SF Writer Workshop Rules


(There is also a text format copy of the rules in our files section.)



We are a writers' workshop with a focus on speculative fiction:


Science fiction, fantasy, horror and all things weird & wonderful. Our goal is to provide a supportive atmosphere of honest, constructive criticism to help us hone our craft and fine-tune our stories for publication.







To respect everyone's valuable time and keep our critiquing sessions from getting too long, we've agreed on the following limits:

  • 10 days. All submissions for critique should be submitted at least 10 days in advance of the workshop.
  • 10,000 words. Please keep all submissions under this limit. Longer pieces (novelettes, novellas, novels) can be chunked up in parts or chapters for critique.
  • 5 manuscripts. The first five manuscripts submitted to the site on or before the deadline will be accepted for critique. Critiquers are allowed to "pass" on one manuscript if they find it difficult to complete all their critiques on time.
  • 3 minutes. Critiques will be limited to three minutes per critiquer.






  • Workshoppers are expected both to review others' work (at every session they attend) and to submit their own work for review (on a regular basis). If you miss a workshop, you are encouraged but not required to send the writers a review via email.

  • Works for review should be uploaded as Members Only files in the Files area of our Meetup site (http://scifiwriting.m..., at least 10 days in advance of workshop. If you are looking for feedback on a specific aspect of the story, please include writer's notes to that effect at the beginning of the manuscript.

  • Submitted works may be original fiction in the form of short stories or book excerpts. The group's focus is speculative fiction, so most pieces should fall into that category. The group may elect to accept other kinds of prose on occasion, especially for regular participants. No fan fiction, please.

  • These stories are being shared for review purposes only. Members are not to share the stories with anyone else without permission of the writer.





  • Reviewers will take turns offering their critiques. The person to the left of the author will begin, and then we'll proceed clockwise until all have spoken. The writer being reviewed will remain silent until all critiquers have had a chance to speak.

  • Critiques will be limited to three minutes or less. We use a timer to ensure that we can get through the critique rounds for all five submissions in our allotted two hours. We suggest that you mark up the manuscript with your written comments ahead of time, and just touch on the most important points in your oral critique.

  • To alleviate stress, the writer may elect to hold Grrr, the Official Animal Of Comfort. (Thanks to the Untitled Writers Group for this idea!)






  • Honesty is essential; diplomacy is required; brutality is prohibited. Reviewers are reminded that the tone and phrasing of a review can make the difference between the writer listening/benefitting or becoming furious and miserable. Please remember to mention things you liked as well as things that you feel need improvement. See Tips for Constructive Critiques for some great Web resources.

  • The writer will have a few minutes to respond, clarify, question, thank the reviewers, etc. after all members have reviewed the story,

  • Group members with grievances are asked to email Jaye after the workshop. We will work out a positive way to address any such issues.


Thank you,


Jaye Lawrence
Workshop Guru












Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
MinnSpec Podcast May 6, 2012 6:20 PM Abra S.
Maps August 17, 2006 12:45 PM Hilary Moon M.
Leadership FAQ August 18, 2006 3:39 PM Hilary Moon M.
Files FAQ April 19, 2007 6:24 PM Hilary Moon M.
Some Other Useful Websites for Local Writers January 26, 2012 9:20 AM Hilary Moon M.
Events FAQ July 3, 2009 10:51 PM Cjad E.
SF Writer Workshop Rules June 5, 2007 8:34 AM Hilary Moon M.
Tips for Constructive Critiques August 19, 2006 8:19 PM Hilary Moon M.
Official FAQ July 3, 2009 10:43 PM Cjad E.
About MinnSpec -- Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers August 11, 2013 4:03 PM Abra S.

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