Frequently Asked Questions
How much time will I get with the instructors?
Unless there's a change, you will have a group critique with two instructors and several other students, then one-on-ones with two other instructors separately. That's time with four of the instructors focused completely on you and your writing. Generally the other instructors are willing to do additional one-on-ones, as long as they have time to fit you in.
What makes VP different from the other major SFF writers' workshops?
The biggest difference is probably length. Most of the other major workshops are six weeks long. VP is one week, which is a much more manageable (and realistic) time period for most people to commit to something like this. Because of the shorter length every day is packed full.
I heard there's a lot of writing assignments.
There are some writing assignments. This is a good thing. For many VP alums the story they started at VP ended up being their first sale.
Martha's Vineyard is an island? How do I get there?
There are two ways to get to the island: ferry or plane. See the more detailed travel page for information on this. Sorry, spaceship travel is not available at this time, unless you have access to your own.
Will I need a car?
No. VP staffies have cars so you won't need one. They will pick you up at your Martha's Vineyard arrival point (Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven) and drop you back off at the end of the week. If you need transport to the grocery store they'll do that too. Oak Bluffs is within walking distance and the walk is basically flat and very scenic.
My husband/wife/mother/kids want to come with me. Should I let them?
Eric Griffith (VP XI) said this in his blog "Tip for future VP attendees: if you bring a spouse, at some point they will get short shrift or you will ignore your new buds. Either way, you lose. Keep it in mind."
That basically sums it up. Family members are welcome, but as a student at the workshop your days are scheduled and when things aren't scheduled you'll probably want to spend time making connections with your fellow VP students. But, some people find that they like having the family support with them. You'll have to carefully consider your relationship with your tag-a-long and what is more important for you: support while you're at the workshop, or making better connections for support after the workshop.
What are the rooming options at the Island Inn?
The Island Inn's website shows various rooming options, but know that there are only two options in the main building: condo suite and townhouse. You'll want to stay in the main building. Most/all VPers (including the instructors and staff) stay in the main building. The conference room that the workshop uses is on the bottom floor, the condos are on the floor above, and the townhouses on the two floors above that.
How do I find someone to share a room with?
After you get your acceptance letter/e-mail join the Yahoo group. While some people decide to room by themselves, there will be other students looking for roommates. The condo suites and the townhouses each have three total beds and a couch.
What's the food situation?
Staff serve a communal dinner Sunday through Friday, except for Wednesday when it may be lunch. You'll have to fend for yourself for breakfast and lunch, but the rooms have kitchenettes so you'll not be without the means to make yourself those meals. Staff will take you to the grocery store, though students have been known to bring food with them to save themselves that effort. Plus, food on the island can be more expensive than elsewhere. There's usually coffee available all day in the conference room.
What are my chances of getting in?
If you don't apply: 0%. So, apply and don't worry about what your chances are. As you will learn at VP: don't worry about the things you can't control. What you can control is trying to get your submission piece as good as you can before you mail it. Then send it out and work on the next thing. Remember that you won't know if you can get in if you don't apply. The worst thing that can happen is rejection, and as a writer you're probably no stranger to it.
I've seen a lot of references to Mafia and Thing. What are they?
They're games that can be played with a large number of people and require little movement.
Are there really glow in the dark jelly fish?
Yup. And they're really cool!
Last updated September 2008