Tag Archives: workshops

Sign Up for Our Intro to Vidding Workshop

Do you love the WisCon Vid Party? Are you interested in learning how to make your own vids? Sign up for our Intro to Vidding workshop on Friday, 9 am to noon, with eruthros. There will be eight spots open for the workshop, and you will need to bring your own laptop that is capable of installing recommended software to be used during the session. (You will be sent the technical details via email.)

To reserve your spot for the session, send an email to workshop@wiscon.net. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis; anyone who signs up after the available slots are filled will be added to a waitlist.

Sign Up for Workshops!

Greetings from your friendly WisCon Workshop team! Did you know that in addition to the dozens of fantastic panels that are offered at WisCon each year, there are oh so many chances for you to indulge your creativity? This year, we are offering a variety of critique sessions, workshops, and open salons. Some of these have an upcoming deadline (April 25th!) and require signups, but others are very much a drop-in. To learn more the various workshops and critique sessions, click here, or read below to find out about our offerings this year. If youre interested in signing up, email workshop@wiscon.net!

Critique Sessions

The deadline for critique sessions is April 25, 2018. Critique sessions take place on Friday morning, scheduled from 9am to noon. See here for instructions on what to send as part of your signup email! This years amazing critique session facilitators are:

For short stories:

  • Vylar Kaftan
  • Charlie Jane Anders
  • Eugene Fischer

For novellas:

  • Nino Cipri


For novels:

  • JoSelle Vanderhooft

Special Sessions

But wait, theres more! Our special sessions are pretty great this year. Some require signing up ahead of time; others will be open for drop-ins.

First, our salons!

These salons are open sessions and will be led by facilitators who can offer advice and hands-on assistance whether youre a beginner or just looking for a space to get some work done. These will be in the schedule once its out, so dont forget to look!

  • Knitting and Fiber Salon
  • Morning and Evening Writing Salons
  • WisCon Workshops Mixer meet and greet with your fellow creatives!

Reserved Workshops

These sessions require sign up prior to the workshop. Sign ups for these workshops are open until May 21 or until all slots are filled. Email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve your space!

  • Sensory WritingSaturday from 10am to noonuse your senses when writing with JoSelle Vanderhooft.
  • Writing the Other Saturday from 3 to 5pm learn how to write characters different from your own identity respectfully with Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford
  • How to Write Mental Health Issues Sunday from 1 to 3pm explore how to write character with mental health/mental illness as part of their identity with JoSelle Vanderhooft
  • How to Carve Erasers for Block PrintingSaturday from 1 to 3pm led by Candra Gill

Open Sessions

These workshops do NOT require signups so feel free to drop in! You can also email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve a guaranteed space and help us anticipate attendance.

  • Leadership and Community Building for Small Groups Saturday from 1 to 3pm address specific leadership issues that pop up in subcultures and volunteer-run groups with Shauna Aura Knight
  • Learn How To Fancy Braid Saturday from 1 to 3pm learn how to braid hair with John Wardale
  • Lessons for the Not-Quite-Pro Writer Saturday from 10am to noonexplore how to navigate social media, submissions, and writing workshops with Nibedita Sen
  • Nobody Goes It Alone: A Riff on Character Relationships and Romancing the BeatSaturday from 10am to noon explore character relationships with Dayna K Smith
  • Life Drawing Saturday from 3 to 5pm gather and draw from live models
  • Biology Bursts Binaries Saturday from 4 to 6pm use biology to break down binary sex/gender concepts in character creation with Elena Tabachnick, Kit Stubbs, and Elisa Derickson Krueger
  • 5 Core Components of Scene Structure Saturday from 7 to 9pm learn to use goal-oriented storytelling to cement the foundations of their scenes with R R Campbell
  • Facilitation Skills for Authors, Artists, and More Sunday from 4 to 6pm learn techniques for leading meetings and workshops with Shauna Aura Knight
  • Astrophotography Sunday from 1 to 2:30pm learn a cool new hobby with Rachel Konick
  • Spiraling Down; Spiraling Out; Connecting to the Imagination Sunday from 1 to 3pm participate in writing exercises to spark connection to creativity and deepen craft with Lisa Bergin
  • Emergency Room, ICU, and Burns: Medical Knowledge for Writers 10am to noon learn about injuries and what a character could survive with Erin Cashier
  • Genetics for Writers Sunday from 10am to noon attend a genetics primer with Keffy Kehrli
  • Conflict as Fuel for Momentum Sunday 10am to noon dive deep into the importance and use of conflict in stories with R R Campbell
  • How to Get Inspired, Find Time to Write, and Be Happy While Doing It Sunday from 3 to 5pm confront issues of scheduling, exhaustion, and other pains of the busy writer with Alisa Alering and Rebecca Adams Wright

