Artwork from the Artist Guest of Honor ORYCON 30       DAYS OF FUTURES PAST
A Science Fiction/Fantasy Retrospective
November 21-23, 2008
ORC Information
Last updated August 11 2008
Open Read & Critique (ORC) is an opportunity to read a portion of your short story or novel aloud to your peers. Your work is then critiqued Clarion-style in round-table marathon sessions focusing on either the first 250 words or excerpts up to 2000 words.

What is ORC?

ORC stands for Open Read & Critique.

How does an Open Read & Critique (ORC) work?

In an Open Read & Critique (ORC), we use the following process to maximize the number of readings we can fit into an evening:

  1. Author reads from his/her material to a group of peers in a relaxed, informal round table setting.
  2. During the reading, attendees jot down notes to read from and give to the author after critiquing.

After the reading, each attendee provides feedback in a Clarion-style critique. While the following guidelines serve as a reference, the session leader is free to adjust as needed to the conditions of the session:

  1. Reading and critique time limits to be set by session leader.
  2. No questions should be asked of the author. If they are, the reader may respond to them only after all critiques have been read.
  3. Critiques are done one person at a time, interruptions are not allowed. If you agree or disagree with the current speaker, make a note of it for your feedback.
  4. Critiques will be directed only to work read, not critiques given by others.
  5. Only the art and craft of the work may be critiqued - not content.
  6. Errors in grammar, usage, etc. are written in notes, not given orally.
  7. After each critique is given, notes taken during the reading are provided to the author to keep.
  8. Readers may not explain their work in advance, or defend it against critiques given. If explanation is necessary, the work needs more work!

For many this is an opportunity to receive peer-to-peer feedback on a manuscript before sending it out to agents and editors. ORCs are geared to help pinpoint possible problematic issues of character, structure, and prose in order to facilitate your ability to market a commercially viable manuscript. If you are reading your work, ORC leader(s) ask that in all fairness, you try to stay long enough to give your critique to the rest of the writers present.

When and where are Open Read & Critique sessions held?

At OryCon 30, ORCs will run both Friday and Saturday night starting between 9 and 10 p.m. Readings are done on a first-come, first-read basis. A sign up board will be posted outside of the designated ORC room late each afternoon.

Friday's ORC is based on "How to Hook an Editor." Authors will read the first 500-750 words of their work to a round table group of writers which may include editors from various publications.

Saturday's ORC will allow authors to read up 2000 words from their work to a round table group of the same.

How are ORCs different from other Writer's Workshop sessions?

Unlike daytime writer's workshop sessions, ORCs/Rogue Workshops begin between 9 and 10 p.m. and are limited in length only by the stamina of their participants. It is not uncommon for these sessions to last until 2 a.m. or beyond.

Is there an extra fee for participating in the ORCs?

Nope, just bring your manuscript and something to write on. Come prepared to read a piece of your work, listen to other writers, and critique their work.

Can I attend both ORC night sessions?

Absolutely. In fact, we encourage it because as writers working toward publication, you deserve it!

Artwork for this page provided by artist Guest of Honor Jeff Fennel.
OryCon 30 is a production of Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (OSFCI), a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation.


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