Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writers Workshop
June 1 - 15, 2014

Multiple award-winning author Kij Johnson
helps you transform your book idea into a successful project.
Since 2004.

the monkey or the wasp?

Information Map
2014 Novel Writers Workshop
"Repeat Offenders" Novel Writer's Workshop
Housing for the Novel Writers Workshops
Enrollment Information and Registration Form
Transportation from Airport to Lawrence
Lawrence in the Summer

For 2014, the Center for the Study of Science Fiction will again offer the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writers Workshop, plus a short follow-up "Repeat Offenders" workshop for those who have already taken her full-length workshop. Award-winning author Kij Johnson has been teaching this workshop since 2004. The novel workshop fills up fast! If you're interested in applying, read this page and respond by the dates listed.

The Science Fiction Novel Writers Workshop will meet from June 1–13, and the Campbell Conference, June 13–15. If you are coming from out of town, plan to arrive on Sunday, June 1, by 6:00pm in our residence hall where we'll be meeting, and stay through the end of the Conference. We will have an informal get-together with the short SF Writers Workshop on Sunday evening to get acquainted.

The Campbell Conference plans to bring the winners of the Campbell and Sturgeon Awards to the campus as special guests, as well as others. Several special SF-writer guests and more are also scheduled for the special Campbell Conference this year. We always ask our special guests to come and talk to us on Friday afternoon about "The Secrets of Successful Science Fiction" - always a great experience! Workshop participants may register for the Conference at the early-bird special rate - note that you are a Workshop attendee in your registration form.

Housing information is available below. Participants will have time for writing, for recreation, for socializing, and for individual conferences.

2014 Novel Writers Workshop

This summer, in conjunction with the Center for the Study of Science Fiction and the SF Writing Workshop, Kij Johnson teaches a two-week intensive workshop on writing novels. The goals of this workshop are to generate the best possible chapters and an outline for a writer's submission packet; to learn what will be necessary to complete or revise the novel with an eye toward publication; and to have fun in one of the prettiest and most likable towns in the Midwest build bonds with other members of the writing community.

Kij at the whiteboard during her 2008 Novel Writer's Workshop.

This workshop is targeted at the new novelist with a novel begun but not completed. The minimum coming in is a solid working outline or synopsis (probably 5-10 pages or more) and the first 15-30 pages. It seems to work best for people who have somewhat more than the minimum but less than half of the work they want to workshop.

The Workshop typically runs each morning from 9:00am–noon, and the rest of your time is free for writing, study, consultation, and recreation.

The Workshop is in two segments. We workshop the novel chapters or segment in traditional round-robin workshop style, with the emphasis on writing and characterization. We also do what Kij calls, for want of a better term and in the tradition of kit-bashing, novel-bashing: Starting with an outline, synopsis, or scene breakdown, we deconstruct and reconstruct the plot, looking for holes or flaws and for ways to deepen the novel's structure and storyline. Then, taking these notes, workshoppers revise either the outline or the chapters and resubmit the material to the workshop for further discussion.

We may also select a published SF/F novel, read it before the workshop, and analyze it for insights into successful novel plotting. We are likely to turn to Sock Monkey Action Theatre™ as a blocking tool.

Sock Monkey Action Theatre™ actors at rest.

"Repeat Offenders" Novel Writer's Workshop

Return to the scene of the crime to reinforce the lessons from your last workshop, and reconnect with other alums. Since 2010.

Kij again offers an informal week-long workshop for people who have attended one of my novel workshops before this. It runs either one or two weeks, from June 15–27, but because the workshop starts on Sunday afternoon, as the Campbell Conference winds down, we strongly encourage you to consider showing up early for the conference.

Repeat Offenders is basically a chance to work with similarly trained writers on whatever project is underway. Ill probably lead a few discussions and work with y'all on fishbowling and development as needed. Well leave the numbers open on this one, since there's a top-limit based on how many of you have attended.

To apply:

By April 19, contact Kij at Be sure you:

  • Include "Repeat Offenders" in your subject line.
  • Describe the project you're working on and what's blocking you.
  • Note: This date is for the Repeat Offenders workshop only; the deadline for the regular novel workshop is earlier.

