UWG Rules — How the UWG Works...

Our rules are simple:

  1. Manuscripts (or parts thereof) are limited 7000 words.  We take up to four manuscripts at a time.  Four manuscripts at up to 7000 words a piece is quite enough if there's to be enough time left for our jobs, families, and of course, writing.

    Our focus is science fiction and fantasy (dark, light, whatever), and while sometimes we've crossed a bit into mystery or even mainstream, we have decided not do poetry since most of us do not know enough about it to be able to critique it.

  2. Members must critique the manuscript and not the writer.  We encourage members to give at least one positive comment about the manuscript being critiqued.
  3. The last person to arrive is the first person to get critiqued. Critiques go clockwise around the room, ending with the author of the piece.
  4. Each person gets three minutes to critique a manuscript.  No one else is allowed to speak at this time other than to say "ditto" or "dissent".  ("Ditto" means "I agree with the opinion just expressed" and "Dissent" mean "I disagree." We don't use these every single time we agree or disagree, only when we feel strongly about what the critiquer said.)
  5. The author being critiqued can choose to hide behind — er, I mean hold — a large teddy bear.

  6. If someone requires more than three minutes, they may purchase additional time at 50 cents per minute with the author's assent (and that's required). From this point onward, the author may end the critique at any time. The money is used to buy group snacks.
  7. After everyone has critiqued the manuscript, the author gets three minutes to reply, explain, disagree, and give thanks. It's uncommon, but on occasion, we've had authors buy additional time.
  8. Finally, all members must be active — no observers. Members are expected to turn in manuscripts about every other meeting. Members who fail to turn in a manuscript for critiquing three meetings in a row receive the Object of Shame. They must display the object of shame at their place of work and explain to all why they have this thing.