I’ve referenced my writing history before. How I’ve always wanted to be a writer. How I have had stories in my head since I was about 11. And how in 2008 I finally kicked myself into gear and started actually, you know . . . writing.
After I joined the Forum Writers in 2008 (followed shortly thereafter by a couple of other groups), I noticed that a writer I liked and respected both for her writing and her advocacy (more on this later) was having a writers workshop at Dragon*Con.
All you had to do was submit a short story or the first 3000 words of a novel and pay a small fee and you could get into Ann Crispin’s Beginning Writer Workshop. She would let in about 24 students, and there was a strict deadline so she and we could read the stories for critique.
I sent in a story I had first written in the mid-90s called “. . . And Promises to Keep.” It had been edited and edited and critiqued and edited some more, and I considered it my best work to date.
Thus I became one of the Dragon*Con 2008 Ann Crispin Beginning Writers Workshop students. I met 23 other writers, there, and a good many of us are still in touch. I’ve since met other people who were in one of her workshops in other years, and all of those people speak well of Ann and her workshop. I won’t say I got the best critique, but I did learn a lot and I heard some things my tender ears needed to hear.
Ann spent two full days of the con talking about the ins and outs of the craft of writing, the business end of writing, and telling us her own personal experiences. She referenced her work with Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware, laboring valiantly to protect writers from those who seek to exploit us.
We got to know her a little. I’ve been following her on social media during her lengthy fight with cancer. And then came this post from Facebook yesterday.
This is just devastating. I was in tears for a good while after reading it, as I am again while typing this.
But you know what really gets me? That even in this, what will most likely be her final Facebook entry, Ann is still encouraging aspiring writers. To finish. To get a good contract. And to watch out for unscrupulous jerks who take advantage of others.
I am . . . without words. I will merely say, Ann, you taught me a lot, and I enjoy your books, appreciate that you help other writers get better, and applaud your untiring efforts to protect your community from those who seek to prey on them.
Thank you for everything.