Tag Archives: workshops

Drabble Challenge at WisCon 41!

Jess Adams
WisCon Workshops

In the fanfic world, the word “drabble” has at times been applied to a work of any length, provided it is very short. More traditionally, “drabble” is a term that designates a work of fanfiction that is precisely 100 words long. [See Fanlore: https://fanlore.org/wiki/Drabble ].

For the WisCon FanFic Drabble Challenge, we’ll be accepting works that are 100-250 words long, from any fandom. (Though, the challenge would be to create a work that’s exactly 100 words long — bonus points toward your No Prize if you can manage this!) These will be collected and included in a collection on the Archive of Our Own.

The challenge is open from Saturday at 12pm through close of con on Monday at 4pm.

Eligible works will be those that meet the following parameters:

  • Fanfiction based in any fandom
  • 100 – 250 words (You may also have a title that’s up to 15 words long)
  • Written during WisCon weekend

Works can be submitted directly through AO3:

Works can also be submitted to moderator Jess Adams by email at drabbles@wiscon.net, or in hardcopy by visiting the Open Writers’ Salon!

If submitting by email/hardcopy, be sure to include:

  • Your name OR desired pseudonym
  • A means of contact (email address, twitter handle, etc)
  • Name of fandom work is under
  • Ratings and relevant warnings (If necessary, the moderator will apply a rating/warning.)

You are welcome to join us at the Open Writing Salon if you need a space to compose your drabble, or want to drop it off to us!  The Open Writing Salon is in the Private Dining Room in CIRC on the 1st floor.  We’re open:

  • Saturday:  8-10p
  • Sunday:  9-11a
  • Sunday:  8-10p

WisCon Workshops Special Events

Marianne Kirby
Workshops

This year, WisCon Workshops is really excited to offer a couple of very special events. (Well, ALL of our offerings are special. But you know what we mean.)

These events don’t require participants to sign up ahead of time, so drop in and hang out with us as it works for your schedule!

Got a suggestion for a special event you’d like to see next year? Email workshop@wiscon.net any time.

Teen Writing Workshop

Offered in collaboration with Teen Programming, this year we will be offering a chance for teen writers to respond to prompts and share their work with each other. This session will be facilitated in cooperation with teens – by them and for them. Are you a teen writer? Email workshop@wiscon.net if you’d like to be involved in the planning of this event!

Open Writing Salon

  • Friday, 8-10pm
  • Saturday, 9-11am
  • Saturday, 8-10pm — With drive-by drabbling!
  • Sunday, 9-11am — With drive-by drabbling!
  • Sunday, 8-10pm — With drive-by drabbling!

Looking for a quiet place to get some words on the page? Join us every morning and evening from Friday night to Sunday night for an opportunity to share space with other writers. Catch up on email, work on a short story, join in on our WisCon Fan Fic Drabble Challenge — this time and space will be dedicated to taking some time to channel all of that awesome WisCon energy into words. (If other creative folks want to slip in during Salon hours, you’ll be welcome, too.)

WisCon Workshops Participant Mixer — Friday, 12-4pm

In place of the usual post-critique after party, this year we’ll be hosting a mixer event for everyone who has plans to participate in the WisCon Workshops offerings. Get to know your fellow writers, network with artists, and enjoy some light refreshments. Continue conversations from the critique sessions and start new ones about your favorite projects. Come and mingle with us! More information to come.

WisCon Workshops Presents Not Just Writing Sessions

Marianne Kirby
Workshops

This year, WisCon Workshops is looking to serve more than just our population of writers. We love helping people get words on the page but there are other ways to tell stories, too! That’s why we’re offering the a variety of workshops from handspinning to social media for creative types.

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops offering you’d like to see next year? Email any time!

To sign up for a session

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Email workshop@wiscon.net
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time

Sessions offered

Capacity is noted for each session below.

Life Drawing — Saturday, 11am – 1:45pm

Artists of all ages and skill levels are invited to join us for a life drawing session. Clothes are staying on for this one (and a Safety volunteer will be in place to make sure everyone remains comfortable, too). A variety of models, representing a variety of body types, will pose as long as 10 minutes. Bring your favorite materials and make some art! This session will accommodate people according to the room capacity.

Handspinning — Sunday, 2-3:45pm

Attention fiber fans! This session will be an introduction to handspinning with drop spindles for beginners. Intermediate and advanced spinners are very welcome to come help teach if interested. Spinning can be done sitting or standing. Drop spindling requires being able to use two arms/hands and being able to hold your arms in front or to the side of your body. Limited supplies that can be used with a table as support, requiring less arm strength, will also be available. Spindles and spinning fiber will be provided, including both wool and plant-based fiber for those who prefer not to use animals products or who are allergic. Participants will have the option of keeping their spindle. This session will accommodate 15 people so don’t wait to sign up!

