The 2013 Worry Thread

By | March 1, 2013

The deadline’s approaching fast, you might have your story in, you might not, you suddenly have to wait to find out. Use this thread to talk to each other. You can talk about your application stories too, if you want; I promise that the application committee will not read this.

Take a deep breath. Support each other. Write the next story.

132 thoughts on “The 2013 Worry Thread

  1. Noella

    Since no one else has commented yet, I’ll go ahead and take the plunge.

    This is my third year applying to Alpha. I got rejected for the past two years, but this year is my last year of being age eligible to attend so I figured I would give it one last try especially since I still really want to go.

    I’ve finished writing my story, I just need to finish editing it before I send it in.

  2. Diane

    Good luck, Noella. I’m not one of the judges this year, so I can comment here, right Cassie?

    We have about 40 applications so far, 6 from guys and the rest from girls. The most distant applicant lives in Australia.

    The judges will see the stories after the names get stripped off them. No one sees scholarship requests but me, so that doesn’t impact your chances at all.

    You could always read a book by one of the judges in the meantime, while you wait.
    Lane Robins

    Good luck to everyone!

  3. Noel

    It says the workshop is open for teens ages 14-19, but I think someone said once that the average application acceptance age ranged from 16-18.5. So I was just wondering, has there actually been anyone 14 years old that has attended Alpha?

  4. Noah

    Just submitted everything. If all turns south, at least I have another short story under my belt.

    I think I did the impossible and wrote a genre-less tale about the love between a boy and his bear. I feel I deserve a medal.

    Or a sandwich.

    Noella, I too am at the tipping point, age wise. Wish I had heard of this years ago.

    I’m also a guy, and am honestly surprised to learn that we’re a minority around these parts.

    Go figure.

    Good luck to all, may there be much knocking on wood and crossing of fingers.

  5. Noel

    I really want to just start my short story all over again. I’ve been working on it for the past 2 months, and it’s still a mess. But, I can’t turn back now, the deadline is so close and I’ve worked on it so hard.

    Not that I really think I’m going to get accepted. Of course it would be amazing if that actually happened to me, but sometimes we just have to be realists here . . .

    I don’t know. . . I’ll submit everything tomorrow, I want to have as much time as possible. Meanwhile, I’ll be crossing my fingers and hoping for the best! Good luck to all of you!

    Oh, and I’m pretty surprised at how little the number of male applicants there are, it’s kind of sad. Guys! You need to write more!

    oh, look. It’s past midnight. Well, I’m tired, bye guys!

  6. Diane

    @Noel The youngest was 11 and her mom stayed in the dorms with us. Two students came at 13 and more at 13, but then we changed the ages to 14-19. (We were getting too many applications.) Yes, every year we have some young students. I’m surprised how age doesn’t seem to matter all that much in crafting an amazing story.

    You’re right, though, the typical average age range is 16 to 18.5, but the distribution is wide.

    At this point, we have 53 applications in hand (9 from guys). That ratio is typical of our applicants, too. I have never understood why so few guys.

    One applicant with an Alpha birthday.

    2 from Australia, 2 from China, 2 from Canada.
    Two from Princeton, three from Palo Alto, CA — I wonder if they know each other . . .

    I’m having fun, can you tell?

  7. Diane

    Whoops, I meant to say two students came at 12 and more at 13.

  8. Noella

    It’s nice to see the N names represented in these comments.

    Once I come up with a useable name and grammar check once more, I’ll be submitting the story. I have it from my reputable sources that my story is better than the last two years, but it’s still nervewracking. I woke up this morning feeling nervous, and i don’t know if that’s because of this or because i’m leaving to go on a service trip today.

    @Noah we gotta represent the old people 😉 I wish I had starting applying when I was younger too. However, even the last two years when I got rejected everything turned out well and I ended up doing things that changed my life in so many ways. Also, that story about the bear sounds really cool… Have you ever seen a picture of a shaved bear? It’s pretty scary/cool.

