A new interview at my alma mater
When I was but a fledgling, I was unable (or perhaps unwilling) to find a local writing group. I was traveling for work a lot, and I didn't really think that sort of thing would work for me. Plus, I'll admit that the idea of receiving feedback face-to-face scared the bejeezus out of me. So a "remote" workshop, thought young Bradley P., would probably work best. After searching around and trying a few, I found the Del Rey Writing Workshop, which at the time was sponsored by, you guessed it, Del Rey. A year or so later, Del Rey divested itself and the workshop forged ahead as the Online Writing Workshop, or the OWW, as its inhabitants affectionately referred to it. Initially it was dedicated to fantasy and science fiction, but they later added horror to the mix.
The OWW was invaluable for me coming up as a writer. It got me from neophyte status to journeyman, and I think it's very much worth your time to check out if you're looking for a group of peers to read and critique your work. I like the system that they have in place, which forces you to earn critique points by reviewing the works of others, because let's face it: there's nothing like reviewing stories by a wide variety of people to help you learn your chops.
When I was approached by Maria Zannini for an interview, I jumped at the chance. The interview itself just went live in their current newsletter. Here's a brief excerpt from the interview:
What would you say was your first big writing break and how did it come about?
Gosh. This is hard to pick, but I'm going to have to say my first sale of any kind was my first big break. I "sold" my story "The Secrets of the Shoeblack" to Deep Magic way back in 2003. I'd been working hard at my craft up until that point, and although the sale wasn't for any money (Deep Magic was a "for the love" market), it really boosted my confidence. I was flying high after that sale, particularly after it appeared in the zine. I wouldn't say I had a lack of confidence by the time I sold that story, but I knew enough to know that breaking in was hard–really hard–and I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever have the chops to succeed in writing. The sale to Deep Magic gave me the confidence to go on.