Description and Delivering Information for Genre Writers
How to Deliver Information and Build a World Without Slowing Down Your Story
Delivering information, particularly through description, is one of the hardest tools for a writer to refine. Too much information and a reader drowns or feels overburdened; too little and they are lost and unable to connect with the story. How do you convey what the reader needs to know without confusing, alienating, or boring them? How do you subtly introduce clues and foreshadowing without being obvious? How do you create a world that comes alive for your reader and makes them want to keep reading?
In a combination of lecture, writing exercises, and examples, this class will show you how to convey what your reader needs to know without calling attention to the act. You'll learn how to make the most of descriptive moments: how to use them to advance the plot, provide props for later use, deliver insight into character and relationships, and more.
Cat Rambo is engaging, personable, and supportive, providing insight, encouragement, and inspiration to students who want to pursue writing and publishing speculative fiction. She has been teaching classes and workshops for over three decades at levels ranging from 5th/6th graders through college, graduate level, and continuing at institutions including the Johns Hopkins University, Indiana University, Bellevue College, Clarion West, the PNWA conference, and more.
Her credentials include a MA in writing from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, where she studied with John Barth and the Clarion West Writers Workshop and the Clarion West workshop, where she studied with Octavia Butler, L. Timmel DuChamp, Andy Duncan, Gordon van Gelder, Michael Swanwick, and Connie Willis. She has been nominated for the Compton Crook Award for First Novel, as well as Endeavour, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards and is the former editor of Fantasy Magazine. Her own work includes over 200 short stories, several novels, a cookbook, a guidebook to Baltimore, and Creating an Online Presence for Writers. She is a two-term former President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Her upcoming works include Exiles of Tabat from Wordfire Press (2020) and You Sexy Thing (Tor MacMillan, 2021).
She founded the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers in 2009. Students have gone on to publish novels and amass award nominations and wins, including Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Eppie Awards. In the past decade, she’s assembled some of the most talented and inspiring writers and teachers working in the genre today, each speaking on their areas of expertise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some testimonials from past students:
- Wanted to crow and say thanks: the first story I wrote after taking your class was my very first sale. Coincidence? nah….thanks so much. -K. Richardson
- Cat is a fun tutor with plenty of experience as both a fiction writer and a professional editor. She has plenty of sound, practical advice to offer, and the writing exercises are enjoyable. -Cheryl Morgan
- On the literary techniques in speculative fiction class: Not only do I feel like I isolated some important bridges between literary and genre fiction, I also feel like I came away with a treasure trove of secrets and information pertaining to real life career, time management, and market considerations. I came away feeling deviously lucky — like a lotto winner. -Camille Griep
- I took Cat’s editing class and it was such a help and quite delightful. She’s a great teacher, a fun person, and she keeps it light and entertaining while still helping you learn and grow. – Bryan Thomas Schmidt
If you have questions, drop me a line at [email protected]!