The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Eleven, edited by Ellen Datlow, is out today. LOVE that cover art. It includes work by Laird Barron, Joe Hill, John Langan, and Gemma Files, among others, as well as “Golden Sun,” a novelette I co-wrote with Kristi DeMeester, Michael Wehunt, and Damien Angelica Walters. Pick up your copy today!
So, wow, this is a dream come true. For the past eleven years, one of my white whales, those elusive goals, has been to make it into The Best Horror of the Year, and it’s finally happened. (I’ve been long-listed seven times.) I’ll be in Volume Eleven, out in September of this year. It’s for a shared narrative that I wrote with Kristi DeMeester, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt, entitled “Golden Sun.” This novelette, which was in Chiral Mad 4 (edited by Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder, and published by Written Backwards) was quite a challenge. We talked about how we should not only link our stories, but do something fresh and different. I mentioned the idea of us writing a “Rashomon” (based on the 1950 movie directed by Akira Kurosawa)—four perspectives on a singular event, each with their own truth on what happened. We each got a member of a family—mother, father, daughter, and son. The missing piece was the daughter in the middle—literally missing. We talked about setting—forests, houses, asylums—this was about chirality after all, but pushed hard to set it somewhere that wasn’t expected—the beach, in the daytime. It was not easy, but I knew that by working with three very talented authors, three of my favorite writers working today, we had a chance to do something special. So to see the recognition from Ellen Datlow, for us to make it into this anthology—well, it’s thrilling, an honor.
Full TOC below:
- I Remember Nothing by Anne Billson
- Monkeys on the Beach by Ralph Robert Moore
- Painted Wolves by Ray Cluley
- Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith
- You Know How the Story Goes by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
- Back Along the Old Track by Sam Hicks
- Masks by Peter Sutton
- The Donner Party by Dale Bailey
- Milkteeth by Kristi DeMeester
- Haak by John Langan
- Thin Cold Hands by Gemma Files
- A Tiny Mirror by Eloise C. C. Shepherd
- I Love You Mary-Grace by Amelia Mangan
- The Jaws of Ouroboros by Steve Toase
- A Brief Moment of Rage by Bill Davidson
- Golden Sun by Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt
- White Mare by Thana Niveau
- Girls Without Their Faces On by Laird Barron
- Thumbsucker by Robert Shearman
- You Are Released by Joe Hill
- Red Rain by Adam-Troy Castro
- Split Chain Stitch by Steve Toase
- No Exit by Orrin Grey
- Haunt by Siobhan Carroll
- Sleep by Carly Holmes
2019 IS SOLD OUT. WE ARE NOW SIGNING UP 2020.
Since my last class, Contemporary Dark Fiction, has done so well, I thought I’d launch a second class, an Advanced Creative Writing Workshop. How is this class different? Well, there will be less focus on craft, and teaching you the basics, and more time spent reading and writing. It’s essentially what I did when I got my MFA back in 2012.
What I loved in my MFA was reading contemporary short fiction to see what was going on, what was being published, and what was getting attention. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to read these three anthologies: The Best American Short Stories, The Best Horror of the Year, and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. This is a great way to stay up to date, to research current markets, study with the masters, and find new voices. In my MFA we only focused on literary fiction (BASS), so adding in Best Horror and Best SF&F will really help you to expand your voice and learn from those genres as well. (If we publish a Best of Gamut in 2018, we may swap that out, down the road, for one of these titles.)
With class sizes small, a maximum of eight students, these will probably fill up quickly.
More information below.
Each week, you will read two stories that I have curated from the three aforementioned anthologies, selecting the stories that I think are the most powerful, unique, and with the most to teach us. There will also be a weekly Skype call (2 hours), where we will talk about that week’s short stories, and what the authors did well, how they are innovative, and how you might apply that to your own writing. We will also workshop two of YOUR stories, applying the same level of critical analysis. (Two student stories per week, with each student workshopping a total of FOUR stories, overall.) We will have additional ongoing questions and conversations on Facebook (in a private, secret group). At the end of the month, you will turn in an original short story based on whatever inspired you over the course of our studies, up to 5,000 words. I will read, edit, and critique each story, and return it to you with advice on what to do next (keep editing, drop it, polish it up, send it out). In addition to commenting on each other’s work (workshopping) the stories in Skype, you will also read and give feedback on the other short stories in the class via email (and the Word docs). At the end of the semester you will get one hour of private Skype time with me to talk about anything you like—your work in class, other projects, the industry in general, markets, query letters, how to get an agent, what to do next, etc. (Note: You will have to come to class with ONE short story already written. You will write THREE in class, not turning in a story in the final month.)
WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR:
- Advanced students who are looking to take their writing to the next level
- Authors who write genre fiction and are looking to make their work more literary
- Literary authors who are looking to add some genre, or supernatural aspects, to their realism
- Authors who have published several stories already
- Authors who don’t need to be taught craft, or the basics of short story writing
- Anyone looking to expand their understanding of contemporary fiction
- Authors that are looking to publish in the top magazines, websites, and anthologies
- Writers who have the time and discipline to read every week, and write a new short story once a month
(This is not a class for beginning students or authors, unless you already have some study and experience. We will not teach the basics, but will already assume you understand that, and are looking to study contemporary masters, apply it to your own work, and then create new material on a monthly basis.)
