Writers’ Workshop

Workshop Submissions Are Closed

Submissions are closed for the 2019 ArmadilloCon Writers’ Workshop.

About the Workshop

The ArmadilloCon Writers’ Workshop has become a major event for aspiring SF/F writers. It meets on Friday morning before the convention opens, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The curriculum is designed for beginning and intermediate students. Workshop participants will have their work critiqued by instructors who are professional editors and writers working in the field today.

The morning panel sessions will cover a wide range of topics from managing craft elements such as style, plot, theme, and characterization to the dos and don’ts of preparing your work for professional markets and different approaches to publication (e.g. traditional vs. independent). During the afternoon breakout sessions, participants work together in small groups along with two instructors to exchange critiques in the Milford style. Each participant will receive a personal, in-depth critique of their work from both the instructors and their peers. Learning to receive – and to give – a meaningful critique of a work in progress is an invaluable skill for writers who would like to better assess and improve their own writing.

The ArmadilloCon Writers’ Workshop is committed to diversity

Diversity is vital to speculative fiction. A genre centered on exploration and encountering the Other must include voices and visions from writers, readers, and thinkers of all kinds. For this reason, the ArmadilloCon Writers’ Workshop actively seeks to include students, faculty, visiting scholars, and volunteers from a variety of backgrounds including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, and ability. This year we are pleased to offer a limited number of sponsored seats to writers of color.

NOTICE: All of our sponsored seats have been claimed for the 2019 workshop! We are delighted at the response and look forward to seeing you all at the workshop. Hoping for a last-minute sponsorship? Fill out the sponsored seat form (see link below) in order to be waitlisted. Anyone waitlisted for a sponsored seat or for the workshop will be notified on July 3rd.

If you would like to be on the waiting list for a sponsored seat, complete and submit a
Sponsored Seat Application.

If you have any questions, contact the Workshop Director at  armadilloconwritersworkshop@gmail.com.

How to Enroll in the Workshop

Pay the workshop fee, which includes the full ArmadilloCon convention membership. See the Membership page for pricing and details.

Submit your original, unpublished work of science fiction, fantasy, or horror fiction. Maximum length is 5,000 words. Please read and follow the Manuscript Submission Guidelines, below!

Fill out and submit the Permission Slip.

Manuscript Deadline: Friday, June 14, 11:59:59 p.m.


We must have received all three elements (registration, manuscript, and permission slip) before you are officially enrolled in the workshop! If you have not received a confirmation email within three days of submitting everything, please contact the Workshop Director.


Only one submission per workshop participant,

Only your own original work,


Only science fiction, fantasy or horror, please!

Submission Guidelines

• Send your electronic manuscript in WORD DOCUMENT or RICH TEXT (.doc, .docx, .rtf) only in proper manuscript format to armadilloconwritersworkshop@gmail.com

• MAXIMUM LENGTH IS 5,000 WORDS. The word count limit is FIRM. No exceptions. Manuscripts longer than the maximum length will be either returned to the author for pruning, or if submitted at deadline, they will be shortened by the Workshop Director without notice.

• You may send either a complete SHORT STORY or the FIRST CHAPTER of a novel. Short stories are preferred as they generally yield a more productive discussion of your abilities as a writer in this type of workshop setting.

• If you are submitting a complete short story, make sure you write “The End” on the last page; otherwise, indicate that the story continues after the first 5,000 words.

• If you are submitting the first chapter of a novel, indicate on the first page that it is chapter one. This will ensure that the instructors will be able to evaluate each manuscript properly.

• Please do not use pen names for workshop submissions as it causes confusion.

PLEASE NOTE: the workshop staff will only view the manuscript after you have paid for the workshop and signed and returned the permission slip.

Permission Slip

Please sign and return this form granting us permission to distribute your story to the instructors and other workshop participants for the purpose of this workshop.

What Happens When You Enroll

About two weeks before the workshop you will receive an email packet with the manuscripts of the other students in your group along with other materials concerning the workshop and the day’s the schedule. Review and critique the manuscripts in your group before the workshop meets. You will not have time to do so once the workshop begins. You are required to read and critique all student manuscripts sent to you in your workshop packet.


No refunds will be given once manuscripts are released to the instructors and other participants. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, you cannot attend the workshop on Friday, August 2, we will mail your group’s critiques to you. You will also be responsible for getting your feedback to the other students in your assigned group.


Rebecca Roanhorse (Guest of Honor)
Rebecca Roanhorse is a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her short fiction has also been a finalist for the Sturgeon, Locus and World Fantasy awards. Her novel Trail of Lightning was selected as an Amazon, B&N, Library Journal, and NRP Best Books of 2018, among others, and is a Nebula award finalist for 2019. Her short fiction can be found in Apex MagazineNew Suns, and various other anthologies. Her non-fiction can be found in Uncanny MagazineStrange Horizons, and How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation(Macmillan). She lives in Northern New Mexico with her husband, daughter, and pug. Find more at https://rebeccaroanhorse.com/ and on Twitter at @RoanhorseBex.

