Workshop Guidelines

Mission Statement

    All members will be committed to the overall health and longevity of the group as a whole, and also to the growth and success of each individual writer. This might mean publication and it also might not.

Submission Guidelines

  1. We meet every other Sunday from 5-7pm, to workshop the submissions of two authors. 
  2. We are a fiction workshop at heart, but also dabble in memoir/creative non-fiction.
  3. A submission line-up is provided between every workshop and not to be deviated from except for good reason.
  4. Submissions should be no longer than 5,000 words.
  5. Submissions should go out by the Wednesday prior to that Sunday’s workshop in order to ensure the group has time to read and provide thoughtful, thorough feedback. If submissions go out after Wednesday, written feedback can’t be guaranteed. Under no circumstance should a submission go out later than Friday.
  6. Submissions may consist of multiple flash or shorter works that total up to 5,000 or fewer words, however, we place a limit on 3 such works per submission.
  7. An author may submit a longer piece with advance permission. This may come with concessions: submitting a week or more in advance of workshop, for example, or waiving the right to line notes.
  8. The author should include in the submission any guidance they want to be considered during reading and workshop. If no guidance is offered, the group will assume the piece is stand-alone, and the goal is publication in a literary magazine of acceptable repute.
  9. It’s understood that all submissions are considered works in progress. While these pieces should be paginated and proofread, authors are encouraged to experiment and push their creative boundaries.
  10. New members will be plopped right in the middle of the lineup.
  11. Submissions should be submitted via email to the group email address:

Workshop Conduct and Expectations

  1. Authors bring snacks to the workshops where their work is scheduled to be discussed. This is an important  and not to be treated lightly.
  2. The discussion of a member’s submission(s) will be approximately 30-45 minutes, although there is no set time limit.
  3. All members will take part in workshop discussion, and space will be made for all members.
  4. Discussion is meant to focus on thematic issues, or questions rooted in the heart of the piece, and not on line or superficial issues, which written feedback can and should address (see #8).
  5. Workshops default to the classic workshop model, in which the author is silent while their work is being discussed, and that discussion proceeds organically. However, about halfway through the workshop, a pause may be invoked, during the author will have the opportunity to reflect, pose questions, and/or redirect conversation. The author will have an opportunity to frame the discussion at the beginning, and to ask final questions at the end of their workshop as well.
  6. That all said, the workshop is primarily for the author. If an author would like to structure their workshop differently than described above, they are encouraged to provide us guidance to do that. Not all submissions are the same, and so the workshop structure can change as well.
  7. In the interest of providing the most thorough and honest feedback, discussions should be open and honest, and criticism should be offered freely. Nonetheless, at all times, members must conduct themselves with the utmost decorum. Members should be conscious of not interrupting or talking over other members, and should always offer their comments respectfully. Name-calling will not be tolerated, unless appropriate and witty.
  8. All members will provide written feedback directly to the author for all works submitted. This may take any form – handwritten notes, typed comments, marked-up Word docs, etc. It should contitute some level of line notes and general takeaways/feedback.
  9. Written feedback should be provided the day or night of said workshop. 

Attendance Policy

  1. If a writer misses a workshop, they will be frozen in the submission lineup one turn.
  2. All writers are encouraged to provide written feedback for any workshops they miss. This thing of ours is a community, and should be entered into with a spirit of good will and generosity, and not one of transaction.


  1. All rules are subject to change by fiat of the Group Elders.
  2. If there any questions, see Miscellaneous Guideline No. 1.

One thought on “Workshop Guidelines

  1. Pingback: Workshop | Backyard Writers

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