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Writers Workshop

Potlatch not only benefits the Clarion West writers workshop, it also hosts a Clarion-style workshop at the con. It's a great opportunity to get a taste of Clarion, while honing your craft with your fellow writers and our instructors.

The Instructors

The Workshop

The workshop will be organized into small groups, each led by one of the instructors. In a Clarion-style workshop, everyone reads and critiques all the stories in advance of the workshop meeting. To register, each participant submits a story, and copies will be mailed to every participant in his or her group about a month before the con.

At the workshop meeting itself, the participants and instructor sit in a circle. The instructor chooses which story to critique, and starting with the person next to the story's author, the other participants give their critiques, going around the circle. The instructor may enforce a time limit on the comments. The author remains silent during his or her story's critique and the instructor always critiques last. Finally, the author has a chance to comment on the critiques and ask questions, and there is some time for general discussion.

This is repeated for the rest of the stories.

Potlatch will be providing workshop participants with a lunch catered by the Con Suite.


To participate in the workshop, you must be a registered member of Potlatch. Choose a complete science fiction or fantasy story of yours of up to 5000 words, and print it out in correct manuscript format. Make five complete photocopies, each copy stapled or paperclipped together, and mail them to:

Zed Lopez
PO Box 12546
Berkeley, CA 94712

Previous writing experience is not necessary, but please include a brief description of what your writing background is. ("This is my first story" would suffice, if appropriate.) Please also enclose a check for $15 (for postage, lunch, and other workshop expenses) made out to Clarion West/Potlatch 14.

Your submission must be postmarked on or before January 31, 2005. This deadline is firm to allow time to forward the manuscripts to all participants and instructors and give them time to read and critique them. Please plan accordingly.


For many participants, this may be their first time critiquing, their first time allowing others to read their writing, or both. Please remember this cardinal principle: critique the story, not the author. See Maureen McHugh's excellent (and brief!) Four Steps to a Useful Critique, and Critters' resource list for more articles on critiquing.

For more information

If you have any questions, please send them to: workshop@potlatch-sf.org.