:00 PM – 6:00 PM Optional: Practice Reading Aloud
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM Writing Studio
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Monday, July 27 – Day 6
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Student Reading
10:15 AM – 11:00 AM Staff Lecture: What Makes YA…YA?
11:00 AM – 11:15 AM “Group Photo”
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Staff Lecture: Tropes as Tools in Horror
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Prologue
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Staff Lecture: Authorial Misdirection
3:00 PM – 3:45 PM Staff Lecture: Character
3:45 PM – 4:30 PM Structured Social Break (Optional)
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Staff Lecture: Creepypasta
5:30 PM – 5:30 PM Optional: Staff Fishbowl
5:30 PM – 6:15 PM Writing Studio
6:15 PM – 7:30 PM Optional: Practice Reading Aloud
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Tuesday, July 28 – Day 7

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Student Reading
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Arkady Martine & Vivian Shaw Author Lecture
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Arkady Martine & Vivian Shaw Author Lecture
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM Author Social Break: Arkady Martine & Vivian Shaw
2:45 PM – 3:30 PM Staff Lecture: Doing Research
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM How To Turn In Your Stories
4:00 PM – 4:00 PM Writing Studio
4:00 PM – 7:30 PM Optional: Staff Mini-Lectures
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Wednesday, July 29 – Day 8

8:00 AM – 10:45 AM Late Start—Chillax!
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Staff Reading
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Arkady Martine & Vivian Shaw Author Lecture
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break/Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:00 PM Prologue
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM Arkady Martine & Vivian Shaw Author Lecture
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM Structured Social Break (Optional)
3:45 PM – 4:45 PM Arkady Martine & Vivian Shaw Author Lecture
4:45 PM – 5:30 PM Staff Panel: Writing and Mental Health
5:30 PM – 5:30 PM Structured Social Break (Optional)
5:30 PM – 6:15 PM Writing Studio
6:15 PM – 7:00 PM Staff Fishbowl
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Author Bookstore Event

Thursday, July 30 – Day 9

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Staff Reading
10:15 AM – 12:00 PM Seanan McGuire Author Lecture
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM Author Social Break with Sarah Gailey and Max Gladstone
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM Sarah Gailey Author Lecture
3:45 PM – 4:45 PM Staff Lecture: Worldbuilding
4:45 PM – 5:30 PM Staff Panel: Revisions
5:30 PM – 5:45 PM Writing Studio
5:45 PM – 7:30 PM Optional: Staff Mini-Lectures
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Friday, July 31 – Day 10

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Student Reading
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Max Gladstone Author Lecture
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Amal El-Mohtar Author Lecture
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 4:00 PM Critique of First Draft
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM Structured Social Break (Optional)
4:45 PM – 6:00 PM Writing Studio
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM Staff Lecture: Writing the Other
7:30 PM – 7:30 PM Structured Social Break (Optional)
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Saturday, August 1 – Day 11

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM “Pre-Dawn” Activities (Optional)
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM Prologue
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM Staff Panel: The Practicalities of Writing Life IRL
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM Student “Bookstore” Reading
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM Midday Break / Writing Studio
1:45 PM – 3:15 PM Staff Variety Show
3:15 PM – 4:15 PM Staff Lecture: Prose
4:15 PM – 5:00 PM Guest Lecture: Short Story Submissions with Isabel Yap
5:00 PM – 5:30 PM Story Submission Party
5:30 PM – 5:30 PM Structured Social Break (Optional)
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Writing Studio
7:30 PM – 10:00 AM After Hours Activities (Optional)

Sunday, August 2 – Farewell

10:00 AM – 12:30 PM The Final Day, & Graduation

Notes on 2020 Workshop Activities

Writing Studio

Writing Studio is your time! You can…

  • Go write
  • Dissect story ideas
  • Examine story problems
  • Critique an in-progress story
  • Find someone to talk with about your story
  • Or whatever makes the most sense for you!

Social Breaks

Social breaks are usually optional, silly activities like “making tiny zines out of paper”

Prologues

Much smaller optional activities before the lecture starts. You might hear staff or a fellow student read their work aloud or get a tour of a staff member’s bookshelves. 

Pre-Dawn and After Hours Activities

Optional activities like writing exercises, group discussions, or “word wars,” to help fill in the time zone gaps.

Lecture Topics

Lecture topics vary somewhat from year to year based on interest, guest lecturers, and onsite staff. You can expect lectures to cover a lot of general craft knowledge, specialized genre tips and tricks, and publishing know-how.

