The Online Writing Workshop for SF & F is open to all writers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror, both aspiring and professional. You need to become a member in order to participate. We require a valid email address, and because of occasional adult content, people under 18 must get parental permission before joining. Pseudonyms may be used. Multiple memberships are not allowed.
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.
Because 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 and get it reviewed. 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 for review at once.
Rules about submitting your work:You need four review points to post an active submission. You're given four review points when you join the workshop, so you can post your first submission before contributing any reviews. After that, you earn one review point for each substantive review you post, with a bonus point awarded if that submission has zero reviews. Very short reviews are allowed, but don't earn review points. Once you earn the points, they're yours until you spend them by posting a submission. Even if the submission you reviewed is removed from the workshop, you still keep your points. You may post up to three active submissions at a time: three chapters, three short stories, etc. Three chapters from one novel equal three submissions. (Some browser configurations do not allow submission of long pieces all at once, so if your story or chapter is too long for the text window, you may use our "append text" feature to add the second part. Submit what you can, then go to your partial submission and click the "Update this submission" link at the top. Scroll down to beneath the submission text box and click the "append form" link to add the rest of your submission. No extra points are needed for this.) Editors' Choice submissions are exempted from the three-active-submission limit, so you may occasionally see some members who have more than three pieces posted. You may use the Library feature to store submissions in read-only format (these are your "shelved" submissions). You can move active (reviewable) submissions to your Library shelves and vice versa. It only costs points to post an active submission the first time; re-posting ("unshelving") it later is free. There is no time limit on shelved submissions and they are not removed automatically from the workshop as long as you are a member.
Rules about the content of your submission: It must be written by the person submitting it. It must be science fiction, fantasy, or horror. It must be no longer than 7500 words (about 30 double-spaced pages). It must not use licensed worlds, universes, or the characters from those worlds or universes (including but not limited to those from Star Trek®, Star Wars®, and computer or role-playing games). It may contain "explicit" material--swearing, sex scenes--as long as that material is comparable (in extent and explicitness) to that in genre novels you can find on the shelves of most bookstores. Use your best judgment. If you're in doubt, it's probably too much for the genre! (If your submission does contain a lot of "explicit" material, mark it as Adult Only and note that in the area for author comments.) You must have read and agreed to our legal disclaimer before submitting. This protects you and us.
Online Writing Workshops, as owner and administrator of the workshop, has these rights regarding submissions: We may delete a submission at any time for reasons including but not limited to inappropriateness for the workshop, obscenity, and plagiarism. We may email the author regarding his/her submissions for various reasons. It must be no longer than 7500 words (about 30 double-spaced pages). We may select a submission as a monthly "Editors' Choice" and list it as such on the Editors' Choice page and in the workshop's newsletter.
But we don't have the right to publish any author's work or submit it for publication, nor do we have an option on publishing that work, or any sort of claim to it, just because that work or a portion thereof has been posted in the workshop. Selecting a submission as an "Editors' Choice" does not give us any rights or options. All rights remain with the author of the work. In even plainer language, it's yours, not ours.
Rules about rating and reviewing: You may not rate or review your own submission(s).Reviews must contain some useful content for the author, not just "I liked it" or "I couldn't read this." Very brief reviews are allowed, but will not earn review points. Ideally, reviews should contain specific good and bad points. All reviews should include at least one positive comment.Members who post contentless reviews in order to earn points will have those reviews deleted (and points removed) and may have their membership revoked if they do not mend their ways. Play fair!The point of the workshop is to help SF/F/H writers improve their writing. Therefore, constructive criticism is encouraged; insults and put-downs are not allowed. Try to be clear but not harsh in your criticisms, and don't forget to compliment the good points. Put yourself in the writer's shoes before you slam a submission, no matter how poorly written it may be.Flaming, personal attacks, and an aggressive, condescending tone are not allowed. Members who cannot follow this rule will be banned from the workshop.
Online Writing Workshops, as owner and administrator of the workshop, has these rights regarding reviews: We may remove an active submission and its reviews from the workshop automatically three months after its submission date or last update. This is to keep workshop members focused on newer submissions and submissions that are being revised. (If your active submission is scheduled to be removed, you will receive email notifying you two weeks in advance; you may then either update your submission to keep it from being removed, or download the reviews and ratings for your submission before they are removed with the submission. You can have your own submissions and any reviews emailed to you at any time.) We may remove an active submission and its reviews from the workshop automatically three months after its submission date or last update. This is to keep workshop members focused on newer submissions and submissions that are being revised. (If your active submission is scheduled to be removed, you will receive email notifying you two weeks in advance; you may then either update your submission to keep it from being removed, or download the reviews and ratings for your submission before they are removed with the submission. You can have your own submissions and any reviews emailed to you at any time.) At our discretion, instead of removing active submissions from the workshop entirely, we may move them to the member's Library shelves, where they are still readable but not reviewable.We may delete a review at any time for reasons including but not limited to inappropriateness for the workshop, obscenity, and just plain unconstructive meanness. Flames and personal attacks will be deleted.We may contact a member about a contentless review, request revisions, or direct that member to resources on how to review. We may also delete contentless reviews.We may contact a member about an inappropriate review and request revisions. We may also cancel a person's membership and ban a person from participating in the workshop, with or without prior warning, if he or she seems incapable of participating in a constructive manner. We will cancel the memberships of reviewers who consistently contribute reviews that are aggressive in tone and inappropriate for the workshop environment. In those cases we may or may not refund a prorated amount of the member's membership fee, at our discretion.
We reserve the right to cancel your membership, with or without prior notice, if we learn that you have: registered under multiple usernamesmade submissions that do not follow our guidelines submitted reviews that personally attack or flame other members consistently submitted contentless reviews used member information for commercial purposes or otherwise violated this member agreement.
In these cases we may or may not refund a prorated amount of any membership fee paid, at our discretion.
Your membership rights:You may delete or update your own submissions and reviews at any time, and update the information in your member-directory listing, too, as long as you continue to provide us with a valid email address. You may terminate your membership at any time, for any reason you wish. Just log in, then go to the Profile section of your Dashboard and click on "Delete membership." Your submissions (both active and shelved in the Library) will be removed from the workshop as soon as you delete your membership. However, your reviews will remain in the workshop unless you delete each one before your delete your membership. You may contact us to clarify any workshop rules and rights, complain about a review, report a problem with the workshop, or make suggestions. We will do our best to reply to you within a day or two.
You may also find our Notice to Writers of interest, especially if you have not participated in a workshop before.
For more about how the workshop works and what features we offer, see How it Works.