- Free trial period
New members can participate for three months without having to pay dues.
During the FREE trial period, you must also do at least one critique to be eligible for regular membership. This is designed to weed out those who just come to look, but not write or critique.
After the introductory period, all members are required to pay dues every year, one year in advance.
- Free 10,000 words
New members are allowed to submit up to 10,000 words without doing critiques beforehand. We hope this encourages you to get started.
- When critiques should be done
Critiques of a given submission are normally due within one month of the submission. If it is later than one month, we suggest you send an email to the submitter asking if he/she is still interested in receiving a critique of that submission.
- Critiques must be at least 200 words long and be substantial.
If the author feels that your critique was a simple "I liked it" or "I did not like it", or was too trivial, he/she may inform the moderator and you may not be given credit for that critique.
- Standard Critique Ratio
The current "standard critique ratio" is 1 to 1. For every word you wish to submit of your own work, you must have previously critiqued that same number of words of other members' submissions.
Your unused crit credit continues to accumulate until redeemed by your submissions.
You accumulate your total words critiqued and your total words submitted for as long as you are a member.
We ignore the number of words in your critiques per se, that is, long winded crits count the same as short ones. Although if a very short crit is sent, you may receive a message disqualifying it.
You may ask, "But if I send in a lot of subs and then go inactive for a couple months, do I have to start all over?" No. Your critique credit of words stays with you. You can pick up where you left off.
- Sending critiques
- Most members prepare their critiques in an RTF (Rich Text Format) file and include parts of the submission being critiqued, along with the critic's comments.
- In the body of your critique file, it is helpful if you include the author, title, and section of the manuscript you are critiquing. Also, include your email address, so the author can thank you directly.
- To save email space, you can exclude large sections of the manuscript unless you are commenting directly on them. Some folks like to put a <snip> in place of the missing text.
- Once you have finished preparing your critique, use our web page available for uploading your critique file, so you can get credit for it. Sending your critique directly to the author won't add to your critique credits on our server.
- After you have uploaded the crit to the web page, it is also helpful if you send a copy of your critique directly to the author of the submission by email. Do NOT send your critique to our general email discussion list, which goes out to all members.
- Submitted manuscripts must fit the definition of the group.
That is, they must be "hard science" SF, where the science is believable. FTL (faster than light travel) and time travel are accepted. Specifically excluded are Fantasy and SF Horror.
- Frequency of submissions
You may submit manuscripts to be critiqued at any time, as long as you have earned enough credit as explained above under the "standard critique ratio" above, beyond any extra credits for being a new member.
- Frequency of critiques
You can submit only one critique per submission, but you can submit critiques of different submissions at any time.
- Length of submissions
Submissions of manuscripts may be of any length.
Individual submissions may be of any size, but if over 15,000 words at one time, the submissions tend to receive noticeably fewer critiques. That is a lot of work to ask of a critic. Subs are normally under 15,000 words.
- Short stories
We allow short story submissions.
- Definitions for short story, novelette, novella, and novel
Our group uses the criteria on length of the SFWA (Science Fiction Writer's of America) and the World Science Fiction Association, which are:
Under 7,500 words is a short story.
7,500-17,500 words is a novelette.
17,500-40,000 words is a novella.
over 40,000 words is a novel.
- Manuscript formatting
For details on the format of a manuscript, see "Manuscript Formatting" under the member section of our Web site (once you become a member). Our formatting guidelines are very simple.
You MUST respect the copyrights of the authors.
Do not send copies of part or all of manuscripts you see in our group to anyone who is not a member. Anyone found sending copies outside the group will have their membership dropped immediately. This is an important safeguard of the author's publication rights.
Distributing copies of an author's work outside of this workshop without his/her permission might also result in legal action against you.
After joining and within the first month of membership, in order for the other members to get to know your writing background, you are required to send a short biography (RTF or text). You can post your biography to the group's web site, only accessible by members. If you send it by email, future members will not be able to read it.
For ideas on what you might want to put in your biography, after you join and receive the password to the member directories, you might want to check the Web site under "Member biographies." Our members come from all over the world with a wide variety of backgrounds. I'm sure you will feel right at home.
As you will soon discover, we are a friendly group.
- First submission
Since this is a working writer's group, members should send at least one submission.
In this way, other members can become more familiar with the writing skill level of a member and better understand critiques from that member. Those who are just a little bit apprehensive about sending in samples of their writing are encouraged to write and submit. If this happens to describe you, don't worry. I think you will find this group to be friendly and helpful. We all had to start sometime.
Dive in there and give the waters a try! You will quickly learn why they call it the "writer's high." You will learn more from the feedback you get than you will from sitting at home reading books about writing or biting your fingernails.
- Your real name
This is an honest group of serious writers. You can use an alias if you wish with the membership, but your real name must be known to at least the president.
- To join.