Writers' Workshops

Renovation's theme is the New Frontiers and there is no frontier newer than a writer creating a new world and writing about it. Whether it's based on a mythology or science, it is a unique creation, a new frontier for the readers. Renovation invites members who are also writers to spend some of their convention time as part of our writers' workshops. We're looking for new writers, budding writers, journeyman writers, and seasoned professionals to fill our workshop sessions.

Submissions/Reserving a Slot


All Writers' Workshop slots are taken as of July 4, 2011. If you would like to be put on our waitlist, please email us at writersworkshops@renovationsf.org.

Writers' Workshop places will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. At Anticipation, we were able to provide slots for 70 people, but had to turn a few people away. We will maintain a short waiting list in case someone has to drop out sufficiently in advance to redistribute the stories in that section with a replacement submission from the waiting list of the appropriate length.

Please only request a slot if you have a novel excerpt or short story ready for submission. As soon as the sections are finalized with the pros, we'll ask for your submissions and admin fee of $15 and will need them ASAP. You will be notified by email that you have a reservation and of what to do to finalize your submission. We will try to place you with similar length submissions and similar subgenres, looking for a good fit wherever possible.

Please send your reservation email to writersworkshops@renovationsf.org. Include your full name, your Renovation membership number, the title of your submission, whether it is a short story or novel excerpt, and the genre/subgenre.

Workshop Format

The Writers Workshops at Renovation will be small session workshops for either experienced or beginning writers based on manuscripts submitted in advance. These workshops will provide Renovation members the opportunity to have their manuscripts evaluated by selling writers and industry professionals who enjoy helping them grow as writers. Many of these professionals have taught at residency workshops such as Clarion, or in creative writing programs.

Each session will ideally consist of submissions from three participants to be critiqued by the other participants and two to three professionals. The manuscripts will be circulated in advance to both the participants and the professionals. A workshop session lasting two hours will critique all three submissions, or be a critique with directed instruction, at the discretion of the professionals in each session.

Workshop Leaders

The following professional writers have expressed a willingness to participate in the Renovation writers' workshops, if their schedules permit:

Entry Arrangements

All manuscripts must be submitted in advance. There will be no on-the-spot reading for critiques. You will need to be prepared to attend your session, which can be assigned on any day from Wednesday August 17 through Sunday August 21 at the convention. All sessions will be held on the Naples Ballroom level at the Peppermill Hotel at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. and will last for two hours. We will not schedule a session at 10 a.m. on Wednesday 17 August. The distribution of sessions depends on the programming schedules of the critiquing professionals. The more open your schedule is, the better we can match you with a section with similar types of submissions and professionals familiar with your type of speculative fiction.

You must be a member of Renovation to participate in the workshop. There is a nominal fee of $15 to cover workshop expenses. You pay the fee once you have been notified by email that your submission has been received and accepted. Payment secures your slot.

All submissions will be electronic for Renovation. Fiction manuscripts may be either short stories or novel excerpts. Stories must be science fiction, fantasy, gothic/horror, or have a fantastic element of some kind. Manuscript submissions may have up to 8,000 words, but shorter lengths are encouraged. Manuscript format should conform to general professional submission standards. We recommend the OryCon Writers Workshop standards as a good place to start - you can find a Word fiction template and worked example there as well.

The Writer's Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats, by Dian Dincin Buchman and Seli Groves also contains submission standards information. Longer pieces or novels must also include a synopsis covering the entire plotline. The synopsis counts as part of the 8,000 words.

Due to the critical nature of this workshop, it is not recommended for anyone under 18 or anyone who is sensitive to criticism.

Your hosts and organizers for the Renovation workshop sessions will be Oz Drummond and Traci Castleberry, with the experienced backstage assistance of Gregory Frost. Email Oz Drummond and/or Traci Castleberry at writersworkshops@renovationsf.org with any specific questions not answered here.