Coming Soon: Online Fiction Workshop from the Author of The Writing Class

I’m seriously thinking of starting up an online fiction workshop in January 2009.     Plans so far:

1.   Submissions will be fiction only–prose, not poetry.

2.   Submissions will include short stories, novel chapters, fragments of longer works.

3.   Right now, I’m not planning to screen for level of sophistication, experience, talent, etc.   Come one, come all.   This strategy has always worked quite well for me in in-person workshops.

4.   In the future, I may offer more real-time workshops, probably involving a chat room setup rather than one involving speech.   Writers are generally comfortable typing and reading; we’d just do this in a virtual room, during scheduled hours.

5.   When  a virtual  workshop gets underway, students will read and critique one another’s work, which is what happens in actual workshops.   I’ll moderate, and will, of course, be critiquing extensively also.

6.   Before I get a workshop going, though, I’ll deal with submissions personally, through emails; and even after I set up virtual workshops, I’ll continue offering this personal service, for writers who aren’t interested in workshops.

7. I’ll probably use PayPal, since this is apparently the easiest way to set up payment of fees.   I’ll charge so much per document, with a page limit, of course (probably 20 or so double-spaced per doc).  

8.   For workshops, I’ll probably charge per Workshop (where the writer commits to, say, a six-week period, and can submit a maximum of, say, 10 documents during that period) instead of per document.

9.   I have no idea right now what the charge will be, but it will be reasonable, given that we’re all now officially broke.  

10. Perhaps later this month I’ll ask for a guinea pig or two or three: a couple of souls willing to submit work (original, of course).   Drawbacks: You’ll be helping me  iron out the kinks in the system;  I won’t know what I’m doing, re the workshop software, etc., and I need to practice.    Advantages:  When it comes to  critiquing fiction, I do  know what I’m doing, and for  these guinea pigs, I’ll be doing it for  free.   Offer ends when the Workshop business gets underway.

11.   Any suggestions welcome.   Has anyone actually taken an online workshop?    Do my ideas seem sound?   Let me know.


ATTENTION: GUINEA PIG WORKSHOP IS NOW FULL (12/27/2008).   We should get underway in a week or so. If everything works out, I plan to begin offering for-pay workshops (both group and individual) in late January or early February 2009.

My First Name

is not my exclusive property, but over the course of six decades one gets used to being the only Jincy.   The name is apparently Southern in origin, and was at one time a nickname for both Virginia and Jane, which nickname never caught fire, and so faded from use.   I am the Last of My Kind, solitary and windswept, or so I thought, until tripping across

Dian Curtis Regan, a prolific author of children’s books, was born a few years after I was, growing up in the shadow of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado.   She writes:

I would be remiss not to mention my “familiar,” the walrus. It all started with a story I wrote several decades ago about an outspoken walrus named Jincy. A few friends read the story and gave me stuffed walruses. After that, I started planting the word “walrus” in every book. Readers began writing to tell me where they’d spotted the word. Through the years, walruses have appeared beneath my Christmas tree, inside birthday gifts, collected as souvenirs on trips, and as gifts from schools. Sadly, I have yet to receive a walrus with red hair.

To date, I have over one hundred walruses in my office. Ironically, Jincy’s story has never been published, yet she and her exquisitely polished tusks have obviously brought me very good luck.

This is what happens when you fool around with Google for no damn good reason. It turns out that in an alternative universe, I am unpublished, with exquisitely polished tusks.   In this one, I prefer to remain solitary and windswept, but now I have these tusks, which I can’t stop imagining,  and the good fortune they bring, it seems, is not my own.

Are there any more of us, fictional or non?   What have we done or left undone?   Apparently there’s a herd.   Where  are you all?   Bring on the Jincys!

Cultural Notes from All Over

From the North County Times Books Calendar for June  1:

 — At The Book Works, Flower Hill Promenade, 2670 Via de la Valle, Suite A230, Del Mar, (858) 755-3735:

Shawn Tomson will sign and discuss “Surfer’s Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life” at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Jincy Willett will discuss and sign “The Writing Class”at 7 p.m. June 23.

— At The Yellow Brick Road, 7200 Parkway Drive, Suite 118, La Mesa, (619) 463-4900:

The June B. Jones Stupid Smelly Bus Tour will visit at 9 a.m. June 9.

Why isn’t this kitsch?

If you go to the Talaria Museum Store at, you’ll discover that it’s actually (probably) within your means to own a Hieronymus Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights action figure, such as

 Tree Man Figurine

 This is the one I picked for myself, and it makes me inordinately happy, although lately I’ve been keeping in the trunk of my car.   Question: why is this a good thing, while a replica of a great sculpture is not?   What’s different about turning a two-dimensional detail into a solid object you can hold in your hand, view from all angles, and then bury in the trunk of your car?   Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that it is different, and that everyone should own a Hieronymus Bosch action figure, or know someone who does.  

Note: The thing on his head isn’t a human heart–it’s an undressed bagpipe.