Speculative Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop

Speculative Science Fiction Writers Workshop

The Sasquan Writers Workshop is divided into several sections of small critique circles for either experienced or beginning writers, based on the principle that good critiquing skills make good writing skills. Sasquan provides full attending members the opportunity to have their manuscripts evaluated by selling writers and industry professionals who enjoy helping them grow as artists.

As of this writing, the following selling writers, agents, editors, and experienced moderators (several in combinations thereof) have agreed to participate in the writers workshop:

  • Gerri Balter
  • Jennifer Carson
  • ElizaBeth Gilligan
  • Edward Muller
  • G. David Nordley
  • James Van Pelt

More pros are signing up every day and we’ll update accordingly. We can promise at least one professional will be critiquing each entrant’s submission, but we usually like to provide three professionals and a moderator for three submissions. Alas, entrants cannot choose which pros will be evaluating their work.

How it works

This is not a competition. Participants work in a quiet, secluded room to elaborate on the story structure, logistics, and style of the entrants’ submissions. Due to the critical nature of this workshop, it is not recommended for anyone under 18 or anyone who is sensitive to criticism.

All manuscripts must be submitted in advance, since there will be no on-the-spot reading for critiques. You will also need to be prepared to attend your section, which can be assigned any of the five days (and we do emphasize that includes Wednesday, August 19, and Sunday, August 23, if response is great enough) at the convention. Each section lasts three hours.

There is a nominal entry fee that covers workshop costs. Multiple submissions are accepted; however, the entry fee is for one manuscript only. Because of possible limitations in scheduling, we can only guarantee that one submission per member will be workshopped. Please specify the priority by which you want your manuscripts workshopped. Second submissions are scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis as space allows. We ask payment for one entry to start. If we can fit in the second, then we will contact the entrant for payment for any additional manuscripts.

Entrants are not permitted to pay double the fee to double the word limit. Collaborative teams are treated as a single entity except when it’s time to critique. Likewise, two or more short stories count as two or more entries, regardless of whether they’re under the word limit when combined.

Workshop registration closed June 24.

Workshop requirements

Manuscripts may be either short stories or novel excerpts. Stories must be either science fiction, fantasy, gothic/horror, or have a fantastic element of some kind.

All submissions must be received in pdf format at the writers workshop address no later than June 24, 2015.

Manuscript submissions can have up to 7,500 words. Manuscript format should conform to general professional submission standards. (For those who need more information on how to properly format a manuscript for submission, The Writer’s Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats, by Dian Dincin Buchman and Seli Groves, is one resource for this information.)

Longer pieces or novels must include a summary covering the entire plotline with a writing sample (the beginning is preferred). The summary counts as part of the 7,500 words. For summaries, however, manuscript formatting is less formal. (This is for a workshop, where it’s more important for the other participants to understand the intent of the story.) However, please ensure it is readable.

Manuscripts must be accompanied by:

  • A cover letter (which is not a cover sheet) that includes entrant’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and Sasquan membership number.
  • Entry fee payment of $25.00 for the writers workshop will be verified by the workshop coordinator before the manuscript is processed. Please don’t send payment for additional entries until we contact you. We need to ensure there is space for them.
  • Please direct all entries (and queries regarding the Sasquan Writers Workshop) to writersworkshop@sasquan.org.
    Please see our group on Facebook for suggestions and more details about the workshop.