The ‘on campus’ schedule for Alpha 2019 was:

Wednesday, July 24 – Arrival Day

Thursday, July 25 – Day 2

8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Breakfast – Dining hall
10:00 A.M. – 10:50 A.M. Official welcome, explanation of writing assignment – Lecture room
11:00 A.M. – 12:20 P.M. Mark Oshiro presentation – Lecture room
12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Lunch – Dining hall
1:40 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Mark Oshiro presentation – Lecture room
3:00 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Initial brainstorming workshop – Lecture room
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. How to Write a Short Story – AJ and Rachel – Lecture room
7:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio

Friday, July 26 – Day 3

8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Breakfast – Dining hall
10:00 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Mark Oshiro presentation – Lecture room
11:20 A.M. – 11:40 A.M. Mark Oshiro signing – Lecture room
11:40 P.M. – 12:20 P.M. Writing Studio
12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Lunch – Dining hall
1:40 P.M. – 2:40 P.M. Mark Oshiro presentation – Lecture room
2:50 P.M. – 3:50 P.M. Worldbuilding, Science, and Other Systems – Patrick – Lecture room
4:00 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Second workshop of initial story ideas – Lecture room
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – 7:40 P.M How (Not) to Critique – Second year students – Lecture room
7:40 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio

Saturday, July 27 – Day 4

10:00 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Alaya Dawn Johnson presentation – Lecture room
11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. Brunch – Dining hall
12:40 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. Alaya Dawn Johnson presentation – Lecture room
2:10 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Taking on Tropes – Lara – Lecture room
3:10 P.M. – 4:10 P.M. POV – Ray – Lecture room
4:20 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Second year demo story critiques – Lecture room
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – 7:40 P.M. First lines exercise – Lecture room
7:40 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio

Sunday, July 28 – Day 5

10:00 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Alaya Dawn Johnson presentation – Lecture room
11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. Brunch – Dining hall
12:40 P.M. – 1:40 P.M. Alaya Dawn Johnson presentation – Lecture room
1:40 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. Alaya Dawn Johnson signing – Lecture room
2:10 P.M. – 3:10 P.M. Sentences – Cassie – Lecture room
3:10 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Writing Studio
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – 7:40 P.M. One-on-ones with staff – Lecture room
7:40 – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio

Monday, July 29 – Day 6

8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Breakfast – Dining hall
10:00 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Tamora Pierce presentation – Lecture room
11:30 A.M. – 12:20 P.M. Setting as Character – Julie – Lecture room
12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Lunch – Dining hall
1:40 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Tamora Pierce presentation – Lecture room
3:10 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. Writing the Other – Tiera and Rachel – Lecture room
4:00 P.M. – 4:50 P.M. Writing studio
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – 7:20 P.M. Reading practice for those reading at B&N – Lara – Lecture room
7:20 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio

Tuesday, July 30 – Day 7

8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Breakfast – Dining hall
10:00 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Tamora Pierce presentation – Lecture room
11:20 A.M. – 12:20 P.M. Writing Studio
12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Lunch – Dining hall
1:40 P.M. – 2:40 P.M. Tamora Pierce presentation – Lecture room
2:40 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Tamora Pierce signing – Lecture room
3:00 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Writing Studio – Lecture room
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio

Wednesday, July 31 – Day 8

Turn in first draft before 8:00 A.M.

8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Breakfast – Dining hall
10:00 A.M. – 10:50 A.M. Prose – AJ – Lecture room
11:20 A.M. – 12:20 P.M. Characters – Seth – Lecture room
12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Lunch – Dining hall
1:40 P.M. – 2:40 P.M. Writing and Mental Health – Staff – Lecture room
2:40 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Critique stories on your own – Lecture room
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – 7:20 P.M. Reading practice for those reading at B&N – Lara – Lecture room
7:20 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio

Thursday, August 1 – Day 9

8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Breakfast – Dining hall
10:00 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Yoon Ha Lee presentation – Lecture room
11:30 A.M. – 12:20 P.M. Pitching and Querying – Lara – Lecture room
12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Lunch – Dining hall
1:40 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Yoon Ha Lee presentation – Lecture room
3:10 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Writing Studio
5:30 P.M. – 5:50 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Yoon Ha Lee signing at Barnes and Noble

Friday, August 2 – Day 10

8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Breakfast – Dining hall
10:00 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Yoon Ha Lee presentation – Lecture room
11:30 A.M. – 12:20 P.M. Balancing Writing and Life – Malina – Lecture room
12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Lunch – Dining hall
1:40 P.M. – 2:40 P.M. Yoon Ha Lee presentation – Lecture room
2:50 P.M. – 5:20 P.M. Critique of first draft – Lecture room
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. Writing Studio – revise, start a new project, or relax!

Saturday, August 3 – Day 11

10:30 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. Mini-Lectures – Staff – Lecture room
11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. Brunch – Dining hall
12:40 P.M. – 1:50 P.M. Staff reading – Lecture room
1:50 P.M. – 3:05 P.M. Writing Studio – revise, start a new project, or relax!
3:15 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. Guest lecture: How to Submit – Isabel Yap – Lecture room
4:10 P.M – 4:40 P.M. Story submission party – Lecture room
4:50 P.M – 5:20 P.M. Student feedback session – Lecture room
5:30 P.M. – 6:30 P.M. Dinner – Dining hall
6:40 P.M. – Relax & start packing!

Sunday, August 4 – Day 12

*** Boxed breakfasts will be provided
8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. – Pack and clean
9:00 A.M. Depart for the airport

Writing Studio

Writing Studio is your time! You can…

  • Go write
  • Dissect story ideas
  • Examine story problems
  • Critique an in-progress story
  • Find someone to talk with about your story
  • Or whatever makes the most sense for you!