Literary Boot Camp was in the beginning of July of this year, and taken together with Uncle Orson's Writing Class, lasted almost a full week. "Boot Camp" is a good description, since we didn't get much sleep and did critique after critique. I can't speak for other participants, but it was exactly what I needed, helping me understand specific problems a story can fall prey to and how to avoid them, as well as what the feeling of something that's really working is. Ah, that's a bad summary. Anyway, I got a lot out of it. It was at the University of North Carolina/Greensboro.
I understood that this was the first time he had tried this format, which is to say an intense critique group with this many (20) writers in it. The schedule was basically this: Some really good lecture and exercises during Uncle Orson's Writing Class (much of which covered the territory in OSC's _Character and Viewpoint_, although of course much better than can be done in a book alone), then a break over the Fourth of July during which we each wrote a story, then intensive critique of the stories and all of the learning that came with that for the actual Boot Camp part.
I don't know if he expects to do it again the same way, but the way it worked this time was that a notice was posted here and on the UNCG Web site (and probably elsewhere). To get in, you submit the first page of a story, and then up to 20 people are chosen from the group that submits.
The cost was substantial (I think in the neighborhood of $700, not counting travel or lodging or anything) and for me worth every penny. If I succeed in breaking down Gordon Van Gelder's (F&SF) or Gardner Dozois's (Asimov's) endurance and finally get something published, I should probably earn that back in a scant ten years or so of short story writing. (Kidding, just kidding. But I will wear them out. One day they'll finally say, "Another Luc Reid story? Oh, for cripes' sake, just buy the damn thing and get it off my desk. Why can't he just leave us alone?")
[This message has been edited by PaganQuaker (edited September 07, 2001).]