The Dread Writers Alliance

Workshops  |  Critique Groups  |  Mentoring


In February, we’ll be focusing on flash fiction with exercises and discussions from the Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction (Rose Metal Press). Alin has planned each weekly discussion and assignment. Eight members are permitted to submit stories for critique, but everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

February 4th: The Taxonomy of Flash Fiction

During this meeting, we’ll discuss the five different types of flash: the monologue, the tale, the scene, the snapshot story, and the experiment. We’ll also talk about the plotless nature of day-to-day life, and how flash fiction can often capture the human experience more realistically than elaborately plotted stories with tidy endings.

Participants will be tasked with writing a story that revolves around an article of clothing in some way.

February 11th: One-Page Fictions

“Literature teaches us how to live before we live, and how to die before we die.” At this meeting, we’ll discuss the way words can be used to form pictures, and how we can use pictures to help us form stories.

Participants will be tasked with writing a one-page story, using their parents’ wedding picture as inspiration, using the details of the photograph to move the story.

February 18th: Rewind

This week, we’ll talk about flash fiction in reverse—beginning a story at the ending and letting the flashpoint that initiated the event serve as the conclusion.

Participants will be tasked with writing a story that begins at the end of the action and moves backwards. 1,000 words or less.

February 25th: Learning How to COAP

At this meeting, we’ll learn how to COAP (Cut/Order/Add/Polish) our stories into lean, powerful narratives.

Participants will be tasked with revising one of the flash stories they composed this month.


Designs on Redemption
by Christopher DeStefano

Gary, a disgraced fashion designer, receives an invitation to meet with a mysterious investor aboard his yacht.


January 21st

January Participants

Caleb Stephens

Caleb Stephens is a dark fiction author writing from somewhere deep in the Colorado mountains. His work has appeared in Hinnom Magazine, Scare Street, The Dread Machine, and more. His novel, I Am Not My Own is forthcoming. Learn more about him and his work by visiting

Cody Mower

Cody is a writer based in the woods of Maine. He graduated cum laude from the University of Southern Maine with his B.A. in English with a minor in Writing and was accepted into the Stonecoast MFA Program the same year. His piece “Ghosts” won an Honorable Mention in the premier veteran anthology Proud to Be Vol.9.

Dede Sanchez

Dede Sanchez is a writer from New England who loves all things dark and macabre. She graduated in May of 2020 with a Creative Writing BFA from Full Sail University. Her work has appeared in the The Scarlett Leaf Review and she self-published a collection of short stories titled “Stranger Intentions” at

Keily Blair

Keily Blair is a creative writing student at UT Chattanooga, where her nonfiction won the Creative Writing Nonfiction Award. Her speculative fiction has appeared in Nth Degree, Five on the Fifth, The Dread Machine, Trembling With Fear, and is upcoming in Night to Dawn and Breath and Shadow. 

Alin Walker

Alin Walker (not her real name) serves as the Executive Editor of The Dread Machine. She attends UCSD and has five kids. Although she’s a capable editor, Alin’s a cowardly writer who only shares her work after making several self-deprecating jokes. She’s convinced that everything she has ever written is The Worst™.

Monica Louzon

Monica Louzon is The Dread Machine’s Acquiring Editor. She writes speculative fiction, science fiction, and poetry. Sometimes, she accidentally writes horror. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming from, Honeyguide Literary Magazine, New Myths, and Quatrain.Fish. Follow her on Twitter @molo_writes.

Kathleen Allen

Kathleen Allen is a writer of speculative fiction located in the Pacific Northwest, home of dark winters, excellent coffee, and myriad unknown cryptids.  She lives in pleasant harmony with her family and the unseen lurkers in the crawlspace.  Kathleen’s short fiction has been previously published by Madness Heart Press.

Chris DeStefano

Chris DeStefano has been fascinated with horror and the macabre since reading a story of spontaneous human combustion as a child.  He currently lives, works and writes in New York, NY with his wife and two black cats. You can find his work here, of course, on The Dread Machine, or various dark corners of the internet.

WEekly Events

Sprint and Submit

Sunday, 7PM EST

All members are welcome to join in during our hour-long sprint from 7pm-8pm. Attendance isn’t mandatory, however, if it’s your turn to submit, your story is due by midnight—no excuses, buddy.

Read and Review


The story of the week will be up and ready for member review and critique. Check out each one, give them a careful read, and leave your feedback as a comment. Remember to be thorough and constructive.

Critique and Commiserate

Thursday, 7pm EST

Bust out your booze. Tonight, we support each other and talk shop during our live meeting in our dedicated Discord channel. During this meeting, we’ll outline goals and priorities for the following week.

Chat and Conspire

All Day, Every Day

Join us in our Discord, where you can find other writers and (at least one of our editors) to talk to. Ask for help, solicit feedback, or find an accountability partner!

Upcoming Sessions

WIP Workshop

For our first month, participating members will share their current work-in-progress (up to 3,500 words). All members are welcome to provide constructive critiques and suggested resources.

Flash Fiction Workshop

During the month of February, we’ll be working from The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, using the exercises to craft and perfect our own flash fiction stories.

Outline to Final Draft

In March, we’ll craft original story outlines from scratch and flesh them into full drafts. Then, we’ll work together to polish them into publishable works of art.

Shared Universes

Create stories in a shared universe! Members will agree on a setting, time period, and rules, then each will write their own installments, centering around a shared world.

Emotion Workshop

In May, we’ll read and work through The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. Participating members will create new stories or work to improve the emotional depth of existing drafts.

Join Us

The Dread Writers Alliance (DWA) is The Dread Machine’s official support group for writers of horror, science fiction, dark fiction, and speculative fiction.

We host workshops, critique groups, and other fun events to keep writers learning and inspired.