“The level of writing in this class is much higher creatively than what I am seeing at Harvard.”—C. Michelle
“Opting to take Richard’s Advanced Creative Writing Workshop was certainly one of the best decisions I’ve made for my development as a writer. Richard is an enthusiastic class leader and guide who also allows ample time for student participation, questions, etc. He has excellent insight into plot, characterization, setting, and all the other factors that make or break a story. For the readings, he draws on a wide range of stories from the annual Best Horror, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Best American Short Stories anthologies. On a personal note, Richard’s feedback and guidance has made me a more confident and self-assured writer. Based on the interactions I saw with my fellow students (and me), it’s clear he has that rare ability to really zero in on what makes each writer tick—their strengths and the unique perspectives each bring to the craft. He pushes his students to take their work further in those directions, so that their individual creative visions and voices come to life on the page. I’ve taken several online writing courses, and this was easily the best. It built up my knowledge and confidence, and I believe my writing and storytelling has improved. In addition, I had a great time with my fellow students, who also provided some excellent insights into my work. There were even opportunities to interact with some of the authors whose work we read in the above-mentioned anthologies.”—Dave B.
“I would definitely recommend this class to a friend—in fact, I’ve already recommended it to several. This course has changed me. I’ve taken quite a few classes, workshops, and retreats, but none of them has had the effect on me that this one has. I see writing through a different lens now. It’s as though I’ve gone through a battle and come out a seasoned soldier. I’m more confident, more aware, more educated than I was before.”—Brenda T.
“This workshop offers a great balance of reading the masters, critiquing and being critiqued, and time for writing new material. Just having completed the workshop, I’ve already received a few comments from beta readers that the depth of my characters and attention to setting have improved. Richard is an expert at designing workshops, and he’s very responsive to individual questions throughout the 16 weeks. In addition to being incredibly knowledgeable about the craft and the business side, he’s a fun and engaging person to learn from. At least based on the workshop I took, he draws some of the best emerging writers to his courses. Far from a chore, critiquing the other writers’ manuscripts work was a pleasure. Richard and the other writers offered creative, smart ideas for improving each of my manuscripts. Not only that, Richard is open to giving feedback on more than one draft of the same manuscript. I highly recommend the workshop. It’s a terrific experience.”—Matt F.
“Richard’s Advanced Creative Writing Workshop is perhaps the best writing course I have ever been in, and I’ve completed a 3 year Creative Writing degree with a Man Booker Prize long-listed author! The 16 weeks of the course will provide you with the same level of insight, depth and challenge as an MA degree, exploring celebrated contemporary writers alongside the work of your fellow students. The literature covered here is broad in terms of genre: from The Best American Short Stories, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Best Horror anthologies, so there’s a huge amount to be learned from these genres and apply to your own work in interesting ways. Quite apart from the astonishing insights and editing you’ll receive from your fellows, you also get a chance to receive feedback from Richard, who is an incredible teacher in terms of his insight into storytelling, his attentiveness, and his willingness to allow you to blossom as your own writer, rather than forcing you into a prescriptive model as so many big name authors do. I can honestly say that I’ve found my voice as a writer from going on this course and it’s already lead to two professional sales and a competition win with a cash prize. If you want to step up your game, take this course. You seriously won’t regret it.”—Joseph S.
“This class is the logical next step for authors on the cusp of breaking out. If you’ve already published a few pieces and want to take your writing to the next level, this is the class for you. Richard forces you to read more, write more, and critique more while interacting with like-minded writers who want to improve their game. Highly recommended!”—Repo K.
“Richard is passionate about helping you become a better writer, and that translates into a class environment that is supportive, irreverent, and creates lasting relationships with cool new people with similar goals. And it will kick your writing up several notches.”—Kris M.
“Richard’s Advanced Creative Writing Workshop moves beyond the basics of the short form, looking at how components come together to form a polished work. He utilizes the Best of the Year anthologies to look at not only what’s been published, but what has stood out that year, and why. Using these same techniques, you break down your own work highlighting what works, and what doesn’t. Richard’s honesty paired with his supportive nature is invaluable during this process. He encourages you to reach beyond the comfortable, and you can always trust he’ll be there to guide you if you misstep. The in-depth analysis and encouragement really makes for a fantastic experience. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to move beyond short story basics. “—Shaw C.
“Taking this class was the best writing decision I made in a long time. I’ve been writing short stories seriously for years but was drowning in the waters of editing my stories to near death. This class was the kick in the ass I needed to get me out of my creative slump. With Richard and my amazing classmates, we broke down the best short stories of 2016, going beyond the mechanics of storytelling or craft and looking at all level of a stories effectiveness and impact. We built those stories back up examining what made them work (or sometimes not work). We did the same with our own fiction examining each other’s stories each week and looking at how we could apply the lessons we’d learned to our own work. With Richard’s guidance’s our class was an enthusiastic, supportive and fun environment that I already miss participating in each week. Richard will take the talent, craft and skills you already have and challenge you to rise to the next level. If you’re thinking about taking this class, I’d advise you to stop thinking about it and go for it, you won’t regret it.”—Brandon P.
