There is a current workshop member with the same first and last name and/or the same e-mail address that you have just submitted for a new membership. If you are a current member but have forgotten your password or log-in name, please use the password/ID request form (or contact us) and do not submit this form. If you have deleted your membership and now wish to reinstate it, contact us and we will set you up again; do not submit this form.
However, if you just happen to have the same name as a current member, please add your middle name to the first-name text box or otherwise differentiate your name from the current member's. This will prevent confusion in the future. Then go ahead and click on the "Next Step" button to join the workshop.
If you are using the same e-mail address as a current member (for example, sharing a household or classroom account), no problem. Just go ahead and click on the "Next Step" button to join the workshop.
How it Works
The Online Writing Workshop for SF, F, & H is open to all writers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror, both aspiring and professional. Writers improve here through the reviews and ratings given their works by other writers, and through reviewing the work of others. Trust us...it truly works. Or (if you don't trust us!) read our member comments.
You need to become a member in order to participate. But we believe in free samples, so your first month of workshop membership is free. After the one-month free trial, membership costs a reasonable $49 a year (that's 94 cents a week). (More about membership fees and how to pay)
To join, you need to provide a valid e-mail address. Other than that, you can use your writing name, a pseudonym, etc., and you don't have to make your e-mail address public if you don't choose to do so. Multiple memberships are not allowed.
Because of occasional adult content, people under 18 must get parental permission before joining.
Once you sign up to become a member and choose a username, we send you a temporary password via e-mail, which you use to log in for the first time. You can then reset your password to be whatever you want. You can choose to add your e-mail address and other personal information to your Profile, which appears in the Member Directory, or not--it's up to you. Your current submissions and the reviews you've done will be part of your Member Directory listing.
After becoming a member, you may submit your work, review the work of others, and participate in workshop discussions. Other members will also be able to read, rate, and review the work you submit.
Since reviews and ratings are what improve people's writing, we require that you contribute reviews in order to be allowed to post your own work. (Of course reviews help the submission's author, but our members report that reviewing also helps the reviewer improve his or her own writing by improving analytic skills.) And because we want all members to have a good chance of getting their work reviewed, we have a limit on how many pieces any member can submit at once.
Read our Member Agreement for all the nitty-gritty details, including rules about the content of submissions and reviews.
We provide three e-mail discussion groups for workshop members: a news-only announcement list for the newsletter and occasional other updates; a writing group for discussion of writing and writing-related topics; and a chat group for anything else members want to discuss.
Each month our Resident Editors select one submission in each of four categories as an Editors' Choice and review it in the newsletter. Editors' Choices do not count against a member's three-active-submission limit, and remain on display in our Editors' Choice area for about four months. (Authors may, of course, still remove these submissions from the workshop, in which case they will no longer be listed in the Editors' Choice area.) If your submission is selected as an Editors' Choice, you will receive an e-mail message from the workshop asking you to keep your submission up until the next newsletter is published, so others can read your submission and its professional review.
You can create lists on the OWW site to help you manage your workshop participation. You can create as many lists as you want, name them, and put them in the order you want on your Lists page (accessible from your Dashboard). Use a list to keep track of your favorite writers or the submissions you plan to review. Create a list for the members of your reviewing group so you can have easy access to their directory listings. Collect reviews you want to read and learn from. Save submission-selector searches you perform often. To add something to a list, just click on the clipboard symbol:
Your Library Shelves
Inactive (old, un-updated) submissions are eventually moved automatically to your Library Shelves, where they are read-only and cannot be reviewed. You can move active submissions to your Library Shelves whenever you want. You can also post your work directly to your Library Shelves. You can keep as many submissions as you like in your Library Shelves; other members can find them and read them (but not add reviews). You can organize your Shelves however you like. A submission can be moved back into active status (unshelved) whenever you have a submission slot available; if it has never been active before, you will also need to have review points available to use. Your Library Shelves are accessible via your Dashboard; other members can access your Library Shelves via your listing in the Member Directory.
Telltales are opt-in e-mail messages sent to you from the workshop whenever a certain member submits writing or contributes a review, or whenever your submissions are reviewed. You can sign up for submission telltales when you read a submission or in the Member Directory (at the listing for the author you're interested in). Sign up for review telltales in the Member Directory or on the member's Reviewer History page. Sign up for telltales on your own submission on your Telltales page, accessible from your Dashboard. Watch for the bird symbol (as in "a little bird told me"):
Reviewing and the Reviewer Honor Roll
Members who contribute a lot of substantive reviews are acknowledged with a "busy bee" symbol: Members get the black bee after 50 reviews, the blue bee at 150 reviews, and the gold bee at 350 reviews; gold-bee reviewers are definite veterans (we award them the title Master Reviewers).
Members who receive especially helpful reviews can nominate the reviewers for the monthly Reviewer Honor Roll, a listing of reviews/reviewers that is updated monthly in each month's newsletter. Use the nomination form in the Reviewer Honor Roll area or the nomination link at the bottom of each review.
We maintain a list of useful online resources for aspiring writers, including organizations, other workshops, writers' publications, advice, and contests. New resources are sometimes announced in the monthly newsletter.
For more information and answers to specific questions, read the FAQ.
Notice to Writers
Editors' Choice selections: The selection of a submission as an "Editors' Choice" does not mean that Online Writing Workshops or a sponsoring publisher, if any, will publish your manuscript, or even that a sponsoring publisher will request to see a complete manuscript. It means that the submission was chosen by our Resident Editors as one that could be reviewed in a way that would help the author and other readers learn more about the craft of writing.
Workshops: You may not have participated in a fiction workshop before, so let us just pass on a little advice. First of all, the point of entering your writing in a workshop is to improve it. You may get compliments, but you will almost certainly receive some criticism of your work. Some reviews and ratings of your work may seem harsh to you--and some may be, in fact, unfairly harsh--but most criticism will help you pinpoint the weaknesses in your piece of writing. It's then your job, should you choose, to eliminate those weaknesses as best you can. Keep in mind, as you read the reviews and ratings, that as a writer it's important for you to have a sense of who is the right sort of reader for your work. Some readers will understand what you are trying to do with your writing, and some will not. Listen to the ones who seem to get it--especially if they offer constructive criticism and good suggestions--and listen less hard to the ones who obviously don't get it.
Secondly, pay attention to the critiques your writing receives, but think for yourself. Editors, or readers, can often point out to an author what is wrong with a particular plot point or chapter or passage--but the editors or readers can seldom come up with the best solution. The author is often the only one who can do that.
Agents: Many of you may be looking for an agent to represent your writing to publishers. Be aware that there are many "agents" who charge fees and do not actually send your book around, or misrepresent themselves and their services in various other ways. See SFWA's Writer Beware section for more information on this, or to check out the bona fides of an agent who has approached you.
So join the workshop armed with discernment, a relatively thick skin, a willingness to listen to constructive criticism, and--last but not least--a piece of writing you want to share and get feedback upon!