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Membership rate through the convention.
Young Adult (17-21)US$$100
The 70th World Science Fiction Convention
August 30-September 3, 2012   Hyatt Regency   Chicago

Writers' Workshops

Fiction... The Final Frontier

Chicon 7 in Chicago, Illinois
The 70th World Science Fiction Convention

Half a century ago, President John F. Kennedy boldly committed America to place a man on the moon within the decade.  The first milestone in that epic journey was to orbit a man around the earth.  And so the Mercury 7 program was born.  Chicon 7 now celebrates that program, the one that launched so many innovations that we take for granted and that gave us our first views of Earth from space.

The Mercury program and later space programs used and inspired a great deal of fiction as well.  Chicon 7 invites members who are also writers to spend some of their convention time as part of the Writers Workshops.  We're looking for new writers, budding writers, journeyman writers, and seasoned professional writers to fill our workshop sessions.


All Writers' Workshop slots are taken as of August 5, 2012.

Workshop Format

The Writers Workshops at Chicon 7 will be small-session workshops for either experienced or beginning writers based on manuscripts submitted in advance. These workshops will provide Chicon 7 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 provide a critique with directed instruction, at the discretion of the professionals in each session.

Workshop Leaders

Each section will be led by two professional writers. The writers who have tentatively agreed to participate are:

Annie Bellet
Robert Buettner
Sue Burke
Richard Chwedyk
Tom Doyle
Charles Coleman Finlay
Richard Garfinkle
Merrie Haskell
Laurel Anne Hill
Walter Hunt
Morgan Keyes
Nancy Kress
David Levine
Jack McDevitt
Deirdre Saorse Moen
Mike Shepherd Moscoe
G. David Nordley
Matthew Rotundo
Lawrence M. Schoen
Joan Slonczewski
Amy Sundberg
Rachel Swirsky
Martha Wells
Michelle Sagara West
Fran Wilde
Walter Jon Williams
Gregory Wilson

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 Thursday, August 30, through Monday, September 3, at the convention. Sessions will most likely be at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. and will last for two hours. 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 Chicon 7 to participate in the workshop. There will be a nominal fee of $15 to cover workshop expenses. We will email specific payment instructions at the appropriate time. Payment secures your slot.

Submissions must be electronic in .doc or .rtf format.  Fiction manuscripts may be either short stories or novel excerpts.  Stories must be science fiction, fantasy, gothic/horror, alternate history, or have a fantastic element of some kind.  Manuscript submissions may have up to 8,000 words, but shorter lengths are encouraged.  If your manuscript is a novelette or novella, please let us know at the time of submission.  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.

The organizers for the Chicon 7 workshop sessions are Oz Drummond and Traci Castleberry, with the experienced backstage assistance of Richard Chwedyk, long-time organizer of the Windycon workshops. Email Oz Drummond and/or Traci Castleberry at

with any specific questions not answered here.

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Mercury Launch They were designed to carry bombs. Let's put a man on top and see what happens. The Mercury 7 launch vehicles.



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