MisCon 29 Writers' Workshop
Join us for this year's MisCon Writers' Workshop! Send us your best writing, following our guidelines below, and we will forward it to a group of professional fantasy and science fiction writers, editors, and/or professionals.
This is an excellent opportunity to have your work read and analyzed by pros who not only know how to put words together but the business side of things as well.
Your manuscript can be a short story, the beginning of a novel, or an unfinished story fragment, as long as it fits within the 4,000 word limit. If you follow our submission guidelines, this means 16 pages or less (see guidelines below).
Note: participation may be limited this year due to high demand, so workshop will be a first-come-first-served event.
Manuscript submissions must be received on or before April 19, 2015.
What to Do
- Prepare a manuscript of no more than 4,000 words according to our guidelines below. Include your cover letter and synopsis in the same file as your manuscript. (Do not count them as part of your word count, however).
- Save it as a .doc or. docx file and email it to email@example.com no later than April 19, 2015. Make sure to include your contact information (If you cannot save as a Microsoft Word file, a .txt file will be accepted.)
- If you do not wish to have your piece included in the private (for participants only) PDF file of all the manuscripts, please say so in your email. (see below for more information)
- It’s also a good idea to pre-register for MisCon at this time to make sure you can attend (in case we reach maximum attendance and close registration).
- Attend MisCon and participate in the Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
- We will accept manuscripts in .doc or .docx format (If unavailable, you may use .txt). Please, no PDFs.
- Name your file with your last name and the title of your work as follows:
- All submissions must be in standard manuscript format.
- An example can be found here:
- And here:
- If you have additional questions about manuscript formatting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
General guidelines include:
- 1-inch margins
- Font no smaller than 12-point size (Courier, Courier New, or Times New Roman are acceptable)
- Use underlining instead of italics
- Do not use boldface
The first page should include:
- Author’s name and address in upper left hand corner
- Approximate word count in upper right corner
- Story title and byline (start halfway down page)
- Story starts double-spaced under byline
Each page after the first must include:
- Story title (abbreviated if necessary)
- Author’s last name
- Page number
A note about Word Count:
- The amount of space a manuscript takes up is what matters to publishers, not the specific number of words used. If you format your manuscript according to our guidelines, it will have about 250 words per page. A publisher needs to know how much space a story will take up, which means that once your manuscript is properly formatted, you should take your page count and multiply it by 250. This is your total word count.
- For the MisCon Writers’ Workshop, you may not exceed the 4,000 word limit. This means 16 pages or less. We will delete anything beyond the 16 page limit. In the case of our workshop, it doesn't matter if your story is complete, only that the critiquing authors have a chance to examine a substantial amount of your writing so they can help you improve it. The synopsis and cover letter do NOT count toward this word total.
- Similar to a query letter a writer sends to an editor or agent, the cover letter should include your contact information, a short paragraph about you, your writing experience and goals, as well as a paragraph about your project. Don't go overboard with this, just introduce who you are and what you are submitting. Let your writing speak for itself. Please include the cover letter in the same file as your manuscript.
- Please try to keep this to about 150-200 words.
- If you are submitting a novel excerpt, please include a brief synopsis of the story, 1000 words or less. The point of the synopsis is to give a critiquing author, literary agent, or editor an idea of where the story is going beyond your submission (include the full scope of your novel—beginning, middle, and end). This is also a great exercise for any aspiring writer, since you will be asked to write one when you are ready to submit to a professional market. Please include it in the same file as your manuscript, either before or after your submission.
- Please try to keep your synopsis to 1000 words or less.
- Examples of synopses can be found here:
PDF Document of Submissions
- Each participant will have the chance to have their work included in a private (for-participant-use-only) PDF document of all the submissions to this year’s workshop. Keep in mind that this will NOT be sold or given out to anyone not participating in the workshop, it will simply act as a way to read others’ work to be able to follow along during other critiques.
- If, however, you do not wish to be included, please say so in the email with which you submit your manuscript.
- You will receive the digital file in an email shortly before the con.
How the Workshop Works
- Submit your manuscript following Standard Manuscript Format by April 19, 2015.
- Once your manuscript has been received, you’ll get an email confirming its receipt.
- Just prior to the con, you’ll be contacted via email and given your group number, as well as the names of the authors who will be critiquing your manuscript. In addition, a PDF file of all the participants’ manuscripts will be included to give you a chance to read others’ work before the workshop.
- On Friday, May 22, join us for an informal, optional meet and greet, open to anyone interested in writing or the workshop. We’ll outline how the process works, give you your group numbers, and introduce you to the critiquing authors.
- At 11:00 on Saturday, May 23, we will meet in the Great Hall and from there break into our pre-assigned groups for the critique sessions (which may last up to three hours, so be prepared). Critique sessions may take place in the Great Hall or in a number of other (hopefully) quiet areas.
- On Sunday, May 24, the day after the Workshop, there will be an optional 1-hour wrap-up session without the critiquing authors. During this time, participating writers can discuss the comments made by the professionals, critique each others’ work, and/or leave comments about the workshop in general.
- Each year we have several attending author and editors who volunteer to critique manuscripts in the Writers’ Workshop. These experienced professionals are giving up their time and energy to help MisCon and to support our aspiring writers, please be sure and thank them.
- We cannot guarantee which critiquing authors will critique which manuscripts. This is something we determine once we have received all manuscripts in April. Our goal is to have each manuscript critiqued by at least 3 authors, although when we receive a large number of submissions, we are forced to break up the participants into smaller groups, and spread the authors around. Be aware that you may have your manuscript critiqued by as few as 2 attending professionals, and as many as 4.
- Please don’t defend your work during the critique session. The critiquing professionals are there to help you grow as a writer. When you defend your work or take their suggestions personal, you stunt that growth and waste everyone’s time. Just listen to what they have to say—trust me, you’ll be glad that you did.
- Most importantly, have fun!