Five Questions about Finishing School with Julia Patt

Curious about The Storied Imaginarium’s newest workshop, Finishing School? Instructor Julia Patt is here to answer five of your most pressing questions.


What is Finishing School?

Finishing School is a brand new workshop Carina and I have designed to help writers who have a pile of unfinished stories. Some writers have no trouble pulling neglected work out of the drawer and getting it ready for submission. The rest of us often need a little encouragement and incentive.

Finishing School will provide an opportunity for just that. Participants will have monthly deadlines, a supportive group of classmates, a forum for blowing off steam, and time to revise their work. The goal is for everyone to have at least three polished stories ready for submission by the end of the course.

How is Finishing School different from other online workshops?

In my experience, many workshops focus on producing first drafts or developing ideas, which is great and helpful in its own right. But we’re looking at the other end of the process: finishing stories. We’ve also built time into the class to talk about revisions and allow students to resubmit work. This will give writers the rare opportunity to have classmates and an instructor look at a story twice.

You’re new to The Storied Imaginarium. What’s your teaching philosophy?

I’m a strong believer in addressing each story on its own terms. Because no two stories are the same, the dictums we hear about showing and telling, switching points of view, breaking the fourth wall, etc., are not universal. I’m much more interested in discussing what a writer is up to and why than in handing down absolutes.

My own educational background deals with a lot of formalism, so I’m personally interested in how structural choices such as tense, perspective, syntax, and lyricism echo and reinforce thematic elements. In other words, we’ll talk a lot about how different stories (both workshop submissions and published examples) are put together and how they work.

You’ll see some nods to structure in how we’ll deliver critique, too. I’m especially interested in building space for evolving discussions and giving writers room to ask questions, get direct feedback, etc.

Beyond that, everything that’s true of previous Storied Imaginarium workshops is true here–Finishing School will be an inclusive, supportive space.

57b851e9937792179fb01309bac06448--bullet-bra-maria-callasDo I need an MFA or published work to enroll in Finishing School?

No, of course not. While we consider our workshops most appropriate for intermediate writers, what that means can vary significantly. Perhaps you’ve taken other online workshops or you have a writing group that meets twice a month. Maybe you have a few published stories–or more than a few. Do keep in mind that if you’ve never taken a workshop before or done any critiquing, Finishing School might be a bit daunting in terms of workload. But we’re open to writers of diverse backgrounds who are committed to finishing their stories and participating fully in the workshop environment.

Are we really going to talk about etiquette?

Yes! Or rather, we’re going to talk about the challenges of the writing life–submitting your work, writing cover letters, establishing a social media presence, attending conventions, joining critique groups, etc. These will be roundtable discussions where people can share their experiences and exchange ideas.

Finishing School will begin in late January 2018.

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Finishing School, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at The fee to attend the workshop is $600 (discounted to $500 until December 15th), payable to via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Registration packet includes detailed information on each module, expectations and etiquette, and educational materials. Space is limited.

ca. 1900 --- Woman Reclining at Desk Next to Typewriter --- Image by © CORBIS

Submission Roundup

Themed Calls

This online market is open for submissions of speculative fiction aligning with the theme of Gothics (Issue 17). “If you know your eighteenth-century Gothic fiction, send us your homage, pastiche, subversion, or reinvention of a much-loved movement. If you’re of a more modern bent, show us what you got, so long as it’s uncanny. If you write proto-Gothic—which has roots the world over and deep into ancient times—celebrate it. And if you happen to have a story about any of the eponymous Goths (Visi-, Ostro-, or other), we’d love to see that, too, because we don’t get enough historical fiction sent our way.
Word Count: 1,500-5,000 words
Deadline: Rolling
Payment: $.01 CAD per word

India 2049 – Utopias and Dystopias
Mithila Review is seeking submissions for India 2049: Utopias and Dystopias, an anthology of short stories and comics devoted to the exploration of Indian futures, utopias and dystopias, set in India, South Asia or beyond. “We are looking for excellent stories that show in vivid details, through exciting plot and sensitive characterizations, the Indias of the future. This anthology project seeks to represent the multiple imaginations of India and South Asia. We ask writers from around the world to engage in the present to imagine a future, to draw on the problems and possibilities of existing Indian or South Asian societies to think of a future with its own set of problems and possibilities.”
Word Count: 4,000-12,000 words
Deadline: April 30, 2018
Payment: $25 + a digital copy (epub/mobi) of the book. Additional payment contingent on Kickstarter campaign.

NonBinary Review
The editors are looking for fiction (all genres) for the upcoming themed issue on the The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. (NOTE: All submissions must have a clear and obvious relationship to some specific aspect of the source text: a character, episode, or setting. Submissions only related by a vague, general, thematic similarity are unlikely to be accepted.)
Word Count: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: January 31, 2018
Payment: $0.01 per word

Spring Song Press
The editors of the upcoming Shards Anthology (Noblebright, Grimbright, Nobledark, and Other Oddities) are seeking speculative fiction in the noblebright tradition. Submitted stories must address the “Shards” theme in some way; “Shards of lives, shards of a broken heart, shards of broken pottery or glass, shards of myth and memory… be creative! We don’t require “happy” endings, but as a noblebright anthology, we prefer to see hope and generosity rather than nihilism and cynicism.” (NOTE: Fantasy and science fantasy are preferred.)
Word Count: 1,000 to 10,000 words
Deadline: February 1, 2018
Payment: $0.01 per word

Markets of Interest

Liminal Stories
The editors are searching for stories of a particular tone and tenor, regardless of form. “We like stories that are strange and unsettling, sharp-edged and evocative.  Although we will consider any genre, we have a soft spot for weird fiction, magical realism, soft science fiction, and those uncategorizable stories that straddle the line between genres.” Opens for submissions on December 15, 2017.
Word Count: up to 10,000 words
Deadline: January 15, 2018
Payment: $0.06 per word

This online magazine is looking for beautiful writing showing engaging characters in science fiction or fantasy settings. (NOTE: Vegan bonus points.)
Word Count: up to 10,000 words (preferred range 1,000 to 6,000)
Deadline: revolving
Payment: $0.01 per word


Everything Change Climate Fiction Contest 2018
Hosted by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University, this contest is seeking submissions in all genres of short fiction, including speculative, realistic, literary, experimental, and hybrid forms. Guidelines include Imagining Climate Futures, Scientific Accuracy and Understanding, and Climate Challenges, Human Responses. (NOTE: The contest will once again be judged by science fiction legend Kim Stanley Robinson, award-winning author of many foundational works in climate fiction, along with other climate fiction experts from ASU.)
Word Count: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: February 28, 2018
Entry Fee: None
Prize(s): The winning story will receive a $1,000 prize. Nine finalists will receive $50 each.

Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest
This contest is for new and amateur writers of fantasy, dark fantasy, and science fiction. Entrants retain all publication rights. NOTE: The contest is open only to those who have not professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment of at least six cents per word, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits.
Word Count: up to 17,000 words
Deadline: December 31, 2017
Entry Fee: None
Prize(s): Quarterly awards of $1,000, $750, $500 with an additional Grand Prize of $5,000 awarded annually.