Page last updated Aug 30 2009.

The OryCon 31 Writer's Workshop submission period begins Saturday, August 1st, 2009. Submissions close Friday, September 4st, 2009. The more the merrier, so print off this flyer [.doc] and make sure all your author and editor friends know about it!

Have you ever thought about what a professional in the writing field might think of your short story or novel? Have you sent out a manuscript and then wondered if the first reader or editor is thrilled, or yawning, or something in between? Wonder no more. This is a great opportunity to listen to friendly but frank Clarion-style critiques of your work by pros and peers in small group sessions.

What is the critique like? The story or novel portion submissions are divided into group sessions. The work is then distributed to group members (and only group members) in advance of the convention so they can read and critique them at their leisure. During the convention the small groups meet in a closed room. The author listens quietly while the other members in the group express their opinions about his/her work one at a time. During this time the author refrains from commenting. At the end of the formal part of the critique we sometimes offer a Q&A, brainstorming session or both if time allows. Then we move on to the next author in the group until all the work has been discussed. Groups will include 2-3 submitting authors and 2 pros.


SF, fantasy, horror and related- or sub-genres

Submit your best work to the workshop just as you would submit your best work to an editor. Often a piece has problems that the author doesn't know how to fix, and this is a good venue to explore solutions to those problems.

On the other hand this is not a good venue in which to present problems that you already know are there, know how to fix and haven't gotten around to eliminating. Critique time is precious and goes by very quickly. It's best spent on problems that are unknown or difficult for you to solve rather than the problems you already know how to take care of.

Short stories

Novel portions

Maximum 7500 words
Standard manuscript format
Include a one page cover letter
Electronic submissions preferred (Word or .rtf format)

Maximum 7500 words--highly recommended that you submit the first 7500 words

Standard short story manuscript format (no need to submit as a standard novel submission with a separate title page.)

Include a 500 word synopsis and a one page cover letter

Electronic submissions preferred (Word or .rtf format)

Submission fees are $10.00 per manuscript. Email Carole Cole for mailing address for fees and hard copy submissions. Electronic submissions are preferred.

Cover letter

Cover letter can be sent in the body of the email (if submitting electronically) or attached as a Word or RTF document. Cover letter should be no more than 300 words. Please include all your contact information (full name (not a pseudonym), email, mailing address, phone number).

Questions to answer in your cover letter:

  • How long have you been writing?
  • Are you part of a writer's group?
  • Have you been submitting your work to genre markets?
  • Have you been published or do you plan to publish someday?
  • Do you have specific technical questions that you'd like answered, such as how to better employ point of view or how to deepen the setting without reverting to long expository paragraphs?

Novel synopsis

The Writer's Workshop synopsis should be no more than 500 words and cover your entire novel, not just your excerpt. One possible method for the synopsis is to start with a single short paragraph about the main character and the main opening conflict. IF there are several main characters, focus on the most important one that the story follows most. Follow the character overview with a lively and heavily simplified description of the main plot. Include the ending. You might end the synopsis with either the consequences of the ending, an emotional overview, or description of the novel's themes.

This is by no means the only way to write a synopsis, but it includes all the information the Writer's Workshop requires (basic character, main plot, novel ending). You may find your synopsis will focus your editing and improve your work before you've even submitted it to the workshop, as it may reveal issues with the plot or characters you hadn't noticed before.

The synopsis will not be critiqued, but it is required to put the novel excerpt in the proper perspective with the rest of the manuscript for those critiquing it. It is also good practice.

Standard manuscript format:

  • Double spaced
  • One inch margins
  • 12pt. Courier, Times or Times New Roman font
  • Paragraphs indented five spaces
  • No double returns at the end of paragraphs
  • Scene breaks marked by a # on a line by itself
  • First page:
    • On the upper left include your name, address, phone, email
    • On the upper right include the approximate word count
    • title and byline centered on the page
    • Text begins a double return after the byline
  • On all following pages, the header will have the following:
    • name
    • title of work (abbreviated if necessary)
    • page #

Please, no borders, images, illustrations, graphs or tables, html insertions, etc.

An example may be illustrative.

Please don't hesitate to contact Carole Cole with questions or concerns or for more information, resources, and all good things related to the Writer's Workshop.

OryCon 31 is a production of Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (OSFCI), a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation.
Artwork is copyrighted and graciously provided by the Artist Guest of Honor, Lubov.

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