I've thought that maybe we could reduce costs by having a bunch of people share hotel rooms.
We could do the same thing with meals. We could go in together on things like cold cut sandwiches for lunch. Some of the hotel rooms have kitchens, which could certainly be worth it if we plan ahead. I'm one of those folks who life about 1/2 hour away, so it suddenly seems more expensive to me. But I would also be able to coordinate a menu and grocery shopping before.
It's definitely worth the money. The writing workshop part in Greensboro was very interesting and informative (kinda like an interactive lecture with homework). The bootcamp was amazing, though, and well worth the extra cash.
I don't know how many people OSC's allowing this year. Last year it was 20, and he had said that was a lot and that he was thinking of cutting the number back. The bootcamp portion is intense, and requires a lot of work both in the meeting room and out.
If they offer some sort of on-campus housing, I definitely suggest you live in it (though, OSC had said he was thinking of making that mandatory). In Greensboro, about 12 of the bootcampers were in oncampus housing, while the other 8 were not. The 12 of us bonded more easily, I think, and there was always someone in the hall to bounce ideas off of, use as an editor, or talk about stories you read for class.
There were also meal vouchers for the cafeteria, but if that's offered again, my advice would be to skip them. I didn't end up using mine, anyway. The whole class would go out in one or two groups to lunch around town, and we'd chat and get to know each other more there.
If anyone has any questions about specifics, I'll do my best to answer them - or if you want to email me, my email address is in my profile (I think).
I'm with Matt -- Boot Camp was well worth the money, even though I *definitely* couldn't spare it at the time. My writing is at a much higher level than before Boot Camp, though only one of us Boot Campers has "made good" so far (James Maxey, who was one of the winners of the Phobos fiction contest and who recently made a sale to a pro e-zine).
I almost didn't go at the last minute because my then-4-year-old son's mother backed out of taking care of him at the last minute. In the end I was so dead set on going that I brought him with me, found him a drop-in daycare situation during the day and a well-recommended babysitter at night, and just burned the candle at both ends (as well as in the middle). Even with all this extra expense (had to get a hotel rather than campus housing, had to rent a car, etc.), it was well worth it.
It was extremely tiring and demanding, but I shudder to think how long it would have taken me to learn the same lessons without going. And in my fellow Boot Campers, I've found a community of supportive, intelligent, talented writers who help encourage and inform me.
Oh, and may I say that OSC was just a remarkably thoughtful and considerate host throughout.
Writing Class was a lot of fun as well, though not nearly so intense as Boot Camp. I can definitely recommend that for people who can easily get to it.
As I understand it, there are 18 Boot Camp spots this year. Since last year's was in NC, I wouldn't be surprised if next year's is in another location (northeast? southeast? midwest?) or back in NC, but that's just a guess.