“Richard Thomas’ Advanced Creative Writing Workshop expanded my understanding of current fiction, released my writing from the sole designation of horror, and freed me to explore and incorporate other genres. If you’re ready to add dimension and depth to your stories, I recommend Richard’s Advanced Creative Writing Workshop.”—Dona F.
“I feel like I broke through some internal membrane that held me back as a writer in this class. Reading “best of” genre stories and the in-depth discussions while receiving Richard’s trained analytical eye on my own pieces was unbelievably helpful. I’d take any writing class by Richard—he cuts to the clever, the sublime, and the profound unlike any other teacher I’ve encountered—-and I’d recommend this to beginning and intermediate writers everywhere.”—Ian V.
“A great value for the amount of reading and working that is involved. Richard knows his stuff and that knowledge alone is worth taking the class.”—Dan M.
“I really appreciated Richard’s focus on what was good from both a literary and a commercial perspective and enjoyed being in, and learning from, a community of talented writers. I believe Richard’s critiques have had a salutary effect on my writing—my stories have become tighter, more consciously structured, and layered.”—Margot S.
“I would absolutely recommend this for writers wanting to level up—I got a lot out of the interactions. “—Carolyn C.
“ACWW exceeded my expectations from the very first week. I finished this class with greater confidence and a stronger sense of the direction I want to take as a writer, thanks to a well-designed program delivered by an exceptional instructor. Richard’s commitment to our goals, his enthusiasm and energy, generous mentorship and deep knowledge of the creative writing process made this workshop an absolute standout.”—Cynthia S.
“If you want to take your writing to the next level, if you want to write like the big name authors publishing today, this class will help get you there. Richard is a coach, mentor, professional, and personal trainer for your writing all in one.”—Scott H.
“I thought this course was a terrific learning experience and one of the best things that I could do for my writing. I learned a great deal from reading the work of my classmates and the stories in the anthologies, and from the helpful comments and suggestions from Richard and the others on the course. Wonderful!”—Ronnie S.
“I recommend this class. Why? Because I got the results that I knew Richard’s class would deliver. I read. I wrote. I created four stories that I never thought I would have made. And I have one story that no matter who publishes it, I will always be in awe of it. If you can put in the time to read, write, and review, then Richard’s course will help you on the track towards completing your writing goals. “—Cam P.
“Anyone on the fence about taking one of Richard’s classes should know this: I can’t imagine any way to regret doing it—only NOT doing it. The stories, the discussions, the feedback, the input, the advice, the encouragement—to learn to follow your instincts, find your people, and swing for the fences—are all pieces of this class that I will learn from and carry with me forever. Fun, deep, challenging, and incredibly meaningful.”—Starlene J.
“Richard’s Advanced Creative Writing Workshop is an excellent way to see how your work compares to what’s being published in the top markets today. From studying a range of genres, engaging in class discussions about your own stories and those of your peers, using a private Facebook group to share any additional thoughts or further reading, you’re practically guaranteed to improve your skills. I left this class knowing that my work had improved, that my confidence had grown. I’d recommend it to any writer looking to get their head in the game and start publishing.”—Jackson V.
$800, via Paypal to email@example.com. $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. If you are a returning student (from ANY of my classes, anywhere) take 10% off. If you pay in FULL at the time of deposit, take an additional 10% off. Otherwise, it’s $100 upon registration, $350 before class starts, and the balance of $350 due prior to the start of the second month. You are required to purchase the three anthologies (or feel free to check them out at your local library) for extended discussion. (Additional payment options are available, if needed.)
Returning student + paid in full: $640 ($40 a week)
Returning student, not paid in full: $720 ($100 down + $310/$310; $45 a week)
Paid in full, not returning student: $720 ($45 a week)
Not returning student, not paid in full: $800 ($100 down + $350/$350; $50 a week)
Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to register, to request a full syllabus, or if you have any questions.
January 1 – April 30, 2017 Session One FULL
May 1 – August 31, 2017 Session Two FULL
September 1 – December 31, 2017 Session Three FULL
January 1 – April 30, 2018 Session One FULL
May 1 – August 31, 2018 Session Two FULL
September 1 – December 31, 2018 Session Three FULL
January 1 – April 30, 2019 Session One BOOKING FULL
May 1 – August 31, 2019 Session Two BOOKING FULL
September 1 – December 31, 2019 Session Three FULL
January 1 – April 30, 2019 Session One BOOKING FULL
May 1 – August 31, 2019 Session Two FULL
September 1 – December 31, 2019 Session Three FULL
January 1 – April 30, 2020 Session One FULL
May 1 – August 31, 2020 Session Two SIGNING UP NOW
September 1 – December 31, 2020 Session Three SIGNING UP NOW