Marshall Ryan Maresca (Toastmaster)
Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Saga: Four parallel series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. This includes The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Holver Alley Crew and The Way of the Shield. His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced. He lives in Austin with his family.

Patrice Caldwell (Editor Guest)
Patrice Caldwell is a graduate of Wellesley College and the founder & fundraising chair of People of Color in Publishing–a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members of the book publishing industry. Born and raised in Texas, Patrice was a children’s book editor before shifting to writing full-time. In 2018, she was named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree and featured on The Writer’s Digest podcast and Bustle’s inaugural “Lit List” as one of ten women changing the book world. Visit her online at patricecaldwell.com, Twitter @whimsicallyours, and Instagram @whimsicalaquarian. Look for her anthology, A Phoenix First Must Burn, a collection of 16 speculative fiction tales centering Black girls and gender nonconforming teens, out March 2020 from Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Teen!

Rebecca Schwarz (Workshop Director)
By day, Rebecca Schwarz is a mild-mannered editorial assistant for a scientific journal, by night she writes science fiction and fantasy stories. Her work has appeared in Interzone, PodCastle, Daily Science Fiction, and Bourbon Penn among other venues. She is the Director of the ArmadilloCon Writing Workshop in Austin, Texas. She is currently writing a novel about a princess who becomes a crow. You can read about her writing adventures at www.curiousworlds.blog and follow her on Twitter@curiousworlds.

Photo: Andrew Watson

Sanford Allen
Sanford Allen, at various times, has worked as a newspaper reporter, a college journalism instructor and a touring musician. He recently released his first novel, Deadly Passage, bound back-to-back with Joe McKinney’s Dog Days, as part of JournalStone books’ DoubleDown series. His short fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies including Horror Library Vol. 5Rayguns Over Texas, Innsmouth Magazine, and That Ain’t Right: Historical Accounts of the Miskatonic Valley to name a few. For more, see http://www.sanfordallen.com.

Credit: K. Tempest Bradford

K. Tempest Bradford
K. Tempest Bradford is a science fiction and fantasy writer, writing instructor, media critic, reviewer, and podcaster. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines including Strange Horizons, PodCastleSunspot JungleIn the Shadow of the Towers, and many more. She’s the host of ORIGINality, a podcast about the roots of creative genius, and contributes to several more. Her media criticism and reviews can be found on NPR, io9, and in books about Time Lords. When not writing, she teaches classes on writing inclusive fiction through LitReactor and Writing the Other.com. Visit her website at ktempestbradford.com.

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown‘s first novel, Tropic of Kansas. was a finalist for the 2018 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel. He was a 2013 World Fantasy Award nominee for the anthology he co-edited, Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic. An active member of the Turkey City Writers Workshop, he lives in Austin, where he also practices technology law. More at christopherbrown.com.

Amanda Downum
Amanda Downum is the author of the Necromancer Chronicles, Dreams of Shreds & Tatters, and The Poison Court. Her short fiction has appeared in Realms of FantasyStrange Horizons, and Weird Tales, and in the anthologies Lovecraft Unbound and Dreams From the Witch House. She lives in Austin, TX and studies Mortuary Science.

Nicky Drayden
Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her award-winning novel The Prey of Gods is set in a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks. See more of her work at http://www.nickydrayden.com or catch her on twitter@nickydrayden.

Eugene Fischer
Eugene Fischer is an Austin-based author of speculative fiction. His work has won the James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award and been a finalist for the Nebula and Sturgeon awards. He’s a graduate of Clarion and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. While at Iowa he created the undergraduate course Writing and Reading Science Fiction, which is still being offered to this day.

Urania Fung
Urania Fung is forever grateful to the ArmadilloCon workshop, which put her in touch with Julie Czerneda when she was looking for writers to contribute to her next anthology. Urania’s success in landing the new writer’s slot in the anthology Ages of Wonder led to the publication of her next story in the anthology The Dragon and the Stars. Her latest short story “A Debate over the Hopping Undead” will appear in the anthology Immersion this fall. Urania holds an MA in English from Sam Houston State University and an MFA in creative writing from Texas State University. She has hosted WORDfest—a fun, free festival of creative connection—three times at Tarrant County College and has been an English professor at the college for nine years.

C Stuart Hardwick
C Stuart Hardwick is a winner of the prestigious Writers of the Future contest and the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award. His work regularly appears in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, as well as Galaxy’s Edge, Forbes.com and Mental Floss, among others. A southerner from South Dakota, Stuart grew up creating radio dramas and animated shorts before moving on to robots and ill-conceived flying machines. He’s worked with the creators of the video game Doom, married an aquanaut, and trained his dog to pull a sled. Stuart studied writing at U.C. Berkeley, lives in Houston, and has been known to wear a cape. For more information and a free signed e-sampler, visit www.cStuartHardwick.com.