    @Noel What’s most important is that you completed a story. As an experienced applier to Alpha, what’s been most helpful is the pressure to finish a story. I’ve improved so much over the past two years by just making myself write stories to apply.

    @Diane thank you. It does seem pretty interesting that so many of the applicants are ladies… defying the stereotypes of genre fiction writing!! 🙂

  9. Noel

    @Diane. That’s actually really funny , that three people are from Palo Alto, because that’s where I’m from!

    @Noella. I think it’s cool how you’ve continuously applied to Alpha, it makes me admire you for not giving up. I hope all your hard work pays off and you’re finally accepted this year!

    I am probably going to read my story a few times over again (I had my english teacher read it, and I’ve been fixing it up). I think my main problem is – grammar. I, according to my teacher, have a terrible tendency to insert an abundance of commas where I NEVER NEED ONE, so I’m definitely going to do a read-through just for the commas.

    So . . . just out of interest, what genre do you guys write?

  10. Meghan

    Gonna ruin the ‘N’ name thing you guys have going on…sorry lol.

    I’m applying to Alpha for the third time this year. I’m hoping the third time’ll prove to be the charm. I only have next year left to try, worst case scenario.

    I also find the lack of male applicants a wee bit surprising…who would’ve thought?

    @Noel Ah, I know the comment feels. I use the way too often as well.

    Also, in answer to your question, I write Fantasy, mostly.

    Good Luck to everyone!! 😀

  11. Madison

    I’ll add to the M name count. ^^
    This is my first year applying to Alpha, and I only found out about it a week and a half ago. I’m a mix of a fantasy and sci-fi writer, although I mostly do fantasy. The best thing about applying for this was the fact that, when writing my application story, I got an “imagination-high,” where I literally did nothing but write the story for an entire day. I get this feeling in my gut and just can’t stop writing. Anyone else get that?
    I’m really proud of my story, so even if I don’t get in, I’ll at least have this story. The worst thing, though, is the decision for the camp comes in at the same time as all of my colleges. Talk about a month of pure anxiety.

  12. Cheyenne

    I’m ruining the M and N scheme you have here.
    This is my first year applying to Alpha, so I’m pretty nervous about it. I write fantasy and science-fiction, but I enjoy dabbling in other genres, as well. The story I wrote for application is one I’m pretty proud of, which doesn’t happen very often.
    Good luck everyone!

  13. Noella

    @Noel I tend to write in a very mixed kind of way… I like mixing science fiction and fantasy, although I do like fantasy a lot. THe story I wrote this year was more generally supernatural… I’m not really sure how to describe it.

    @Meghan Having been thru 2 other alpha submissions with you, I’m hoping for a good result this year! 😉

    @Madison I love it when that happens. You just get so lost in the fantasy world that it just comes pouring out. Lately I’ve had a lot of writer’s block, so I had to work really hard to get this story out. I can definitely relate to you about the college anxiety. Coming from a current college student, just remember that no matter what happens everything will be fine.

  14. Noella

    @Cheyenne That’s great that you applied! I’ve definitely found that forcing yourself to write is a great learning experience.

    I also like writing in many different genres, although no matter what I write, it tends to shifts towards something unorthodox and wacky.

  15. Madison

    @Noella I spent last semester writing a novella for my independent study, and very very often I felt stuck. But I had to keep writing. At least when it’s finished it’s a pretty awesome feeling. Can I ask where you ended up going?

  16. Meghan

    Ah, I love just being on the same wavelength as you guys.

    Talking to other writers is so refreshing.

    @Noella, this is the year. I feeeel it lol

    @Madison, imagination highs are the best.

  17. Diane

    If the people in the same towns and their parents agree, I could always share email addresses. I thought you people in Palo Alto applied because you knew one of the girls who was here last year. There are now two people from Princeton and two people from Dallas, too. Other states highly represented: PA, VA, NJ, GA, NC, CA

    Count as of right now: 11 male, 49 female applicants
    Average age is hovering at 17, but there’s a wide spread.

