VCON Writers Workshops Status

WHEN– October 2022 but not yet confirmed. TBA.

WHERE – At the hotel where VCON 2022 will take place as an in-person convention. Venue yet to be confirmed. TBA.

WHAT – Probably one novel writing workshop and two short story workshops distributed over the three-day weekend.

WHO – Three professionals and 4 participants per workshop, plus moderator Rissa Johnson.

PURPOSE OF WORKSHOPS – To determine if your manuscript as presented is professional enough not to be automatically rejected by editors on the basis of the first page or even the first paragraph. In other words, is your MS entirely devoid of tiresome “newbie” errors and instead handles plot, characterization, theme, etc. in a refreshingly original and professional manner such that an editor would find it worthy of serious consideration? If not, perhaps the critiques you receive will move you in that direction.


– Novel workshop: Probably author Guest of Honour TBA, two other professionals (positions open), and 4 participants (positions open).

– Short Story Workshops:  Three Professionals (positions open) and four participants (positions open) per workshop.

HOW DOES IT WORK? – Each workshop is 3 hours long (with breaks) and will consist of four people who have submitted manuscripts and three pros. Each manuscript will receive 6 verbal critiques from the 3 pros and the other 3 participants. Each critique will be limited to a maximum of five minutes (to ensure every participant receives a full set of critiques).

WHAT DOES IT COST? – The workshops are free and available on a first come, first serve basis. However, you must have purchased memberships for VCON 2022 by the time your workshop is held.

DEADLINE TO APPLY – TBA. Applications will be accepted on a first come, first serve criteria, with overrun being placed on a waiting list in case anyone drops out before the submission deadline.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION – TBA. Probably some time in September, 2022.


You submit a Word doc to Rissa by email, and she redistributes to all the other participants and the pros by email ASAP to allow everyone a month to read and critique the manuscripts for their particular workshop.

The Friday Novel workshop submission should consist of the first 3,000 words of the first chapter of a novel in the SF, fantasy or Horror genres (or any subgenre within those three such as Steampunk, Urban Fantasy, etc.).

The Saturday and Sunday short story submissions must be stories complete in themselves at no more than 3,000 words in length in the SF, Fantasy, or Horror genres (or any subgenre within those three such as Steampunk, Urban Fantasy, etc.).

Standard format required for the manuscripts submitted:

  • Word doc format
  • Courier or Times Roman font
  • Point 12 font size
  • Lines double-spaced
  • Author name, title & page number at top of every page.
  • No need to include address.
  • No need for introductory letter. MS Will speak for itself.

For those who have never experienced a Clarion-style workshop before, it is Rissa’s habit to send a document detailing how to critique and what to watch out for to every participant along with the manuscripts appropriate to their workshop.

Three hours may sound like a long time but the VCON workshops over the years have proven fast-paced, exhilarating, inspiring, and a heck of a lot of fun!

ANY QUESTIONS? – Contact Rissa Johnson at TBA.