How to Social Media for Creative Types — Saturday, 4-5:45pm

Regardless of whether you are a writer or an artist or a performer, social media is an important platform for connecting with your audience. But social media can also be demanding – and there aren’t a lot of resources for navigating it as a professional (or aspiring professional) creative. This session will help people establish a framework for how they want to approach having a relationship with their audience — with an emphasis that one of the approaches can be “I want to put as little work into this as possible so I can spend more time creating!” Avoid the pitfalls of social media; get a plan in place. This session will accommodate 15 people.

How to Moderate Panels Effectively: An Intensive Workshop — Friday, 4-6pm

Sometimes what makes or breaks the value of a panel is the moderation of it. Think of this session as an intense course in steering panels through waters both stormy and way too calm. Using techniques based in pedagogy and classroom management, participants and moderators-to-be will discuss how to help foster discussion, guide a conversation, avoid a runaway panel, and bring more voices into the discussion when it comes time to share the mic. Keeping yourself organized, queuing up comments and questions, and calling on audience members in respectful ways will also be emphasized. This session will accommodate 15 people.

How to Read Tiptree Winners as Models for Resistance — Sunday, 4-5:45pm

Resistance is so vital to our survival right now. Join this session to participate in a discussion of how stories — specifically, Tiptree-winning stories — can serve as a lens for how to enact resistance. Let’s keep each other alive. This session will accommodate 8 people.

WisCon Workshops Presents How To Sessions

Marianne Kirby
Workshops

Stretch your writing craft skills with these sessions, offered on a first come, first served basis — as with our other special sessions, there’s no guarantee these will be repeated!

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops How To you’d like to see next year? Email workshop@wiscon.net any time!

To sign up for a session

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Email workshop@wiscon.net
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time

Sessions offered

How to Write Comics with Kelly Sue DeConnick — Saturday, 2-3:45pm

Hey, comic book friends! Have you been looking for a chance to dip your toe into the world of writing specifically for comics? Have you written a little for comics but been hoping for a chance to learn some tips and tricks from someone seriously in the know? WisCon 41 Guest of Honor Kelly Sue DeConnick, Eisner-nominated author of Bitch Planet, Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel, and more, will be leading writers interested in the comics industry through a special two-hour session devoted to the fundamentals of writing for comics. She’ll break down how writing for comics differs from writing prose or from writing for screen or stage. You won’t need to prepare anything ahead of time but do be ready to take some notes and ask some questions. You’ll leave with a greater understanding of how scripting comics works, plus valuable industry insights. However, please keep in mind that this is not a pitch session. Because this is a one-time-ever (unless she decides to come back!) session, 25 participants will be accommodated.

Writing the Other with Nisi Shawl — Saturday, 10am – 12:45pm

During the 1992 Clarion West Writers Workshop attended by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, one of the students expressed the opinion that it is a mistake to write about people of ethnic backgrounds different from your own because you might get it wrong – and so it is better not even to try. This struck Nisi as taking the easy way out and spurred her to write an essay addressing the problem of how to write about characters marked by racial and ethnic differences. In the course of writing the essay, Nisi realized that similar problems arise when writers try to create characters whose gender, sexual preference, and age differ significantly from their own. Nisi and Cynthia collaborated to develop a workshop that addresses these problems with the aim of both increasing writers’ skill and sensitivity in portraying difference in their fiction, as well as allaying their anxieties about “getting it wrong.” In this special session, Nisi will guide writers through a focused, though abbreviated, version of her Writing the Other workshop. This session will accommodate 16 people.

How to Write Video Games — Saturday, 11am – 1:45pm

Last year, Ceri Young walked folks through the basics of creating their own scripts for video games. This year Ceri is back. If you love the feel of a controller in your hand then you’ll want to sign up for this session – not only will Ceri teach you about scripting and pitching a story in the video game world, she’ll review a basic rundown of how games work and how to apply that knowledge to game design. No video game writing experience is required and you’ll hear about anything needed for your session directly from Ceri before the session meets. This session will accommodate 8 people.

How to Write About Mental Health — Sunday, 4-545pm

It’s easy to fall into cliche or paint people with mental health issues as villains when you’re writing. But inaccurate portrayals cause real harm to people living with mental illness. In this session, JoSelle Vanderhooft will take writers through the various pitfalls of writing about mental health – and how to avoid those pitfalls in order to deal honestly and engagingly with mental health as a characteristic.

