Wordos Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What are the Wordos?
The Wordos are a group of writers who meet once a week in Eugene, Oregon to critique stories and discuss the art, craft, and business of writing. Our goal is to help each other produce fiction that will sell, and to continually improve our writing abilities even after we’ve achieved that initial goal. We do this by meeting weekly to critique each other’s work and to discuss topics of general interest to working writers.
2. Where did you get the name "Wordos"?
The Wordos are the continuation of a Eugene-based writers group that began in 1987, and was named “The Wordos” in 1995 when its members decided it needed to be called something shorter and friendlier than its business-name (The Eugene Professional Writers Workshops, Inc.). Someone suggested “wordos” as a term that connoted people who work with words in a fiercely Eugenian kind of way. The name stuck, and it has come to mean “someone to keep an eye on” in the writing world. In a good way!
3. What is a critique anyway?
The Wordos follow the Clarion model of critiquing. The short description is as follows: you read a given story on your own time, write up your comments, then on the evening of the workshop you speak for one to three minutes offering those and other comments aloud. At the end of the evening you give the critiqued story back to the author. There are a bunch of other rules about when you can speak and what you can say. If you’re truly interested, you can read about it in our guidelines.
4. Where do I get the guidelines?
E-mail us using the address on our contact page to request them. But please don’t do that unless you’re seriously considering attending the workshop, or starting a workshop of your own.
5. What are the benefits of being a Wordo?
The critiques help you revise stories to make them sell. Over time, having critiqued and been critiqued, you also write better stories from the outset.
We discuss market information, such as which editors are buying what material, who is working where, and how ownership and direction of different publications are changing.
6. When and where do you meet?
We meet every Tuesday night, at Tsunami Books on Willamette Street in Eugene, Oregon. We meet from 7PM to 9PM. If a holiday falls on a Tuesday, the group may elect not to meet. In addition, we do not meet one Tuesday during winter break.
7. Are there any requirements to joining the Wordos?
Candidates must be at least 18 years old.
New candidates are invited to visit the table to get an idea of how we critique.
Before being accepted into the Wordos, candidates must submit one short story manuscript to the facilitator(s) to be evaluated. Make it the best short story you can write, preferably in the science fiction or fantasy genres. We recognize that fledgling writers might not produce award-winning stories, but candidates must understand standard manuscript format and have at least a basic understanding of grammar and punctuation. Candidates still struggling with basic story creation and/or language syntax may be asked to hone their skills and re-apply after a month's time.
We call this sample a 'jury piece', and if you want to know more about it, read this. Candidates are asked to continue attending during this process.
Members must offer at least one story per quarter to the workshop for critique. (We'd love to see much more.) It should be fiction intended for publication in a commercial market. Experiments and stories of any genre are fine, but the ultimate goal must be to create publishable fiction. The Wordos exists to help writers help each other sell fiction.
You must critique other people’s stories to the best of your ability, following the instructions in the workshop guidelines. Please keep in mind that while Wordos members enjoy each each other and often socialize, the workshop is about writing, learning, critiquing, and submitting.
8. Are there any dues?
Yes. We pay rent to Tsunami Books and add to our discretionary account by each person throwing two dollars in a hat, at every workshop.
9. You have a lot of members who write science fiction. Do you all write the same type of stories?
No, we don't. Wordos members write in all genres, in all lengths. At the critique table we focus on science fiction, fantasy, and horror in the short story form. To keep critiquing manageable, we rarely critique stories over 10,000 words -- but we can often arrange it with advance notice.
10. Why Eugene, Oregon?
Beats the heck out of us. There are more professional writers here — especially science fiction writers — per square foot than anywhere else in the world. We don’t know why. Maybe it’s the water.
11. How do I get in touch with the Wordos?
Contact us here.