Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

The 2015 Writing Excuses Retreat Scholarships

As we announced in October, the third annual Out of Excuses Retreat will be bigger and better than ever, complete with guest instructors, more face-time with the podcasters, and, oh yeah, a Caribbean cruise. With all of that awesomeness to live up to, we’re amping up the scholarship as well. The first year we offered a scholarship based on monetary need, and the second year we offered one based on diversity. This year, we’re offering both.

The Carl Brandon Society Scholarship

We were so happy with last year’s scholarship that we are once again partnering with the Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. The scholarship applications will be reviewed by a selection panel from the Carl Brandon Society.

The Out of Excuses Scholarship

Our second scholarship will be based on monetary need–someone who can’t afford to attend the Retreat on their own. As with the first year, this scholarship will be judged by the podcasters.

Each scholarship offers full tuition, a bed in a double occupancy room, and up to $500 of travel expenses to and from our departure port in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Because the food on the cruise is free, this covers essentially all of your expenses for the week. You may apply to either scholarship, but only to one of them (even if you qualify for both).

These scholarships are very popular, and get a lot of applicants, so this year we’ve streamlined the process a little to help handle the volume. Please read the instructions carefully, and follow them exactly: Incomplete applications will be disqualified. To apply, please prepare the following scholarship package, and send it to [email protected] with the subject line: “Scholarship Application: [name].”

  1. This cover sheet, filled out completely: Name: [name]Email: [email]Phone Number: [number]

    Scholarship: [“Carl Brandon Society” or “Out of Excuses”]

    I confirm that my scholarship is complete, including: a personal essay, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.

    Personal Essay word count (between 450-700 words): [insert word count here]

    Letter of Recommendation 1: [Name of recommender]

    Letter of Recommendation 2: [Name of recommender]

    Letter of Recommendation 3: [Name of recommender]

    Writing Sample total word count (1-3 pieces, limited to 10,000 total words): [insert word count here]

  2. A single attachment (.doc) containing all of the following, in order:
    1. Personal Essay: A 450-700 word personal essay explaining why you are a good candidate for the scholarship. What makes you unique? What can you bring to our group that no one else can? Keep in mind that even as we focus on “need,” the panel will be reviewing your writing in terms of “merit” as well.
    2. Letters of Recommendation: Three brief letters of recommendation (no more than 300 words each) from people who are not your relatives: friends, bosses, people from your writing group, anyone who can tell us exactly how awesome you are. Please note the change this year that we would like all three letters to be included in the scholarship package, and not to be emailed individually; we’ve had too many letters go astray, and we want to give you the chance to personally make sure every aspect of your scholarship package is complete before submitting it. If you have a concern with this, please contact Chersti Nieveen at [email protected].
    3. Writing Sample: A brief example of your writing, consisting of 1-3 separate pieces and totaling no more than 10,000 words. These can be short stories or novel excerpts. Don’t feel obligated to fill the word count: if you can wow us in less, more power to you.

Again: make sure to send everything in one email or your application will be disqualified; please review it several times, or have a friend or family member review it for you, because we will eject you on a technicality, just like an editor or publisher would. We’d much prefer to read your awesome writing and give you a scholarship.

The application period for both scholarships opens on January 17, 2015, at 9am EST, and closes at midnight EST, March 14. We will contact the winners in May, and announce them officially the morning of May 18.