WisCon Workshops Fan Fic Offerings

Marianne Kirby
Workshops

WisCon Workshops has been on a quest to expand our offerings — and this year, based on the response at WisCon 40, those offerings include more facilitated sessions for fan fic writers. We’re really excited for these fic sessions and we hope you will be, too. Don’t think a formal session is quite up your alley? Check out the information about our weekend-long Fan Fic Drabble Challenge!

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops offering you’d like to see next year? Email any time!

To sign up for a session

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Email workshop@wiscon.net
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time — Note that the “Fan Fic as a Mid-Length Story” session has an earlier deadline!

Schedule

  • Friday, 9am – noon

The facilitated sessions

  • Each of these fan fic sessions is capped at four participants (unless otherwise noted) plus the facilitator and is first come, first served.

Emily Post Fic Prompts Fest with ladyjax: Part of the fun of fic is putting familiar characters in unfamiliar situations. In this session, Jackie will lead some light writing based around various scenarios presented in Emily Post’s classic etiquette guide. How will your fandom faves fare in these situations? Will they mind their manners or ignore all those rules and face the consequences? This is a generative session – each writer will leave with new work. There is no pre-work required other than signing up by the deadline.

Fan Fic as a Mid-Length Story with Carrie Pruett: Maybe you’re not in the mood to write a multi-chapter fan fic epic, but producing ficlets or drabbles about your favorite characters and universes just doesn’t feel substantial enough to do justice to the story ideas in your head. This session will focus on crafting a mid-length story – roughly 5,000-12,000 words. All fandoms and genres are welcome. Got a “case file” you want the heroes to explore? How about a tale of your favorite characters finally getting together? Do you have an opportunity for your faves to explore an AU? Maybe you have something more experimental. Whether you’re a fic-writing veteran or a fan who has always wanted to give it a try, this session is a chance to craft a new story from the ground up, with the support and feedback of your peers.  NOTE: Because of pre-work, the signup deadline for this session is April 15, 2017.

Porn WITH Plot: Writing Sex Scenes That Tell Your Story with thingswithwings: Porn Without Plot can be awesome, but what about when you want your sex scenes to serve a narrative purpose, too? Join this session to focus on developing well-characterized sex scenes that work toward character and plot development while still being all kinds of hot. This session will accommodate 8 people.

The Drabble Challenge

In addition! This year WisCon Workshops will be hosting a WisCon Fan Fic Drabble Challenge. This will take place over the full course of the weekend, but especially during our Open Writing Salons (more info to come on those). For this challenge, WisCon members are encouraged to write and submit a fanwork drabble of exactly 100 words.

In the fan fic world, the word  “drabble” has at times been applied to a work of any length as long as that length is very short. More traditionally, “drabble” is a term that designates a work of fan fiction that is precisely 100 words long.

For the WisCon Fan Fic Drabble Challenge, we’ll be accepting works of 100 words  from any fandom. These will be collected and included (with permission) in a collection on AO3 (Archive of Our Own). Look for more details during WisCon itself!

The Open Writing Salons

WisCon 41 will also be hosting Open Writing Salons throughout the weekend  for writers of all types — this explicitly includes fan fic writers. Respond to a great panel or party, document one of those classic WisCon Hallway Conversations of Legend, work on those drabbles, and see what happens when you share writing space and let inspiration strike you.

Friday Morning Special Topics

Marianne Kirby
Workshops

WisCon Workshops will be offering sessions all weekend long — but we haven’t forgotten about our Friday morning crowd. That means we have some very special offerings for the early arriving folks at WisCon 41.

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops offering you’d like to see next year? Email any time!

To sign up for these sessions

  • Register for WisCon!
  • workshop@wiscon.net
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time

If you have any questions, email workshop@wiscon.net ASAP!

Schedule

  • Friday, 9am – noon

The sessions

  • Each of these special sessions is capped at four participants (unless otherwise noted) plus the facilitator and is first come, first served.
  • NOTE: Some of these sessions do not necessarily follow the critique format. Please pay attention to any special deadlines and requirements listed for a session!

Genrequeer Writing: Contrary to what purists might tell you, “genre” and “literary” are not distinct categories, but a Venn Diagram with plenty of overlap. Lots of us cross boundaries and write from the interstices, tossing forms and genres into a blender and seeing what comes out. Bring your weird, liminal, slipstream, offbeat, hybrid Frankenstein experiments to this session. Nino solemnly swears that nobody will tell you it’s not “___” enough.

