I got back from OSC's writing class in Utah a few days ago, and I really enjoyed it. It gave me a few story ideas (one of which I'm working on right now), and I got to see the man himself.
Much of his advice can be found in his books "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy" and "Character and Viewpoint". (MICE, third person limited, how to write openings, etc.) However, the benefit of the class separate from the books is in the little exercises, the experience critiquing story openings, and the ability to ask questions.
I applied the lessons I learned to the next book I happened to read: William Gibson's Virtual Light, which I enjoyed. Gibson "violated" some guidelines discussed in the class. The book starts a few chapters sooner than it could, and the characterization represented by these chapters could have been "remembered" by the characters (like all other memories) without changing the story. Beginning it later moves the reader sooner to answering the "why do I care?" question. The story really begins where Chevette stole the glasses because this is what the ending and story is all about, so this seems like the logical place to open the story.
Discussing fiction with other students, I learned about several authors that I didn't know about that I might read such as Vernor Vinge, Brian Sanderson, and Robin Hobb.
As an added bonus, we got to see a possible opening to Card's upcoming Mithermages series. Cool!
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