Writers’ Workshop

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. Students
may choose to join a group in the Milford style or Mary Robinette Kowal’s ABCD Critique Style (see also the video How to Train Your Internal Editor). 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.

We are pleased to offer a limited number of sponsored seats to writers of color, those who identify as LGBTQIA+, and those whose financial status might prevent their participating. If you would like to be considered for a sponsored seat, please complete and submit this form. If you have any questions contact the Workshop Director at writersworkshop@armadillocon.org.

Reserve a Membership!

Are you ready to reserve your spot for this year’s writers’ workshop?

  1. Registration ($145) includes the Writers’ Workshop, Friday lunch, and your membership in the rest of the ArmadilloCon Convention.
  2. Registration reserves your spot. Manuscripts are not due until July 31. Submit your original, unpublished work of speculative fiction. Maximum length 5,000 words. Please read and follow the Manuscript Submission Guidelines, below! Manuscript Deadline: Wednesday, July 31, 11:59:59 p.m.

Enrollment and Electronic Submission Due July 31

We must have received all three elements: (A) payment, (B) manuscript and online 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 at writersworkshop@armadillocon.org.

  • Only one submission per workshop participant,
  • Only your own original work,
  • Only non-published work,
  • Only speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, bizarro, and similar).

Submission Guidelines

  • Complete the online form that includes your granting us permission to distribute your story to the instructors and other workshop participants for the purpose of this workshop.
  • That online form is also where you submit your electronic manuscript in WORD DOCUMENT or RICH TEXT (.doc, .docx, .rtf) only in proper manuscript format. (No need to include physical mailing address). Send any questions to writersworkshop@armadillocon.org.
  • Fiction Submissions
    • 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 BEGINNING 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 beginning of a novel, indicate on the first page that it is the prologue / chapter one. This will ensure that the instructors will be able to evaluate each manuscript properly.
    • Optional but recommended: On a separate page within the document, include anything you feel would help your readers understand your goals for the story. This might include: genre/ intended audience, background information about the story’s origin, and any specific questions that you have for your readers. Mark spoilers if needed so that readers know whether to read the background information before or after reading the story. This section does not count against your word count limit.
  • 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.

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 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.

If you are triggered by particular content and would like to either avoid that content or have a warning included with your workshop packet, please contact the Workshop Director at writersworkshop@armadillocon.org.

You will also receive a questionnaire asking you to select a lunch option. We get lunches catered by the hotel to maximize your time in the workshop.


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, we will e-mail your group’s critiques to you. You will also be responsible for getting your feedback to the other students in your assigned group.


If you have any questions about the Writers’ Workshop, please e-mail the Workshop Director at writersworkshop@armadillocon.org.

See you September 6!

Nick Edinger & Denman Netherland

ArmadilloCon Writers Workshop

Purchase Your ArmadilloCon + Workshop Membership!

The cost is $145. If you purchased a regular membership and want to upgrade, we can set that up. Send a note to chair@armadillocon.org about that or any other registration questions!

If money is a barrier, please apply for a Sponsored Seat. Complete and submit this form to apply!

If money is not a barrier, please consider adding a bit (or more than a bit) to help us keep this fabulous happening going!