Essay, Creative Non-Fiction, Academic Paper Workshop: Are you working on a piece about feminist science fiction/speculative fiction on which you would like some feedback and critique? Want to have in-depth conversations about non-fiction writing using science fiction texts? Are you looking for space for some small group critique of your manuscript in process? Need help trying to get past an academic publishing hurdle or essay submission? This session is for WisCon participants who write non-fiction about science fiction/speculative fiction and who want an opportunity for manuscript critique and creative collaboration. Given our current political moment and the need to recognize the diversity of lives in this world and beyond, this session will prioritize work that does not center white Western narratives. Preference will be given to writers of color or those with other often marginalized voices. Submit your 3,000-5,000 word piece; focus on brevity and clarity; and, if necessary, submit a part instead of the whole paper. Participant limit for this session is 5 people. Please include an abstract in your cover letter and otherwise follow the guidance offered on the WisCon Workshops page.

Adding Romantic Elements to Your Speculative Fiction: Almost any fiction is better with a dash of romance and/or sexual tension. So what are the key writing tools you need to convey “all the feels” to readers? How can you write dialogue that sizzles on the page like it does in your head? How should romance work in tandem with speculative fiction to make your writing even more engaging? What if you want to say “Screw romance!” and provide deliciously perverse elements of gender, sex, or obsession in your writing instead? This session will address all of these questions – plus Madeline will provide great tips for writing query letters and back cover blurbs that will stand out to agents, editors, and readers.

​Our awesome facilitators

Nino Cipri is a queer and nonbinary trans writer. Their work has been published or is forthcoming from Nightmare Magazine, Tor.com, Fireside Fiction, Interfictions, and other fine venues. Nino is a graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop, and is currently working toward an MFA in fiction from the University of Kansas. A multidisciplinary artist, Nino has written fiction, essays, reviews, plays, comics, and radio features, and performed as a dancer, actor, and puppeteer. One time, an angry person on the Internet called Nino a verbal terrorist, which was pretty cool.

Laurie Fuller is a life-long science fiction fan who knows that we need imagination to figure out ways to create a more just world. She is a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies who uses speculative and science fiction in the classroom. She believes in the power of these texts, and the academic essays written about them, to mobilize readers to consider how to transform the contemporary conditions of oppression and to engender new ways of being in radical, free and accountable societies. She has published articles in journals such as Radical Pedagogy, Radical Teacher, Frontiers, and the Journal of International Women’s Studies.

Madeline Iva got through a particularly gruesome adolescence with the help of romances that not only swept her away but gave her hope for a better future. Her Wicked Magic fantasy romance series focuses on smart women learning to wield their powers for the greater good – and the brooding heroes who are drawn to them. Madeline blogs every Thursday at LadySmut.com (think Jezebel for romance fans), where she writes about SFF romance, pop culture, and her #VALoveFest, a day of romance panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Friday Morning Critique Sessions

Marianne Kirby
Workshops

Finding someone who understands your genre is priceless — that’s why WisCon Workshops is proud to offer Friday morning critique sessions for writers seeking feedback on short and long-form fiction. We are so pleased to announce the facilitators for this year’s sessions and we hope you’re as excited as we are.

Aren’t sure if the critique sessions are for you? Check out more information on our WisCon Workshops page. Or check out our other offerings via the blog’s WisCon Workshops tag!

Aren’t sure who some of our facilitators are? No worries – check out their websites (linked above) and their bios below.

To sign up for a critique session

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Prepare your manuscript (10k or less – more instructions on the WisCon Workshop page!) — complete instructions are on the critique sessions submission guidelines page.
  • Choose your workshop facilitator preference (if you have one).
  • Email all of that to workshop@wiscon.net
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time

If you have any questions, email workshop@wiscon.net ASAP!

Each critique session is capped at four participants plus the facilitator and is first come, first served.

Schedule

  • Friday, 9am – noon

Our awesome facilitators

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky (Tor 2017). She is a raconteur, a bon vivant, a wild and perilous soul. She is always willing to be a bad influence for a good cause.

Eugene Fischer is a writer from Austin, Texas whose work has won the James Tiptree Jr. Award, won place for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and has been nominated for the Nebula Award. He is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. While at Iowa he created and taught the course “Writing and Reading Science Fiction,” the university’s first undergraduate course for genre fiction writing. In addition to his teaching at the University of Iowa, he has run workshops at Armadillocon and led a science fiction writing summer camp for children. He is currently serving as a member of the Tiptree Award jury for 2017.

Mikki Kendall is a writer, diversity consultant, and occasional feminist who talks a lot about intersectionality, policing, gender, sexual assault, and other current events. Her nonfiction can be found at outlets like the Washington Post, Ebony, Essence, Bustle, and more. Her fiction has been published through Revelator magazine and Torquere Press. Her comics work can be found in the Swords of Sorrow anthology, the Princeless charity anthology, and in the CCAD anthology of 2016. She is working on an independent project to be announced later this year.

