Do I have to be a published writer to join GSFWC?

Not at all. Beginners are as welcome as experienced writers (very few of us had anything published professionally prior to joining the group). GSFWC’s goal is to help each member to progress one step at a time towards the ultimate goal of professional publication.

Do I have to bring something to critique?

No. In fact, we recommend that prospective new members drop in on one of our sessions and see how we operate entirely without commitment. That way you get a feel for whether we’d be the right group for you before you have to worry about taking part.

Will I be expected to read my story out loud to the group?

While we understand that a number of writers groups operate on this principle: No. Not ever. There are three reasons for this: 1/ We circulate a story in advance so that we can give it a good couple of reads and prepare our thoughts, and it is difficult to formulate any deep critique on the basis of an oral reading, 2/ it takes up a lot of time (especially if it’s a novel) that could more usefully be spent in discussion, 3/ when you submit the story to an editor you won’t be  there to read it to her will you?

Tell me more about this Milford thing.

The Milford critique rules were developed for the annual Milford Writers Workshop. This event was founded Pennsylvania by Damon Knight and others in the 1950’s, but it has been held in the UK since the 1970’s and has been attended by many genre authors over the years, including several members of GSFWC. The Milford rules in full are:

Manuscripts are distributed beforehand. Everyone reads, critiques and prepares before the formal workshop begins. It is etiquette not to discuss the manuscripts beforehand either with the author or other members of the critique group. The participants sit round in a circle. The author whose work is being critiqued has to sit in silence through the first part in which each participant in turn delivers their critique. Then the author gets uninterrupted right of reply. Following that a general discussion ensues. Constructive criticism is strongly encouraged.

Does GSFWC deal with novels or short stories?

Both! We dedicate each meeting to the discussion of one piece of fiction (the only exception is for very short work) and it doesn’t matter whether the piece under scrutiny is a story or a novel. The only difference is that we allow longer for members to read a long work. Some writers like to submit a novel a chapter at a time, but we try to dissuade them for doing this: 1/ because it’s difficult to say much about the more overarching elements of a novel in progress (such as story arc and character development), and 2/ because it the first draft is rarely the best time to get criticism anyway.

How much does it cost?

The Ogilvie Centre charges us a very reasonable rate of £3 per head for the hire of the meeting space.

Is it all work and no play?

As if! Our critique sessions always end in a trip to the pub where we talk writing, publishing and general genre nonsense over a tipple or two.

17 Responses “GSFWC FAQ” →
  1. Sounds like good fun.

  2. Sounds really interesting, if I can arrange some way of returning to Edinburgh, I’ll drop in one of the sessions. Do I need to let you know before hand, in case I do? Thanks! Silvia

  3. I found the email address, so yes, I’ll email before dropping in.
    Sorry for not checking earlier 😀

    • That’s cool. Yes, drop us an email if you’re thinking of attending one of our meetings. You’re welcome any time.

  4. Just written first story. coming on tuesday to get info and make contact

  5. Hi,
    I’m totally new to writing,I have written a couple of short stories. I know the website says beginners can attend to but I have been writng for around a month. Would it still be possible to attend?

    • Liam – writers at any and all stages of their career are welcome to attend. Drop us a line at our email address: glasgowsfwriters[at]


  6. grant

    June 2, 2013

    I like the sound of your group, it’s just what I’m looking for. I’d like to come along to the next meeting. What time does it finish up (I’m travelling by train from Kilmarnock and I have work the next day)?

    • Hi Grant

      Sorry, we totally missed your comment here! If you’re still interested, to answer your question – our meetings run from 8pm til around 9.30, then we head round to the pub for a chat. We have a few members who commute in from Ayreshire (Ayr and Troon) and they manage it okay.

      If you want to try it out, you’re welcome to come and sit in on any of our upcoming meetings.


  7. dfdrummond

    August 20, 2013

    HI Guys,
    Just stumbled upon your group and like the sound of the ‘circle of doom’.

    I’m a looooong term (very avid) SF reader and am now couple of chapters into a book which has been rattling around my head for a while now.

    If there is no requirement for the peice to be finished I’d love to come along and get some feedback – especially since I now work in Glasgow…

    Let me know.


    • Hiya – we’re always open to prospective new members. Best thing is to come along to one of our upcoming meetings and get a feel for whether you think it’d be useful for you or not. Our meeting dates and venue details are published on this site. If you want more information, drop us a line at the group email address.


  8. Gordon

    June 11, 2014

    Hi guys
    I was wondering whether or not you read scripts / screenplays.

    • Hi Gordon – we don’t as a rule, but there’s no reason — apart from lack of familiarity or expertise for many of us — why we couldn’t. Drop us a line at or drop in at any of our meetings if you want to discuss it with us.


  9. Paul M. Feeney

    October 11, 2016

    Interesting group. Only just found out about it by way of Ian Whates and a NewCon Press newsletter. Shall certainly look into attending a future meeting, as I write pulpy horror/SF and I like that your definition of SF is pretty broad. Shall check my work schedule.


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