Taos Toolbox: Could this Be Your Year?

Okay, writers. Let’s talk for a moment.

Maybe you’re at a point where you’ve had a couple of stories accepted in pro venues, but you can’t seem to pull off that last pro sale. Maybe you’re caught in the mushy middle of a novel, and you’re not certain how to make the novel work. Maybe your writing has improved, but you’re getting a lot of frustrating middle of the road rejections. (The kind that sound like this: It was great, but I didn’t quite fall in love with it enough.)

Well, if this sounds like you, and you’d like to ramp up your game a bit, please consider Taos Toolbox this year. Why this year? This year, Taos needs applicants. There have been several writers who have applied, but not enough to make the workshop happen. Walter has asked us alums to reach out to the writers that we know, and this is the easiest way for me to do that.

Let me be honest with you: Taos was a very hard experience for me. It was physically hard. Altitude dried me out fiercely for the first week. The days were long, the nights were long, the work was immense. There were issues among certain people in our group that made the workshop sometimes unpleasant. (DISCLAIMER: I understand that our year was a very unlucky year, and usually there is the kind of bonding that one hopes for from an affair like this.)

On the other hand, I met some awesome people. My roommate was fantastic. Many of the attendees knew a great deal about pop culture and comics. Many attendees were just plain fun. I’m convinced that we had the best volunteer social director ever, and I wouldn’t exchange my breakfast conversations with Rebecca and Pat for anything. Walter and I discovered that we shared a love for Utena. There were good moments with many folks.

But most important, and this is why you should go, whether your group is cranky or wonderful, whether you can hike miles or barely crawl up a mountain, whether you like bears and hot tubs or not, and hear me out, for this is the salient point: YOUR WRITING WILL IMPROVE. If you are more at the beginning edge of the workshop, you will receive faith in your abilities. And if you’ve already opened that gift, you will receive insight into the process of writing that will change the way you compose permanently.

I wasn’t sure after I left Taos whether I could recommend it or not. And about two months after I got home, I realized that yes, what I was doing had changed, and what I was doing now was better. And that’s totally what I hoped to gain from the workshop. My epiphany as a writer happened not while at Taos, as I had heard it would, but after Taos, when my brain had a chance to cool down a bit. I am a much better writer now than I was at this time last year, especially in behind the scenes kinds of ways.

So, consider it. It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride, because it’s an intensive workshop where you’re locked with about 15 people on a mountain for two weeks talking smack at each other. 🙂 It’s also a chance to bond with some fellow writers who have passed a certain bar of ability, and are ready to push themselves a little farther.

Walter gives you all the information you need to apply right here.
And if you want more impressions from the folks who attended last year, here’s my page about the workshop. If you’ve got questions, just send them along.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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