Marianne Kirby is the author of Dust Bath Revival (Curiosity Quills 2016), book one of the Feral Seasons trilogy. She writes about bodies both real and imagined and plays in the liminal space between vanishing and visibility. Marianne is a long-time writer, editor, and activist; her nonfiction has been published by the Guardian, xoJane, the Daily Dot, Bitch, and others. She is at least semi-professionally fat.

David D. Levine is the author of the novel Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016) and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Levine’s stories have appeared in Asivmov’s, Analog, F&SF, on Tor.com, and in numerous Year’s Best anthologies, as well as his award-winning collection Space Magic.

David J. Schwartz (he/she/him/her) is a Nebula-nominated novelist, essayist, and short story writer who has attended the Odyssey workshop and the Sycamore Hill workshop. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his partner and so. Many. Books.

JoSelle Vanderhooft is a dramaturg and something of a lapsed playwright. She works as a freelance journalist, poet, and fiction writer. Her work has appeared in print and online in such venues as Aofie’s Kiss, Byrarium, Cabinet des Fees, Jabberwocky, Not One of Us, MYTHIC, Mythic Delirium, Reflections Edge, Star*Line, and many others. To date, she has published seven books of poetry. Her first novel, The Tale of the Miller’s Daughter, was released in 2006. She has edited several anthologies, including Sleeping Beauty, Indeed (a book of lesbian fairytales) and Bitten By Moonlight (a book of lesbian werewolf stories).

Welcome to the new WisCon Workshops

Marianne Kirby
Workshops

At WisCon, we believe that stories come in many forms, and can be told across many media.

That’s why, for WisCon 41, we are changing our approach. The old WisCon Writing Workshop will now be known as WisCon Workshops.

What’s in a name change? Why does it matter?

It matters because we want to offer more to our community — that’s y’all. Critique sessions are super valuable and we are always going to provide those for WisCon attendees who are ready for that level of review and feedback. But we are also dedicated to offering up more How To workshops — and more workshops that aren’t for writers at all.

Because everyone deserves support when it comes to telling their story.

That’s why this year you’ll find offerings like Handspinning and Life Drawing in amongst the stuff like How to Write Comic Books with Kelly Sue DeConnick and our Fan Fic Drabble challenge that runs all weekend. The WisCon Workshops team knows that the WisCon community is full of people looking to share their voices. We are here to help, no matter what form that takes.

Got an idea for a future workshop session? Let us know: workshop@wiscon.net. In the meantime, watch this space for blog posts detailing just what’s on offer for WisCon 41! We can’t wait to see you this Memorial Day weekend.

WisCon 41 Workshops

Critique Session Submission Guidelines

  • contact:  workshop@wiscon.net
  • WisCon 41 deadline for applications:  April 25, 2017

Submission details for critique sessions

Joining a WisCon Workshops critique session is as simple as emailing your submission to the workshop coordinator by the deadline advertised at the top of the page. Our workshop welcomes any material that you would submit to a typical speculative fiction market. Your work need not be explicitly feminist. However, your work is unlikely to receive an ideal response if it is misogynist or otherwise offensive in its content or execution.

Your submission should include:

  1. Cover letter. The letter will be shared with everyone in your workshop group including the workshop leader. Your letter should include: a thumbnail description of your manuscript (e.g.: lesbian vampire novel, slipstream space opera story, et cetera), any particular elements of the manuscript that you want your fellow group members to pay attention to during the critique, any preference you have for a workshop leader, a brief statement of your writing credits if any, and any other information that will help us get to know you. The cover letter should be no more than one page.
  2. Your manuscript. You may submit a work up to 10,000 words in length — either a short story or the first few chapters of a novel. More detailed discussions on length are below. Please follow standard manuscript format guidelines when preparing your material. You can find guidance for formatting your manuscript in the resources section at the bottom of this page.

Your materials must be submitted as attachments to your email — please do not copy/paste your submission into the email itself. Attachments should be either RTF or MS Word documents. Once you’ve been assigned to a workshop group, you will receive materials to critique in similar email attachment format, so we strongly encourage you to use an email address for the workshop that can accept large attachments without filling up your inbox.

In the email itself, please confirm that you are registered for WisCon. If you are not registered for the convention by the deadline for workshop submissions, you will not be eligible to participate in the workshop.

Novels

You will be submitting the first chapter (or more) of your novel. Do not submit chapters out of sequence — it’s difficult for people to critique a later chapter of a work they’ve never seen. Your total manuscript should be no longer than 10,000 words.