We cant wait to see you at WisCon!

Get More WisCon: Sign Up For a Workshop!

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood Workshop department! Did you know that beyond the panels, panels, and more panels that we are all SUPER EXCITED ABOUT, there’s even more WisCon out there for you? We’re talking about Workshops! Workshops are more responsive, participatory sessions, and while some require preparatory work on your part, some of them are very drop in! Read below to find out offerings this year, or click here for more general information about how Workshops, um, work. If you’re interested in signing up, read the descriptions and email workshop@wiscon.net!

Critique Sessions

The deadline for critique sessions has been extended to May 1, 2018. Critique sessions take place on Friday morning, scheduled from 9am to noon. See here for instructions on what to send as part of your signup email! This year’s amazing critique session facilitators are:

For novels and short stories:

  • Eugene Fischer
  • David Levine
  • Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Nino Cipri

For short stories:

  • Vylar Kaftan
  • Charlie Jane Anders

For romance/erotica:

  • Elizabeth Reeve

Special Sessions

But wait, there’s more! Our special sessions are pretty great this year. Some require signing up ahead of time; others will be open for drop-ins.

First, our salons!

These salons are open sessions and will be led by facilitators who can offer advice and hands-on assistance whether you’re a beginner or just looking for a space to get some work done. These will be in the schedule once it’s out, so don’t forget to look!

  • Knitting and Fiber Salon
  • Evening Writing Salons

Reserved Workshops

These sessions require sign up prior to the workshop. Sign ups for these workshops are open until May 21 or until all slots are filled. Email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve your space!

  • Storytelling – Friday from 9am to noon – The art of telling a story with Susan Ramirez
  • Speculative Fiction and the Academy – Friday from 9am to noon – Writing about spec fic in the academy with Laurie Fuller
  • Introduction to Vidding – Friday from 9am to noon – The basics of vid making with eruthros
  • The Anatomy of a Retelling – Saturday from 8am to 10am – How to adapt and retell well-known stories with Joselle Vanderhooft
  • Lessons for the Not-Quite-Pro Writer – Saturday from 10am to noon – How to deal with rejection, pick markets, write cover letters, track submissions, plan for conventions and other exciting topics with Nibedita Sen
  • Filing Off the Serial Numbers – Sunday from 8am to 10am – How to turn fan fiction into original fiction with Joselle Vanderhooft

Open Sessions

These workshops do NOT require sign ups so feel free to drop in! You can also email workshop@wiscon.net to reserve a guaranteed space and help us anticipate attendance.

  • Neopronouns – Friday from 4pm to 6pm – How to use neopronouns in fiction – S. Qiouyi Lu
  • Art In Your Pocket – Sunday from 10am to noon – Making artist trading cards (ATCs) with a WisCon theme – Mary Prince
  • Introduction to Embroidery – Saturday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn the basics of embroidery or bring your own project to work on – Candra Gill
  • How to Read for Fun and Profit – Sunday from 1pm to 3pm – Learn how to choose the best selections and perform your readings for maximum audience engagement – Keffy Kehrli
  • Libre Planet – Sunday from 3pm to 5pm – Learn how to program! – Morgan Lemmer Webber
  • Teasecraft – Sunday evening (time TBD) – It’s a kinky crafter meetup with projects and discussion – Kit Stubbs


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, May 27, at 12pm through close of con on Monday at 4pm to Monday, June 5, at 11:59pm Central Time (extended!).

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

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

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

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

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!


  • 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

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!


  • 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

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.


  • 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

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

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.


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!