William Ledbetter
William Ledbetter is a Nebula Award winning author with more than seventy speculative fiction stories and non-fiction articles published in markets such as Asimov’s, F&SF, Analog, Escape Pod, Baen.com, the SFWA blog. He’s spent most of his non-writing career in the aerospace and defense industry. He administers the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award contest for Baen Books and the National Space Society, is a member of SFWA, the National Space Society of North Texas and is the Science Track coordinator for the Fencon convention. He lives near Dallas with his wife, a needy dog and two spoiled cats. His new novel “Level Five” is available from Audible Originals. Find out more at http://www.williamledbetter.com

Stina Leicht
Stina Leicht has written five novels, several short stories, and flash fiction. Her latest novel, Persephone Station, a Feminist Space Opera to be published by Saga Press, will debut in 2020. She has written Epic Flintlock Fantasy (Cold Iron and Blackthorne) as well as Urban Fantasy with an Irish Crime twist (Of Blood and Honey, And Blue Skies from Pain). Her Feminist essays were featured in the Hugo Award-winning Women Destroy Science Fiction! issue of Lightspeed Magazine. And she was a finalist for the Crawford Award and the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2011 and 2012.

J. M. McDermott
J. M. McDermott is a robot fueled by literature, vegetables, and caffeine. He lives in San Antonio, TX, where he stands on street corners and shouts at passing cars about the future. He is the author of novels Last Dragon, Never Knew Another, When We Were Executioners, Maze, We Leave Together, Scraggletaggle, and The Fortress at the End of Time. He also has several short fiction collections. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, and an MFA in Popular Fiction from the Stonecoast Program of the University of Southern Maine. For more information, see https://jmmcdermott.wordpress.com/.

Michelle Muenzler
Michelle Muenzler, known at local science fiction and fantasy conventions as “The Cookie Lady”, writes fiction both dark and strange to counterbalance the sweetness of her baking. Her short fiction and poetry can be read in numerous science fiction and fantasy magazines such as FiresideDaily Science Fiction, and Liminality, and she takes immense joy in crinkling words like little foil puppets. Visit michellemuenzler.com for links to her work, or if you are feeling especially brave, check out her squidgy weird buddy adventure novella The Hills of Meat, the Forest of Bone on Amazon. She promises it won’t bite…much.

Michael Noll 
Michael Noll is the author of The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction, Program Director at the Writers’ League of Texas, and the editor of the craft-of-writing blog Read to Write Stories. His short stories have been published widely, including in The Best American Mystery Stories anthology and, most recently, in Crazyhorse.

Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian author of stories featuring African gods, starships, monsters, detectives and everything in-between. His godpunk novel, David Mogo, Godhunter, is out from Abaddon in July 2019. His internationally published fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Lightspeed, Fireside, Podcastle, Apex, The Dark, and other periodicals and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, where he teaches writing, and has worked in editorial at Podcastle and Sonora Review. He tweets at @IAmSuyiDavies and is @suyidavies everywhere else. Learn more at suyidavies.com.

Jessica Reisman
Jessica Reisman’s stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her far future science fiction adventure novel Substrate Phantoms came out from Resurrection House Books May 2017 and Fairwood Press will publish her first collection, The Arcana of Maps and Other Stories, October 2019. She grew up on the east coast of the U.S., was a teenager on the west coast, and now lives in Austin, Texas. She’s been a writer, animal lover, reader, and movie aficionado since she was a wee child. Find out more at storyrain.com.

Holly Lyn Walrath
Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Luna Station Quarterly, Liminality, and elsewhere. She is the author of Glimmerglass Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2018). She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She is a freelance editor and host of The Weird Circular, an e-newsletter for writers containing submission calls and writing prompts.

Skyler White
Skyler White has published four novels, two co-written with Steven Brust, The Incrementalists and The Skill of Our Hands, as well as and Falling, Fly and In Dreams Begin. Her new solo project, Young Blood, is coming out this summer. She has taught Creative Writing at the high school level and to adults with a focus on structure in both writing and writer. Another fascination, how the creative process works and breaks, developed into a web-based choose‐your‐own‐adventure game for getting unstuck called The Narrow Shed in collaboration with Write or Die wizard Jeff Printy. You can find her at: BookWitchery.com or SkylerWhite.com

D. L. Young
D.L. Young is a Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Independent Press Award. His award-winning Dark Republic novels (Soledad, Indigo, and El Flaco) are futuristic thrillers set in the aftermath of a failed Texas secession. His best short fiction is collected in Juarez Square and Other Stories. He is currently working on a new cyberpunk series, slated for release in early 2020. Young lives in Houston, Texas.


If have any questions about the Writers’ Workshop, please e-mail the Workshop Director at armadilloconwritersworkshop@gmail.com.

See you on August 2!

Rebecca Schwarz (Workshop Director)
ArmadilloCon 41 Writers’ Workshop

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