If your chapters are short, you may submit more than one, but the total word count should not exceed 10,000 words. If your first chapter is longer than the word limit, you may submit the whole thing, but your group members are responsible for critiquing only the first 10,000 words. Do not submit the whole novel.

You may also submit a synopsis (not part of the 10,000-word limit). However, the synopsis is an optional read for the members of your group. They will not be expected to critique this portion of your submission.

Short stories

You will be submitting a short story manuscript. The story must be a complete draft, with an ending. Your manuscript should be no longer than 10,000 words.

If you have a novellette or novella which is longer than 10,000 words, you may submit the whole thing, but your fellow group members are responsible for critiquing only the first 10,000 words.

If your manuscript is longer than 50,000 words, look at the guidelines above for novels.

Flash fiction

If you wish to submit flash fiction (complete stories under 1000 words), you may submit more than one.

The total word count must be no more than 7,500 words. Do keep that it can often be more work to critique multiple short pieces so the word limit is more stringent.

The critique — before and during the session

Our critique sessions are built around the idea that everyone reviews everyone’s work. Your critique should be ready when the session starts, so be sure you can set aside some time before the convention to read and comment on the manuscripts from your fellow workshoppers! During the session itself you’ll give a five-minute summation of your critique on each manuscript.

Before the workshop

You must do a complete read and critique of each manuscript in your group before the convention. The author may ask you to look at particular elements of the manuscript; this will be noted in the cover letter. At minimum, critiques should focus on “hook,” characterization, and plot/pacing.

Prepare a summary or overall critique for each manuscript. The clearest critiques are typed and use complete sentences — this makes it easiest for authors to review and consider your critique after the session. You will bring printed copies of your critiques to the session to give to each of your fellow authors. Printers are available in the Concourse’s business center if you would like to print your critiques once you arrive at the convention.

If you like, you may also make comments in the body of the manuscript — either electronically or on hard copy (i.e., a printout with handwritten notes). If you do make comments directly in the manuscript, you must return the manuscript with commentary to the author along with your summary critique.

If this is your first time offering a critique on someone else’s writing, the resources section at the bottom of this page provides links where you can read up on the fine art of critiquing.

During the workshop

Workshops typically last about two hours, although they may run longer at the discretion of the facilitator. Usually groups critique each author’s work in turn — everyone offers their five-minute critique, with the facilitator going last. At the end of this, the author may offer a short response of about five minutes. Then the group moves on to the next member’s manuscript, and so on.

Each workshopper should walk away with a marked-up manuscript, a bruised-but-optimistic ego, several useful new contacts for their professional network, and copious notes on how to improve their work.

After the workshop

A Mixer follows the critiques sessions (more information will be provided in your workshop section). Relax, let your mind stop thinking about your manuscript for a little while, and spend a few minutes making friends and networking with your fellow workshoppers!

Resources

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) website features many resources on critiquing, standard manuscript preparation, synopsis writing, and more.

Critters is an online writing workshop that contains many articles on how to critique. Also great practice if you’ve never participated in a crit workshop before!

The Online Writing Workshop is another place to get critique practice ahead of WisCon. A small fee is required for participation.

 

WisCon 40 Writers’ Workshop — Announcing our fan fic special workshops

Marianne Kirby/The Rotund
Writers’ Workshop

Hey, fan fic writers! Have you considered the WisCon Writers’ Workshop but been put off by the requirement for original fiction? Are you interested in having conversations about the craft of writing fic? Do you want to connect with other fans who love it just as much as you do?

The WisCon Writers’ Workshop is so very pleased to offer a trio of workshops designed especially for folks who write fan fic. Unlike the workshops we’ve held in previous years, these sessions explicitly address the unique needs of fic writers, without anyone ever having to have a conversation about whether or not fan fic is legitimate. (Because, uh, OF COURSE it is.)

This year is your time. Fan fic facilitators Jackie Gross (ladyjax), Jess Adams (raanve), and Dira Sudis will be leading sections especially — and uniquely — designed for fic writers.

To sign up for a workshop section:

  • Simply email workshop@wiscon.net
  • Indicate which workshop you’d like.
  • Email by April 25 (11:59pm Central Time)!!

Two sections — restarting your fic and exploring tropes — do not require you to prepare a manuscript.  Just email us and we’ll sign you up — that’s it!

The beta reading section does require that you attach a 10k-or-less manuscript to your email.  To prepare your manuscript, please follow the guidelines on the main Writers’ Workshop page.

If you have any questions, email workshop@wiscon.net ASAP!

