Writers Workshops

Where your story is critiqued, not barbecued

Kansas City, Missouri where tomorrow is now, where ley lines and rail lines cross, where vampires roam the streets licking something that might not be barbecue sauce off their fingers. Stories here are as wide open as the prairies and as full of promise as pioneers heading west. And while Kansas City is also famed for its barbecue, there won’t be any barbecuing in the workshops, we promise.

MidAmeriCon II invites members who are also writers to small, private, sessions where stories will receive feedback from other writers. We’re seeking new writers, budding writers, journeyman writers, and seasoned professional writers to fill our workshop sessions.

Update, July 5, 2016: Thank you for your interest in the writing workshops, which are now filled. We have a waiting list in case there are any cancellations. Accordingly, we cannot accept any further reservation requests.


Reserving a Slot 

Writers Workshop slots will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. In the past, we’ve been able to provide slots for about 60 people. We will maintain a short waiting list. Capacity is dependent on both the number of professional writers who volunteer to read and critique for us and on the convention space available.

In the first week of July, we’ll post an announcement on this web page and also send out social media messages announcing that reservations are open. We usually fill all our slots within a week, so be on the lookout for these announcements. At the time you apply, you must have a manuscript ready to send in (but wait until we ask for it, please).

If you want to be sure you don’t miss the initial announcement, email us on or after June 1st and we’ll send you a brief email on the day reservations open, telling you that they are open. The email is only a notification and does not reserve a slot. (See email address below.)

Workshop Format

The Writers Workshops at MidAmeriCon II will be small-session workshops for either experienced or beginning writers centered on manuscripts submitted in advance. The workshops will provide Worldcon members the opportunity to have their manuscripts evaluated by selling writers and industry professionals who enjoy helping others grow as writers. Many of these professionals have taught at residency workshops or in creative writing programs.

Each session will usually consist of submissions from three participants to be critiqued by the other participants and two professionals. The manuscripts will be circulated in advance to both the participants and the professionals. A workshop session lasting two hours will critique all three submissions, or provide a critique with directed instruction, at the discretion of the professionals in each session. There may be some alternative session formats, such as using a moderator, or with two submissions and one professional for a shorter time.

Workshop Leaders

The following professional writers have agreed to volunteer their time for the workshops:

Michael Cassutt

Alyx Dellamonica

Jim Doty

Scott Edelman

C.C. Finlay

Susan Forest

Laurel Anne Hill

Walter Hunt

Matthew Johnson

David D. Levine

Rachel Neumeier

Kelly Robson

Matthew Rotundo

Lawrence M. Schoen

Alan Smale

David Steffan

Rachel Swirksy

Martha Wells

Rick Wilber

Fran Wilde

Walter Jon Williams

Gregory Wilson

Entry Arrangements

All manuscripts must be submitted in advance. There will be no on-the-spot reading for critiques. You will need to be prepared to attend your session, which can be assigned on any day from Wednesday, August 17, through Sunday, August 21, during the convention. Sessions will most likely be at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. and will last for two hours. The distribution of sessions depends primarily on the programming schedules of the critiquing professionals. The more open your schedule is, the better we can match you with a session with similar types of submissions and professionals familiar with your type of speculative fiction.

You must be a member of MidAmeriCon II to participate in the workshop. There will be a separate nominal fee of $20 to cover workshop expenses. We will email specific payment instructions at the appropriate time. Payment secures your slot.

Submissions must be electronic in .doc or .rtf format. Fiction manuscripts may be either short stories or novel excerpts. Stories must be science fiction, fantasy, gothic/horror, alternate history, or have a fantastic element of some kind. Manuscript submissions may be up to 8,000 words, but shorter lengths are encouraged. If your manuscript is a novelette or novella, please let us know at the time of submission. Manuscript format should conform to general professional submission standards. We recommend the OryCon workshop standards as a good place to start – you can find a Word fiction template and worked example there as well. The Writer’s Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats by Dian Dincin Buchman and Seli Groves also contains submission standards information. Longer pieces or novels must also include a synopsis covering the entire plotline. The synopsis counts as part of the 8,000 words.

Due to the critical nature of this workshop, it is not recommended for anyone under 18 or anyone who is sensitive to criticism.

The organizers for the MidAmeriCon II workshop sessions are Oz Drummond and Traci Castleberry, with the occasional backstage assistance of Richard Chwedyk, long-time organizer of the Windycon workshops. Email us at writersworkshop@midamericon2.org with any specific questions not answered here.