    The Beta scholarships go to four students who attend the 2013 workshop, but were at Alpha previously and demonstrated writing and leadership abilities. These $100 scholarships look great on college apps and resumes, but each one comes with a task–give a 35-minute lecture on a topic of your choosing. Thanks to Thomas Seay for the funds for these. Betas will be picked in April.

    Where did you hear about Alpha?
    Lots of people just googled “teen writing workshop” to find us, but many saw a notice from Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Holly Black, Tamora Pierce or Scott Westerfeld. A few said their teachers or a friend mentioned Alpha. One person saw notice of it at the Clarion Workshop webpage.

  18. Noella

    @Madison I go to a liberal arts school in Virginia… one of the more famous ones. I won’t say the name just because my name is very unique and I don’t want internet trolls to find me, but if you know Virginia you’ll probably know what it is.

    @Meghan Hopefully

    @Diane My state is represented! I think I was the one who saw it on Clarion! Funny story actually. Two years ago, when I was at the tender age of a junior in high school, I picked up Orson Scott Card’s guide to writing science fiction and fantasy. It talked about Clarion, so I looked it up. I found Alpha from Clarion’s page.

    I’m about to leave for a service trip (I’m on my spring break atm). I’ll be off the grid until next Saturday, but I’ll be back… Don’t forget me…

  19. Noel

    @Diane. Who was the person that went to Alpha last year from Palo Alto? I actually stumbled upon the Alpha website by complete accident last summer. I got the link from Tamora Pierce’s website (she’s one of my favorite authors) and got really interested, since I was thinking of doing something like a writing intensive over the summer

    @Cheyenne. Yeah, I am rarely proud of the things I write, which makes me wonder sometimes if there’s something wrong with me. But at the same time, while I’m not always proud of the things I write I always acknowledge them as accomplishments, and things that can be improved dramatically.

  20. Sam

    This is a random comment aimed at Diane, but I would bet money that the Princeton people have something to do with Aleka. (To readers of this comment, she attended a couple years ago and got Dell runner up this year.)

    Also, whoa, China. D: That’s all kinds of awesome.

  21. Madison

    @Mehgan I could live off of that feeling. Is it weird to say that I write to get that feeling? Does that make me a writing junkie?

    @Noella Oh, have fun! I’m on spring break too, and I leave for a class trip to London tomorrow. A week in London with 16 classmates and my two favorite teachers, plus I have my birthday while I’m there! So excited! ^^

    @Diane I’m curious, how well was the Midwest represented? I’m feeling a little lonesome as a Michigander/Indiana-der. (That’s not a word, but I’m going to make it one!)

  22. Cassiel

    Hey dude, I’m the Palo Altan from last year. I don’t think I know you? But it’s neat that so many other applicants live near by us. We should have a writing meet-up or something. (So long as everyone promises not to be serial killers, etc. cetera)

    @ Cheyenne and Noel
    This is reminding me of a really great Venn Diagram I saw. In one circle there’s “self-hatred” and in the other there’s “narcissism.” In the very middle there’s a tiny over lap labeled “great writing.” Pretty true, huh?

    @ age discussion
    I was 14 at Alpha last year and I think it was just fine. Don’t be worried about sticking out; so long as you’re fairly mature (and writers tend to be, thinking all those deep thoughts n stuff) you won’t have a problem.
    (I uh. Think. I cannot be held accountable for above statement and results thereof.)

  23. Meghan

    @Madison, I totally get you lol. If it makes you a writing junkie, then you’re among friends, I’m sure.

    @Diane jeez…that’s a lot of applicants >.<

    I'm one of the ones from NJ…

  24. Noel

    @Cassiel. That’s cool! how was it? I might not know the people from Palo Alto *that* well, since I go to a private school, (you know . . the all girls one). And I totally get the venn diagram, it’s pretty hilarious. And we should totally have a writing get-together 😛

  25. Madison

    @Mehgan Writing junkies, unite! XD

    So what’s everyone reading now-a-days? I’m currently absorbed in The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.