Each section is capped at four (4!) participants and is first come, first served!

Restart that fic!

Got an old fic that you love but that you just can’t seem to make any progress on? Jackie will be helping people figure out where the love went, where the fire went out, where the momentum was lost. Restart those abandoned fic projects with Jackie! You’ll need to send in your stalled work ahead of time, by the April 25th Workshop submission deadline.

Trope-sploration

Are you a fiend for a coffee shop AU? (I know I am.) Do you lose your inhibitions when contemplating sex pollen? Jess will help people explore how certain tropes can be used to reveal and explore character. No previously written manuscript will be required but you’ll still need to sign up by April 25th!

Beta reading

Finally, because what fic-focused workshop would be complete without an opportunity for folks to get some beta reading done, Dira Sudis will lead writers in a beta reading roundtable to make sure your fic is polished before you post it. Submissions should be ‘No Archive Warnings Apply’ and should not be heavily dependent on intricate knowledge of canon. You’ll need to send your 10k-or-less manuscript in by the deadline of April 25 to make sure everyone has time to read and prepare comments.

Workshop leaders

Who are these amazing fan facilitators? If you don’t already know them from your favorite fandom, check out their bios:

Jackie (aka ladyjax/LadyJ) lives in the Bay Area with the most awesome wife and cat.  She’s written fic for Space: Above and Beyond, Stargate Atlantis, Glee, Criminal Minds, and Leverage, among others. Rumors of the existence of a Twilight pastiche called “Sweet Potato Dusk” are totally untrue.

(Workshop department lead note: Jackie is lying about that “Sweet Potato Dusk” thing — it does exist. And it is MAGICAL.)

Known as raanve everywhere there’s an internet, Jess Adams is a teacher, writer, and fan from southwest Ohio. She holds a BA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and an MA in Composition & Rhetoric from Wright State University. Jess is the author of such MCU fanworks as “The Finest Organic Suspension Ever Devised” and Arthuriana fics as “Into Exile.”  She’s also a First-Year Composition instructor at a community college, so don’t think you’re going to get away with not reading the syllabus.

Dira is originally from Michigan (if you ask her which town, she will point to the location on her right hand) and after several years in Wisconsin she has just recently relocated to Chicagoland. Very recently. There is probably still unpacking awaiting her after the con, don’t ask about it.

Dira has been writing stories since she can remember, and has been publishing fanfic, mostly slash, for her entire adult life. She has accumulated influences ranging from her mom’s collection of Christian inspirational romance novels to 2am shame-browsing on AO3 kink tags and everything in between.

You can tell which character in a story is her favorite because he’s the one who all the really, really terrible things happen to, but of course she’s only mean to fictional people. Of course.


Special sections change from year to year — there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to run these sections in the future. Don’t miss out!

WisCon 40 Writers’ Workshop — Announcing our Comics Writing and Video Game Writing special workshops

Marianne Kirby/The Rotund
Writers’ Workshop

Critique sessions are awesome — but this year the WisCon Writers’ Workshop is shaking things up a little bit with craft workshops. Each craft workshop will focus on introducing a new skill — or a completely new format for your fantastical world creations. This year, we’re rolling out two special sections: Comics Writing and Video Game Writing.

To sign up for a workshop section:

  • Simply email workshop@wiscon.net
  • Indicate which workshop you’d like.
  • Email by April 25 (11:59pm Central Time)!!

The Comics Writing and Video Game Writing workshops do not require that you submit a manuscript. Just email us and we’ll sign you up — that’s it!

If you have any questions, email workshop@wiscon.net ASAP!

Each section is capped at eight (8!) participants, and both are first come, first served!

Comics Writing

If you’ve ever wondered how to break into the comics industry, this Comics Writing workshop is for you. Pro writer Mikki Kendall will be tackling writing for comics as a general topic. She’s going to cover everything from scripting to pitching, and then she’ll review protecting your rights so that you’re never left out in the cold when it comes to your own work. You won’t need a finished manuscript for this how-to session, where you’ll do some exercises, learn some of the business, and leave with a valuable chunk of insider knowledge.

Mikki has some surprises up her sleeve for everyone, too. No comics writing experience is required, and you’ll receive any information about what to bring to the workshop from Mikki before the workshop.

Video Game Writing

Are video games more your speed? If you love the feel of a controller in your hand then you’ll want to sign up for Ceri Young’s Video Game Writing workshop. Ceri will not only teach you about scripting and pitching a story in the video game world, she’ll review a basic rundown of how games work and how to apply that knowledge to game design. You won’t need a finished manuscript for this how-to session either. Instead, you’ll brainstorm ideas and leave with a framework for how game mechanics would fit that story.

