“Shared Worlds” Offers A Creative Alternative To Summer Camp

Geek Culture

Looking for a summer camp for your teen that offers something a little different? How about an immersive two-week program where students work with noted authors to create a detailed world, then use their shared creation as a basis for writing fiction, creating art and even game design? If this sounds like something one of your kids might be interested in, “Shared Worlds” still has openings available.
Summer camp season is fast approaching and you’ve already seen a few posts on Geekdad about upcoming options (including Dave’s post on Technology Camps and Lonnie’s, but the 2009 “Shared Worlds” program at Wofford College (located in Spartanburg, South Carolina) offers a truly unique summer experience in a stimulating and creative atmosphere.

The Assistant Director of “Shared Worlds” 2009 is author Jeff VanderMeer, whom regular GeekDad readers will recognize from a number of posts over the past few years including Pirate Week and a download of his book The Situation (and yes, you can still get a free PDF copy via the link if you haven’t done so already). Students spend their time working with instructors, authors and teaching assistants in a worldbuilding exercise, collaboratively creating a new world, complete down to details such as history, languages and economy, then use this new world as a basis for fiction, art, music and game design. Creativity and collaboration are key in “Shared Worlds,” with problem-solving, communication skills and creative writing all emphasized. Besides, Jeff, other instructors for this year’s workshop include author Holly Black of Spiderwick Chronicles fame, New York Times bestselling sci-fi author Tobias Bucknell and Weird Tales fiction editor Ann VanderMeer.

In case you were concerned about kids being inactive for two weeks, no worries; physical activity is covered off as well with an hour and a half per day scheduled for low impact athletics.

Between 36 and 48 students from grades 8 through 12 with a minimum B+ average and an interest in creative writing are eligible to attend. The program runs from July 19 through August 1. Tuition of $2,250 includes room and board, instruction and program materials.

This clip from last year’s “Shared Worlds” shows Jeff interacting with students and offers an interesting glimpse at what students attendees can expect.

A final word on Jeff VanderMeer’s recent activities. For those of us who enjoy writing but are a little too old to sneak under Shared Worlds’ age ceiling, Jeff has written Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer, currently available for pre-order; a guideline for self-promoting authors that tackles social media and the Internet, among other topics.

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