  26. Meghan

    @Madison Yes! 😀

    School’s proven to be a bit of a distraction lately, so my list of reading material has been put on hold…but I believe I was actually in the process of rereading Alanna: The First Adventure a couple weeks ago.

  27. Cassiel

    …I’m halfway through my short story ahahaha I’m so screwed hahadas ijfdskasdhjkwoaklsfnbnsmf

    @ Noel
    You mean, how was Alpha? Unbelievably awesome. Learned about quantum physics, accidentally almost killed Tamorra Pierce, and spazzed out in Perry the Platypus boxers for a good portion of it. It comes highly recommend. It’s too bad you can only attend for two years though… D :

    Also, which girls school? The gators or the griffons? I’m back at public school, but I went to the griffons for middle school.

  28. Madison

    @Mehgan One of my favorites, that book. That whole series is the reason I got into fantasy. So, uhm…. Yeah, I’d really like to go to Alpha and meet Tamora Pierce. ^^;

    @Cassiel How do you accidentally almost kill someone, much less Tamora Pierce? O.o

  29. Noel

    @Cassiel. The gators. Also, I though that was the only girls school in Palo Alto . . . I’ve never even heard of the griffons, hm…are you sure it’s in palo alto?

  30. Meghan

    @Madison, Me too!! That book is what introduced me to both reading AND writing. If there’s one reason I want to go to Alpha, it’s to meet her.

    @Cassiel, How DID you almost kill Tamora? O.o

  31. Noah Again

    I have no experience whatsoever with Teen, well, anything. I do hold a special place in my heart for Uglies. Would my old soul prove to be a disadvantage at the workshop?


  32. Mara

    One of the girls from Palo Alto here who attended last year! Weird how our town seems to spawn writers, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s something in the water…. @Cassiel, how are you? We should get together some time! Just submitted my story (at ten minutes to midnight… hopefully that’ll teach me something about procrastination, but I doubt it will), and I’ m so proud because it’s only 4800 words, as opposed to the giant monster of a story that I wrote last year. Anywhoo, I don’t know if any of this is coherent because I’m absolutely exhausted, but good luck to all of us who applied! Hopefully we’ll all get in and have the chance to meet each other in person. 😀

  33. Amanda

    I feel so stupid for finding this thread now, ten minutes after the deadline (at Pacific Time in case anyone’s wondering). But I’m so high on endorphins right now I don’t even care. I just discovered Alpha last week, got started on it, procrastinated to very last, last, last second, and got my story in literally at 11:59. It’s at 5200 words–I’m way too ambitions for myself, and I still have homework to do.

    Also: Hey, half of everyone here is from Palo Alto! Awesome! I go to Paly, and I’ve committed educational suicide for Alpha. And I feel AWESOME.

  34. Meghan

    Good luck to everyone <3

    @Amanda, I pretty much neglected all of my school obligations to work on my Alpha story too ^_^' but hey, anything for the dream, right?

  35. Madison

    @Noah I’m a huge fan of 1920’s literature, especially Hemingway and Fitzgerald. I doubt we’ll be the only ones with a love of not-teen literature. ^^

    I didn’t just neglect school work to write my story – I neglected school. The day I wrote my first draft, instead of taking notes in all my classes, I wrote my story. ^^;

  36. Diane

    By my count, we ended up with a pool of 93 applicants (77 girls and 16 guys), which is a record for us. John will have the official tally when he checks to see if everyone submitted a story.

    12 of the applicants were from an area within 20 miles of Palo Alto, CA. That’s cause for puzzlement and celebration.

    @Madison: You’d be the sole representative of those lovely states.

