Guest post from Stina Leicht: Armadillocon Writer’s Workshop

We asked novelist Stina Leicht to tell us about her favorite regional workshop, held every year at ArmadilloCon. Many thanks to Stina for her contribution!

Where: Austin, TX
When: July 27, 2012
How much: $75 (includes lunch and convention membership)
Apply by: June 18, 2012


Held once a year in Austin, Texas, the Armadillocon Writer’s Workshop is one of the best workshops available for the price. This year it will be held on Friday, July 27th and will run from 8:45am to 4:00pm. The cost is $75 and includes lunch as well as a full weekend membership to Texas’s finest literary Science Fiction and Fantasy convention: Armadillocon. The workshop is perfect for beginners and intermediate writing students interested in traditional publishing. Professionally published authors, editors and critics volunteer their time to participate every year. Topics discussed include the basics of writing, manuscript formating, how to get started as well as more advanced topics such as why agents are necessary and how to find one that is right for you. It is not a good fit for those more interested in self-publishing, nor is it designed for previously published authors.

Before the workshop, students are required to submit a 5,000 word sample of their writing. Short stories are strongly recommended, but novel exerpts are accepted as well. Two weeks before the workshop, students are assigned critique groups of no more than five students. Two industry professionals are also assigned to the group. Student manuscripts are distributed to the students withing each group as well as the instructors. Students are required to read and then write a critique of their group’s manuscripts before the workshop meets.

We start the workshop proper with instructor introductions and a writing-associated game. Then the first half of the workshop is run like a normal set of convention panels. Instructors discuss suggested topics (which change every year) and students are allowed questions at the end each session. At lunchtime, students break up into their respective critique groups, eat lunch with their instructors and then launch into Millford Style critique sessions. (See Millford Rules http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milford_Writer’s_Workshop .) This usually takes a few hours. At 3:30pm the groups all gather in the central meeting room and a wrap-up talk is given before the students are released to attend the convention.

In the past, our instructors have included well-known authors such as Sharon Shinn, Charles de Lint, Martha Wells, Rachel Caine, Scott Lynch, and Paolo Bacigalupi. We’ve also been lucky to have amazing editor instructors: Jim Minz, Sheila Williams, Chris Roberson, Anne Sowards, James Frenkel, and Lou Anders. As you can see, it’s a tremendous opportunity. New writers come from all over the country to participate.

The workshop membership is limited to forty-five students. To sign up, go to the Armadillocon 34 website at http://www.fact.org/dillo/workshop.shtml. Information regarding this year’s instructors, workshop requirements as well as step by step sign up instructions will be provided there soon. Hope to see y’all there.

For the record, I was an Armadillocon student for three years, and I feel that associating with established professionals early in my career was very helpful. It gave me not only the rare opportunity to have my manuscripts critiqued by big names, but it also provided solid, realistic, truthful information about publishing. That’s why I’ve been running the Armadillocon Writer’s Workshop for going on five years now. I think it’s pretty amazing.


Stina Leicht is originally from Missouri where she attended Catholic school, climbed trees, fought pirates and rescued her sister’s dolls from terrible fates. Currently, she lives in central Texas with her husband, and far too many books and cds. In the course of her research, she has driven in rally races, taken Irish language lessons and studied Northern Irish politics. Her first novel, Of Blood and Honey, was released by Night Shade Books in 2011. Her second novel, And Blue Skies from Pain (the sequel to Of Blood and Honey) is scheduled for release in March of 2012. Her blog can be found at www.csleicht.com.

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  • Paul Weimer

    I’ve heard excellent things about this workshop from other writers who live and write in Texas.  Martha Wells, whom you named above, comes immediately to mind.

    If I was considering going to Armadillocon, I would strongly think hard about getting a piece ready and applying to attend.

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