Enrollment Information and Registration Form

Depending on the applicants, Workshop enrollment is between eight and eleven attendees each year. The novel workshop always has more applicants than slots for them, so not everyone gets in. Kij is interested in putting together a group of writers who are talented and (she hopes) will mesh productively and positively. Its imperative that people work well together.

Applicants for admission must contact Kij Johnson ( between February 1 and March 1. Be sure you:

  • Include "2014 Novel Workshop" in your subject line.
  • Describe your experience with workshops, if any.
  • Talk about your goals as a writer generally and for this workshop in specific.
  • Describe the project you wish to work on, either in the synopsis/outline you will be submitting to the workshop, or a shorter document.
  • Include 5-10 sample pages of your novel at the end of your email. (Don't attach documents if you can help it.) If you do not have pages of the novel, you may be able to apply using other fiction writing, but ask first!

You may be asked for additional information. Those applying early will be informed of acceptance by April 1. Deadlines for housing and so forth come up after this.

If you are accepted, fill out the new online-registration form right away. Your packet will be due May 15 at the latest. This deadline needs to be firm, since workshop participants may be reading and preparing notes on 400 or more pages of material. This packet can be electronic and will include:

  • A 5-20 page synopsis, outline, or scene breakdown. This should be your best effort at describing the novel. This is not a pitch; it is the functional tool you are using to write the book.
  • The first three chapters or 15-30 pages of the novel.
  • Whatever additional materials are essential to the readers understanding of your goal.

To clarify: The workshop is designed for writers in the early stages of a novel: 25-100 pages of first draft, and an outline or synopsis of 5+ pages (or a spreadsheet; we had one of those, too). With very rare exceptions, it's not as effective for the later stages.

Participants often exchange full manuscripts during or after the Workshop, so bring the entire manuscript if you have one, and be prepared to share more if you find interested readers!

Contact us for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay. More logistical information is available on the CSSF LiveJournal page.


Tuition for the Workshop is $600, exclusive of meals and housing, payable to University of Kansas (including a $100 deposit payable on acceptance). Those also taking the Speculative Fiction Writers Workshop (short form) must pay tuition for that Workshop, as well. Dorm and meal costs rise the longer you stay, of course, so plan appropriately. Meals vary in cost depending on where you eat. Please send a check payable to KU Housing before you arrive.

Tuition for the "Repeat Offenders" Workshop is $300. Contact Kij for more info.

A limited number of reduced-cost scholarships are available for those in financial need. To be considered for the reduced rate, please request it and explain your need when contacting us. Typical reductions are $100 for promising candidates.

Housing for the Novel Writers Workshops

Our official dorm housing for out-of-town attendees is one of the lounges in Rieger Scholarship Hall (a mirror of previous years' Rieger Hall) at 1323 Ohio Street, a brand new residence located near the Kansas Student Union, Oread Hotel, and downtown. Rooms share a bathroom with another room or down the hall (about one with 3 stalls and showers/bath per 6 rooms), and have a sink and counter space for a microwave or other small kitchen equipment. Other building amenities include a lovely wraparound porch with seating (including a chair-swing or two), basketball court, pool table, and many private study areas. Be sure to let Lydia Ash know if you have special needs.

Dormitory rooms are available at the following rates:

  • Twelve-night stay (Sunday evening, June 1 - Friday morning, June 13) in a shared double room: $305; if you want the double rate, you need to work out a roommate in advance, because the Center is charged per room, not per occupant, and we cannot choose roommates for you. To settle in and meet your fellow workshoppers, we recommend arriving early in the day on Sunday. 
  • Twelve-night stay in a single room (unshared): $496.
  • To stay for the Campbell Conference, add $48 (shared) or $78 (unshared) for Friday and Saturday night. This is a great opportunity to meet our Campbell and Sturgeon Award winning authors, plus other authors and editors, so we strongly recommend staying through the Conference weekend.
  • Note: Housing cannot accommodate check-ins earlier than June 1. You must request to check in early and pay for an extra day if you wish to stay longer. Housing also cannot accommodate stays beyond June 27.

