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Writers Workshop

Our Special Workshop Guest for 2016 is Rachel Swirsky. 

FenCon and the Dallas Future Society are pleased to welcome author Rachel Swirsky as Special Guest Instructor for our twelfth annual Writers Workshop.

The workshop will be held at FenCon's Westin Hotel. Sessions will begin the evening of Thursday, September 22nd (before FenCon officially starts) and continue during FenCon XIII through Sunday, September 25th. It will include small group peer critiques, guided by Rachel. She will also lecture on the following topics:

  • Mood and Image: We call prose transparent, but it's never a mirror. The words you use affect the way the reader sees the text. Things like denotation, rhythm, and sentence structure all contribute to the reader's unconscious experience of the story. Through writing exercises driven by evocative images, we'll practice using prose to create voice, character-- and especially mood.
  • Rewriting techniques: First you write, then you rewrite. And rewrite. And rewrite. And rewrite. Unless you're one of the lucky few who doesn't. There are many techniques for clearing away the debris of the first drafts, and discovering the story that lies beneath. She'll present as many she can get through in an hour. Be ready to take notes -- you can always revise them later.

Participants must electronically submit their own original, unpublished works of fiction (science fiction, fantasy, or horror) for critique. No erotica, please. Students will be required to participate in peer critiques of other participants' submissions.

  • The Writers Workshop registration period will end on July 15, 2016, or when all participant slots have been filled, whichever comes first.
  • This year the workshop is limited to 15 participants.
  • Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Any paid registrations received after the slots have been filled will be put on a waiting list in case of openings.
  • Each participant must be a paid attending member of FenCon XIII. Either a full Regular Membership or Friend of the Fen Membership meets this requirement. See the membership page for details.
  • There is a $40 registration fee for participating in the workshop in addition to the FenCon XIII membership fee. The fee must be paid at the time of registration.
  • Writers' Workshop sessions begin at 7pm on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at the FenCon hotel and will continue through Sunday, September 25th. The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday sessions will start at 9am. Participation in all workshop sessions is highly encouraged. Please plan your personal schedules accordingly.
  • No auditing or monitoring of the sessions will be allowed. Only paid, registered participants will be allowed to attend the workshop sessions.
  • Each participant must submit their own original work of fiction via an electronic manuscript. Short stories are encouraged, but the beginnings of novels are okay. Submissions cannot exceed 5000 words. No shared-worlds or "fanfic" is allowed.
  • The deadline for submissions will be determined at a future date. Submissions received after the deadline will not be guaranteed to receive a critique.
  • Each participant will have access to a private online forum where they can ask questions, interact with each other prior to the workshop, and post their submissions and critiques.
  • Submissions will need to conform to standard manuscript format and be sent as *.doc attachments.
  • Other details will be provided to registered participants later in a private email.

    If you have any questions or comments about this workshop, e-mail workshop@fencon.org.