Ceri has presented at GeekGirlCon in the past, to rave reviews. No video game writing experience is required, and you’ll hear about anything needed for your session directly from Ceri before the workshop meets.

Workshop leaders

Who are these amazing group leaders? Check out their bios!

Mikki Kendall is a writer who lives in Chicago. She is an accomplished cultural critic and vibrant Twitter personality. Her comics work includes writing for Swords of Sorrow, Princeless, Paths (a free comic about online harassment — Content Warning for non-graphic depiction of suicide), and a number of original projects. She might try to sell you one of her kids on grocery day.

Patrick aka PDillaTheGreat (aka, Mikki’s assistant during the Comics Writing workshop) has social media accounts that he shuns regularly. He illustrates comics, books, and random buttons for internet shenanigans. Despite claims to the contrary he is actually a figment of our collective imaginations.

Ceri Young has been writing video games for nine years. She currently works at Ubisoft Montreal where she’s worked on titles ranging from “Just Dance 3” to “Prince of Persia” to “Assassin’s Creed.” Most recently, she wrote Evie Frye’s storyline for “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.” She can be found on Twitter as @toughlovemuse.


Special sections change from year to year — there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to run these sections in the future. Don’t miss out!

WisCon 40 Writers’ Workshop — Announcing the special sections of our critique-based workshops

Marianne Kirby/The Rotund
Writers’ Workshop

Sometimes it can be tough finding someone who understands your genre. That’s why the WisCon Writers’ Workshop is excited to add two very special workshop sections to the critique-based workshop offerings available at WisCon 40 — one focusing on speculative (paranormal / sci fi / fantasy) romance/erotica stories and one focusing on post-colonialist steampunk.

These workshops follow the format of our traditional Writers’ Workshop sessions, so be sure to look over the information on our workshop page so that you’re ready to send in your submission by April 25!

To sign up for a workshop section:

  • Simply email workshop@wiscon.net
  • Attach your manuscript (see next paragraph)
  • Indicate which workshop you’d like.
  • Email by April 25 (11:59pm Central Time)!!

All our critique-based workshops do require that you attach a 10k-or-less manuscript to your email.  To prepare your manuscript, please follow the guidelines on the main Writers’ Workshop page.

If you have any questions, email workshop@wiscon.net ASAP!

Both sections are capped at four (4!) participants and are first-come, first-served!

Speculative (paranormal / sci fi / fantasy) romance/erotica

Do you like your romance with a stroke of the other worldly? Love your urban fantasy with a generous touch of something sexy? Elizabeth Reeve will be leading a Workshop section focused on the needs of writers of paranormal/sci fi/fantasy romance/erotica. It’s time to show your manuscript some love that includes sex scenes. Particular emphasis will be placed on finding a balance between romantic/erotic elements and speculative elements, all of which advance your plot. Word choice will also be discussed so that your sex scenes make people laugh for all the right reasons. As a bonus, Elizabeth will discuss finding resources for finding publishers.

Be advised, this workshop section requires you to be comfortable reading material that will be sexually explicit to varying degrees.

You’ll need to send in your manuscript of 10k or less (either a short story or novel excerpt) by the April 25th submission deadline.

Post-colonialist steampunk

Are you in love with the intersection of history and speculative fiction, powered by fantastical technologies that never were but should have been? The gears of fortune are turning in your favor then because steampunk postcolonialist Jaymee Goh will be leading a Workshop section devoted to steampunk. This workshop will be especially useful for and welcoming to people who do not center white Western narratives in their steampunk universes.

Preference will be given to writers of color or those with other often marginalized voices. The Workshop regrets that it may not be able to accommodate all applicants to this specific section; however, space will be provided in one of the other critique-based sections provided all materials are received in a timely fashion. There are four slots available, and you’ll need to send in your 10k or less manuscripts (also either a short story or novel excerpt) by the April 25th deadline, so get your submissions in today!

Workshop leaders

So who are the fantastic group leaders taking charge of these adventures? Check out their bios!

Elizabeth Reeve writes speculative romance and erotica with a comedic bent. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two little boys, and an increasingly disgruntled cat. When she’s not writing — or chasing small children and trying to clean their faces — she likes to read, complain about genre television, and sew amusing animal hats.

Jaymee Goh writes fiction, poetry, and academese. Currently a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Riverside, she has contributed to Tor.com and Racialicious.com and been published in Science Fiction Studies, Strange Horizons, and Stone Telling. She recently co-edited The Sea is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia (Rosarium Publishing).


Special sections change from year to year — there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to run these sections in the future. Don’t miss out!