If you wish to stay in a dorm, you must make dorm reservations by May 20. Please pay for your room in advance once you hear from Lydia Ash about this year's final rate. Check-out is at noon.

Also use the new online-registration form to reserve a dorm room. 

2005 SF Novel Workshoppers in our dorm lounge

The SF Novel Writing Workshop of 2005
Standing: Chuck Marsters, Larry Taylor, Erick King, Leonid Korogodski.
Sitting: Maria Zannini, Robert Hamm, Kij Johnson, Lane Robins.

Check out for local hotel information.

Meals are available in a variety of wonderful restaurants, and Lawrence offers at least one fine micro-brewery. Check out for a list of just a few of the local eating establishments.

Transportation from Airport to Lawrence

Many transport services offer rides between the Kansas City International (MCI - the "M" is for "Mid-Continent") airport and Lawrence, including:

  • Better Alternative Transportation Services (BATS): 24/7 door-to-door service; individual rates.
  • Roadrunner (also known as "KCI Airport Shuttle"): individual rates; departs from the Holidome (Lawrence Holiday Inn) at specific times. Toll-free phone contact number: (800)747-2524 or call your travel agent.
  • SDM Transportation: 24/7 door-to-door service; offers airport shuttles or luxury cars with individual rates.
  • Jayhawk Taxi: 24/7 door-to-door service; fixed rate to the airport for 1-2 passengers.
  • Super Shuttles: 24/7 door-to-door service; group rates; discount if you use the group discount code: S6Q2W.
  • Five Guys Shuttle: 24/7 door-to-door service; rates per van, not per person.
  • Here 2 There Shuttle: 24/7 DD service, airport shuttle, and reservations for special events. Can hold up to 10 passengers at once. Call or text 785-380-8879 or email
  • KCI Express Shuttle offers pickup and delivery right to our dorm or your hotel for only $5 more than the normal rate. Phone Reservations: (816)645-1815. After 8:00 PM CST (816)372-1556.
  • Ground Transportation Services, Inc, is a local Lawrence business that provides 24/7 taxi service within Lawrence, and the surrounding areas. They also operate daily door-to-door shuttle service from Lawrence to the Kansas City Airport. (888)467-3729 or (785)838-4500. See a schedule here.


  • Reserve well in advance of your trip to confirm pricing and availability.
  • KCI stands for "Kansas City International Airport," though the official airport code changed to MCI - "Mid-Continent International Airport" - a few years ago.
  • This list is for your information only. KU and the Gunn Center are not affiliated with these services.


Here's a cropped map of the University of Kansas (click the image to see it in full-screen size):
 click for larger map

Here's a map showing where KU is located in Eastern Kansas:

University of Kansas map.

Kansas Union map (in .pdf format).

Lawrence bus routes and maps.

Google Maps centered on the KU Kansas Union.

Unfortunately, this summer KU is enduring lots of road construction. See this map for details (click the image to see image in full-screen):

Lawrence in the Summer

For anyone who hasn't visited, Lawrence is wonderful, a lively small city in the Kaw River valley, filled with art, events and activities. The location of the University of Kansas, Lawrence is situated about 40 miles from Kansas City and 20 miles from Topeka. Summers can be hot, but classrooms and housing are air-conditioned.

Among its many amenities, the University of Kansas has a large science-fiction collection and good reference collections; museums of natural history and art; and sports, theater, and concerts. Lawrence has many excellent restaurants and shopping and recreational opportunities. Kansas City is less than an hour away. Nighttime opportunities include movies, dinner, concerts, star-gazing sessions, and more.

The nearest major airport is Kansas City International, about 55 miles from Lawrence. Transportation to Lawrence from Kansas City International can be arranged through one of several airport shuttle services. By car, Lawrence is at the intersection of U.S. 59 and I-70 (Kansas Turnpike). The west interchange is closer to campus. Lawrence can also be reached along the lovely Kansas Highway 10.

Find out all about Lawrence - its history, stores, museums, observatories, and SFnal activities - here.

Contact us for any logistical help you might need in getting settled for your stay:

Lydia Ash ( ) or Kij Johnson ( )

updated 5/29/2014

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