About the Workshop

Before each meeting, there will be two to three prompts for the next meeting. Use the prompts as a guide to help write a short story, which should hopefully be around 2000 words. Stories that are longer than this take a long time for readers to get through, and risk being skipped. People are busy.

Don’t worry if the story isn’t completely finished, or if your response doesn’t exactly follow the prompt. Prompts are only there to challenge you and get you thinking about writing in a different way.

If you wrote a piece that you feel pretty strongly about that has nothing to do with the prompt for that meeting, post it anyway. We generally focus on stories that answer the prompt but we’ll also make time for other stories if available.

At each meeting, we go over each piece with comments and feedback. Our primary purpose of feedback is to get writers to identify their strengths and weaknesses, with the goal of writing more compelling stories. We like to keep feedback constructive, helpful, and honest. Keep an open mind to feedback, but also remember that writers are people with their own tastes.

There’s a WeChat group that any member can add you to. Try to keep it about writing and Workshop. If it’s a long conversation, take it to a private chat.


What is the Shanghai Writing Workshop? 

We’re an organization dedicated to training writers of English language fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

How much does workshop cost?

Workshop is completely free.  We do ask that you buy a drink if we’re at a venue to support our hosts, though.

How often does workshop meet? 

Each workshop meets on a different schedule. I’d suggest checking out the event calendar to see when exactly your specific workshop is meeting. Generally, fiction and creative nonfiction meet on alternating Tuesdays. Poetry meets on Thursdays, but only during certainly stretches of the year.

How do I participate?

You will need to register on the website by clicking the Register Here button on the homepage. After your profile has been approved, you can see and post stories on the forum that is located on the MEETINGS tab.

I am not a native English speaker, can I join? 

Of course! We’re open to people of all backgrounds and nationalities. 

How do I submit? 

Check the MEETINGS page for the latest thread. Upload your work to the “Submissions” thread. Make sure that you sign up and let us know that you’ll be attending! 

Do I have to submit work? 

Nope! If you just want to read and give feedback, that’s great too! 

Do I have to read? 

We ask that everyone who submits their stories for feedback read other people’s stories You can of course come and listen to the discussion without reading or submitting, but without reading, you won’t know what’s going on.  

Trust us. Reading is important. 

Do I have to attend? 

We generally don’t give feedback for people who are not at workshop.

How long should my submissions be? 

2,000 words generally for fiction and nonfiction. Please no longer than this. Poetry workshop generally only has one poem per poet. 

Can I submit my novel? 

Please not all at once. Seriously. 

We’re happy to give feedback on individual chapters within the word count (2,000 words), but  keep in mind that these chapters might rely on other chapters to give context. We’ve found that often times, authors that submit chapters of novels feel frustrated when Workshoppers don’t understand the story due to that missing context. 

Can I join multiple workshops? 

Of course! 

How do I get published? 

Write, edit, submit, repeat. Keep doing this. Be prepared for many, many rejections

Why am I not getting published? 

Getting published in today’s world is an incredibly difficult, time consuming process. Workshop is immensely helpful for improving your writing, but can’t guarantee that you will ever published. 

With persistence and practice, however, you might 😀 

We also suggest that you submit to Shanghai Voices, the Shanghai Writing Workshop’s own literary journal. 

How long does work stay on the MEETINGS tab?

We clean work off of the forum at the end off most months to ensure that there isn’t too much clutter on the website. We’re not a file hosting service, so we suggest that you find a good way to store your own stories.

Do I have to respond to one of the prompts?

Not at all. Prompts are there if you wish to use them to get you started. They’re just a tool. Feel free to post other work that is under the word limit, and we will happily read that.