Writers’ Workshops

VCON Writers’ Workshops

VCON has been offering writers workshops for over thirty years. This year they are moderated by Polar Borealis Magazine publisher R. Graeme Cameron.

Current Workshop Status
Day Time Type Status
Friday 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Novel Writers’ Workshop accepting applications
Saturday 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Short Story Writers’ Workshop 1 accepting applications
Sunday 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Short Story Writers’ Workshop 2 accepting applications
About the WorkshopsThe ProfessionalsHow to Apply

About the Workshops

There are three workshops: a novel writers’ workshop on Friday afternoon, and two short story workshops – one each on Saturday and Sunday morning. Each workshop is three hours long, albeit broken by three coffee breaks (coffee, tea, and munchies provided).

Each workshop consists of seven participants (plus the moderator) including four writers who have submitted manuscripts in advance and three professional writers.

The workshops themselves are free but participants must be registered members of the VCON convention (registration information).

How They Work

Speaking according to a fixed, printed schedule, three of the submitting writers critique a fourth writer’s submission, followed by critiques from the three professionals. Each critique is limited to five minutes (Graeme rides herd with a stopwatch). No one is allowed to speak while a critique is being given. The person being critiqued is not allowed to respond to the critiques until all the critiques have finished. Once the work in question has been fully critiqued, a short break follows. Then the process repeats with a different submitted manuscript.

Time discipline is enforced in part to avoid lack of focus and pointless meandering conversation, but mainly to ensure that each submitting writer’s work is fully critiqued. This may sound grim, but in fact, the workshops tend to be fast-paced, informative, and both exhilarating and inspiring. Great fun, in other words.


The Professionals

Each workshop includes three professional writers. The following professionals are confirmed for VCON 42:

Friday Novel Writers’ Workshop professionals: TBD

Saturday Short Story Writers’ Workshop professionals TBD

Sunday Short Story Writers’ Workshop professionals: TBD

How to Apply

To find out if space is available in the workshop of your choice, contact the moderator, R. Graeme Cameron at writersworkshops [at] vcon [dot] ca. Applicants will be placed on a first come first serve basis.

Act now! These workshops are loads of fun and a great learning experience.

Deadline to Submit Manuscripts

Busy professionals need plenty of lead time to fit in reading submitted manuscripts, so the sooner a manuscript is submitted the better. That said, the official deadline to submit is Friday, September 13, 2019.

Submitting Your Manuscript

Stories and novel excerpts must be in the genre of speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, etc.

You submit your story, in Microsoft Word 95 document format, to Graeme via email to writersworkshops [at] vcon [dot] ca. Once all manuscripts for a particular workshop have been submitted they will be redistributed, along with the speaking schedules and Bruce Sterling’s Writers Lexicon offering critique points to ponder, to all pros and participants via email.

Submitted stories and novel excerpts must meet the following format requirements, NO EXCEPTIONS

  • No more than 3,000 words in length.
  • Word 95 document format (e.g. with the DOC extension, not the DOCX extension)
  • Font must be 12 point Courier or Times Roman.
  • Paragraphs must be double-spaced
  • Each page must have a header containing:
    • author name
    • story title
    • page number

Graeme Suggests: Unless you are a fast writer, send in a genre-related story you have already written.