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New England's largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention

Writing Contest and Workshops

Printer-friendly version Writing Events at Arisia

All you writers, we have a lot to offer you at Arisia this year. We have a writing contest and two writing workshops for you to consider.

Writing contest: Josh Simpson, our Artist GOH has generously donated prizes for a writing contest. There will be one of Josh’s larger spheres, an inhabited world full of fascinating things at the art show. What lives in that planet? What are the stories you can tell about the inhabitants?

The details: Write a short fiction (1000 words MAX) based on the Josh Simpson megaplanet on display. Submit it on line or on paper at the convention between Friday 5 pm and Saturday 6:30 pm. A winner and two runners-up will receive small planetoids as prizes from Josh Simpson on Sunday at con. Judges will deliberate on Saturday evening and their decision is final. More details will be on line and posted at the info desk and the art show. Please send questions to [email protected] .

Writing workshop #1: Nisi Shawl presents “Writing the Other”. In this workshop, Nisi will present a hands-on writing class featuring exercises and explorations of ways to create believable characters of a different race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ability. Participants will be asked to bring some of their own writing to work on, but sharing is not required. Expect to spend three hours learning by doing.

The workshop will take place Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm. There is a limit of 15 people.

You do not need to submit writing to participate in the workshop, nor are you required to share your work, but you should have some writing of your own to bring along to work on. Please sign up at using the following form:

Writing workshop #2: Kelley Armstrong presents a workshop on writing YA fiction.
This workshop will discuss crafting characters, setting, and plot with a particular focus on what makes YA fiction different from other fiction in the genre. For this workshop, we will be giving preference to high school and college students who sign up in advance. If there are still spaces available after January 7th, we will include others on a first come, first serve basis.

The workshop will take place Sunday from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm. There is a limit of 16 people.
You do not need to submit writing to participate in this workshop, nor are you required to share your work, but you should have some writing of your own to bring along. Please sign up using the following form:

A Taste of Viable Paradise Writer's Workshop

Debra Doyle and James Macdonald of the Viable Paradise writer's workshop will host a one-day writer's workshop at Arisia 2011. Five finalists will have their work critiqued by Debra and James with helpful suggestions on how to improve their stories. The deadline for submissions is January 1st, 2011. Submissions are to be emailed to: [email protected] with the heading Arisia Workshop Submission for consideration. The following manuscript guidelines must be followed in order for your story to be considered for the workshop: Manuscript Formatting Guidelines
  • Minimum 2000 words, max 5000 words (or 8-20 pages in standard MS format) including outlines or synopses, although less is fine if it serves the purpose, and can consist of one or two short stories, a novelette, or a novel portion with outline. This should not be material currently on submission to a professional publisher. If you send chapters from your novel they should be the first chapters, (e.g. Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, etc.) to the word limit. If you find the end of chapter three falls just a bit over the word limit, please finish the chapter.
  • The first page of each manuscript should contain basic information (name/address/Email/phone) in the upper left corner, and an approximate word count in the upper right corner. The title should be centered about a third of the way down the page, with the byline two lines below the title. Each subsequent page should have your name, an identifiable portion of the title, and the page number in the upper right corner
  • Do not skip lines between paragraphs. Indent the start of each paragraph.
  • RTF format only. Not .doc, .txt, .wpd, or anything else. Most word processors allow a "Save As" function with Rich Text Format (.rtf) as one of the choices.
  • Turn off "Smart Quotes." Replace all curved quotes with straight quotes. Replace all curved apostrophes with straight apostrophes. Please indicate italics with underlines. Replace the elipsis character with three periods in a row (...), not with a true elipsis (…). Indicate an em-dash (long dash) with two hyphens (--) not a true em-dash (—). Scene breaks should be indicated with a single hash mark (#) alone on a line.
  • Strange Horizons magazine gives detailed instructions on how to carry out these steps with Microsoft Word (turning off default options, etc.) here.
  • The file name should be a keyword from your story's title and your name. For example, "Dragons Over Detroit" by Marty Winecap might be saved as dragons_winecap.rtf. (Calling your submission "submission.rtf" is right out.)
NOTE: Participation in this workshop should in no way be considered as an entry for the standard Viable Paradise workshop. Any participant in the workshop intending to apply to the Viable Paradise proper should do so through the channels indicated on the Viable Paradise web page, and should do so with a different manuscript than the one they submit to the Arisia workshop.