    13 applicants had previously been at Alpha. The rule is that students can only attend Alpha twice. After that, we think they should try one of the adult workshops like Clarion, Clarion West, Viable Paradise and Odyssey.

    Make sure that you got a response from John saying he got the three things you needed to submit (story, application, $10 application fee). If you just submitted something this weekend, he’ll be sending those notices out today.

    Good luck everyone!

  37. Melissa M

    So does that mean that we can discuss what are stories were? Because I’d love to see what other people thought up. I was on the Westerblog a few weeks ago and someone who went to Alpha last year said that their story was a mob fight in a world of words (ink for blood, etc.) and that really got me wondering what everyone wrote about.
    Also, I want to size up my competition 🙂

  38. Melissa M

    I’m glad to see that I wasn’t the only procrastinator. I submitted my story after midnight (midwest time, thankfully.) and it totals at a whopping 5,800-some words. It’s SciFi, which I’ve been dabbling in more often lately. I used to be hardcore fantasy (and a terrible writer, though the two aren’t related). But then I found this wonderful thing called (hate if you want, but I love it) and then I got awesome through lots and lots of practice on a fanfic for nothing other than a Westerfeld novel.
    So that’s me. Someone else say something now.

  39. Madison

    Of course I’m the only one from here. Although, granted, I am originally from California, so I guess being from the West Coast made me destined to find Alpha. XP

    @Melissa M – My story ended up being around 3200 words, after editing it up from about 2600. It’s a fantasy and sci-fi mix I guess about a female matador and her quest for freedom (matadors are similar gladiators in this world), which she must gain through defeating a giant mechanical bull, all of which is told by the prince of the kingdom, whose hand in marriage she would win as well if she defeats the bull.
    That sounded a lot more complicated than it actually is.

  40. Diane

    @Melissa M who asked
    > So does that mean that we can discuss what are stories were?

    Discuss away, but generally — you might not want to give away your coolest ideas on a public forum. Ideas cannot be copyrighted, just the expression of an idea can.

    Among the accepted students, we usually have something like 16 who self-identify as fantasy writers, 3 science fiction writers and a lone horror writer. At the beginning, anyway. Alpha is a good place to try something new.

    This doesn’t mean that the judges like fantasy better–those are just the ratios of the submissions we get.

    This slant toward fantasy surely has something to do with the fact that Tamora Pierce comes every year.

    Some people who write what they think of as dark fantasy find that their stories might better be classified as horror.

  41. Melissa M

    Okay. I just reread my story and found about five typos/things I wish I’d seen before so I could change them. 🙁
    So, basically, this is officially the end of the world. Nice knowing you.

  42. Madison

    @Melissa M – *patpat* Don’t we all know that feeling.

    ….. Uhm….. Oops? Guess I said to much, huh? ^^;

  43. Tess

    Well I’m going to join the party. I submitted fairly early last night, but I’m still super nervous. I only hit the age requirement this year, and I just found out about Alpha this year as well. So who all here has been to Alpha before?

  44. Seth

    Hey guys, I’m a former student (06/07) and now an instructor at Alpha. Best of luck to everyone and I’m happy to field any questions.

    Remember, even if you don’t get in this year, there’s always the future. And I can guarantee it’s worth trying again.

  45. Abby

    @Noella – Hi, I went to Alpha last year and I applied again this year, and I also currently attend a fairly famous liberal arts school in Virginia. It’d be awesome if it’s the same one!

  46. Melissa M

    So, I haven’t received a confirmation email that you got my story yet. When should I start worrying?

  47. Lauren

    I’m in the same boat as Melissa M. Submitted last Thursday, double checked that my email actually sent my story in, but no confirmation.

  48. Melissa M

    Okay, I just got my confirmation.
    I hope you get yours really soon, Lauren!

  49. Melissa M

    So now, all we can do is wait. How far away is April 15th?
    Gah. There’s so much stuff that I’m waiting for. Not just this, but a writing contest and an art contest. Also, I’m waiting for my birthday 🙂

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