Hackoldham Writers Group

Hack Oldham Writers Group

Calling creative writers.

We will be hosting an casual writers group once a month, every second Wednesday evening from 7pm till 10pm, for anyone interested in creating written works of fiction.  The aim of the group is to get writers to help, support and advise one another.  All are welcome, regardless of whether you are just starting out or have years of experience, we only ask that prospective members follow the below “house rules” if you wish to join us.

This group will not charge its members, but we would ask for the occasional donation to the space itself (largely to help keep the lights on). We leave how much up those attending based on what they can afford and what they think they have taken away from the event.


Please read ALL of these rules. We mean it. Take some time and a cup of tea or coffee and it down if that helps.

  1. We meet the second Wednesday of every month at Hackspace Oldham, Yorkshire Street, Oldham, at 7:00pm. Meetings run no later than 10:00pm.
  2. The organisers are David Soponski and Eric Ian Steele
  3. We use DropBox. The organisers should set you up on Dropbox once you contact them and before your first meeting. It is easy to use. Honest.
  4. At least one week before each meeting place your submissions into Dropbox. If it’s not in Dropbox, we don’t critique it.
  5. We have a limit of five (5) pieces for discussion per meeting on a first-come, first-into-DropBox basis.
  6. There must be at least two (2) pieces in Dropbox for a meeting to run.
  7. If you’re new and want to attend you must get in touch before you attend a meeting. Don’t just turn up! You need to give you access to Dropbox so you can take part, and this can only be done by the organisers.
  8. If you’re new you must attend at least one meeting before you submit your own work into DropBox. This is to weed out people who are not serious about attending meetings. There is nothing worse than reading someone’s work and putting the time in to critique it, only for that writer not to bother to turn up at the meeting. People’s time is valuable. Respect that.
  9. We critique as many pieces as time will allow. We choose which stories to critique first as follows:
  • stories carried over from the previous meeting go first.
  • Then we critique any submissions from writers who didn’t have anything critiqued at the last meeting.
  • Then we critique all remaining stories.
  1. During meetings: we use a version of the Milford System for critiques. This is how it works: everyone reads the stories in Dropbox before the meeting and prepares some feedback for the author. How much feedback you give is up to you. We don’t read out stories in the meeting. Instead, everyone gives the author feedback by going around the table. We do not encourage “cross-talk” or interruptions at this stage. People should critique the work and not the feedback that has been delivered by other people. At the end of this, the author gets a chance to respond, answer questions, clarify things etc. Then we go on to the next piece.
  2. You cannot have more than one piece of work in Dropbox at once.
  3. You cannot amend work once it has been put into Dropbox.
  4. Do not remove work from Dropbox once you have put it in. Again, be respectful of people’s time and realize that people go to a lot of time and effort to give feedback. If you cannot attend the meeting let us know as soon as possible. Your work will then be moved to the next meeting. We recognize that sometimes this is unavoidable. However, if any of this happens on a persistent basis your work may be removed from Dropbox.
  5. Formatting stories:

–          Files must be in Word 97-2003.doc files (not docx, rtf, pdf or any other file type)

–          Files may not contain images or multimedia

–          Documents must contain page numbers, a title and the name of the author.

–          It is a good idea to following Shunn formatting. This is the style that most publishers and editors require and it is a good habit to get into.

  1. Stories must be prose fiction (no poetry, plays or screenplays).
  2. Stories must be under 4,000 words long.
  3. You can submit flash fiction (very short stories) so long as the total word count does not go over 4,000 words. Three stories maximum per submission.
  4. You may not submit any stories that have previously been submitted to Dropbox.
  5. You may not submit any story that has previously been published in any form. That includes self-publishing and putting works on blogs, websites etc.
  6. Only persons of 18 years of age or older may attend meetings. We are sorry, but this is due to the occasional mature content of works.
  7. Membership is free. There are no fees. We invite members to donate £1 per meeting or to join the Hackspace as members. This is not compulsory.
  8. IMPORTANT. You may submit work in any genre. Our members are mature and open-minded. Sexual content, gore, violence and profanity are all acceptable. However, we will not accept stories that contain depictions of child abuse, rape or bestiality. We will also not consider works that are primarily erotica or pornography.
  9. You must read all of the submitted pieces in DropBox before the meeting and prepare your feedback in advance. It does not have to be lengthy. A few bullet points per piece is fine. No last-minute reading during the meeting itself. Again, be respectful of other people’s time.
  10. We encourageattendees to hand over a printed copy of each story in Dropbox with some in-line notes. This is not compulsory but most people find it very useful. It also helps when you are giving feedback. You can also note down typographical errors, syntax and grammar, which we usually do not have time to cover in the meeting.
  11. No plagiarism. No fanfiction.
  12. Finally, if you break the rules your submission may be removed from DropBox. If this happens you will receive an email with clarification over which rule or rules you have broken. In rare cases you might be removed from DropBox and asked to find a more suitable writers’ group.