Ms. Butler was a true original, from her outer appearance, to the workings of her mind, to her fierce themes, to her stellar artistic output. Happy birthday to her. Here's a brief para on what she tasked us with at Clarion West.
"Octavia Butler has been good: succinct, regal, clear, powerful, and encouraging. It's been so amazing to have her, a literary god, commenting on our creations, talking about our characters as if they are people she knows, giving serious consideration to the tales we presented to her. She gave us three tasks: 1. When working on a story, write one sentence that contains the character, the conflict, and the resolution and keep that sentence near you as you write your story. It will keep you from veering off into left field. Most of us found we had great character and conflict but no resolution. 2. Write down point by point, an emotionally wrenching experience we had. Take that emotion (you can use the situation too if you want, but it's not necessary to), and use it to build a story around. 3. Submit, submit, submit."
We carry on in her fierce talent, sharp mind, and unyielding vision.