See also:
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing Intensive
Up next:
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing II
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. It’s for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

Science Fiction and Fantasy may transport readers to a planet light-years away or deep inside the caves of a far-distant past. Whether extrapolating science into futuristic technology or conjuring new forms of magic, these genres imagine what might have been or what might be, opening the door to any possibility.

To write great science fiction or fantasy, you must splice together the skills of a fiction writer with the ability to make the imaginary seem true. Here you will learn the special requirements of these genres, as well as fiction craft and how to market your work.

Whether you seek to write short stories or novels, cyberpunk or high fantasy, we’ll show you how to craft tales that overwhelm with wonder.

About Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I

An excellent primer for writing speculative fiction.

Lily Idle

photographer/writer

Notes

Our Science Fiction & Fantasy course includes all “speculative fiction”—an umbrella that covers the subgenres of science fiction (hard, alternate reality, cyberpunk, etc.) and fantasy (high, urban, historical, etc.) as well as works of horror. Currently the material skews toward science fiction, but most of the craft teaching applies equally to fantasy and horror, and students are welcome to work on fantasy and horror projects.

If you’re working in in the science fiction, fantasy, or horror genres, you may take Fiction I or (at the advanced level) Novel II First Draft or Novel II Critique, or one of our genre courses: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance, Mystery.

If you’re working on a YA novel, you may take a Fiction/Novel course, or a “genre” course, or you may take a Children’s Book course, where the full spectrum of children’s books will be covered. 

Upcoming Classes

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.

10-Week

Syllabus

This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of the science fiction and fantasy genres, and gets you writing a short story (or two) or a novel. Course components:
     Lectures
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Week 1
Introduction to Science Fiction & Fantasy: What is speculative fiction? Playing “what if?” Finding ideas.

Week 2
Character: What makes a character memorable. Backstory. Protagonist. Antagonist. Characters revealed through dialogue, description, actions, and thought.

Week 3
World Building: Creating new worlds. Working with the existing world. Consistency. World-building checkpoints. Sensory details.

Week 4
Story and Plot: Conflict. Stakes. Plot vs. story. Structure. Outlines. Synthesis vs. deus ex machina. Foreshadowing vs. telegraphing.

Week 5
Point of View: First person. Second person. Third person—various types. Handling multiple points of view.

Week 6
Voice, Style, Pacing: Types of voice and style. Pacing in story. Pacing in writing.

Week 7
Dialogue: Types of dialogue. Dialogue tags. Uses of dialogue. Characterization. When and where to include dialogue. Verisimilitude. Subtext. Otherness.

Week 8
Beginnings and Endings: Techniques for beginning. Techniques for ending. Avoiding a strong start and a weak finish. Surprise endings.

Week 9
SFF Conundrums: Exposition glut. Verisimilitude. Stereotypes and clichés.

Week 10
The Business: Understanding markets and trends for short stories and novels. Preparing your work. The submission process. Where to market your work. Dealing with rejection. Agents. Contracts. Resources, conferences, contests.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Teachers

Cleve Lamison
Cleve Lamison

Cleve Lamison is the author of the science fiction novel Full-Blood Half-Breed (Penguin Random House), and he is a contributing writer to Suvudu.com, a science fiction and fantasy blog at Random House. He is a staff writer for the television show Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy (Urban Movie Channel), and he wrote and directed the feature film Following Bliss, which won Best Feature Film at the Global Arts International Film Festival. His short film "The Story" won the Denver World Film Festival, and his short film "Jack for President" was a runner-up in the New York 24-Hour Filmmaking Contest. He was the artistic director of the BlackBird Theatre Company in NYC; created, wrote, and drew the cartoon strip Rick the Roach for the Richmond News Leader; and is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves. He holds a BA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Holley Cornetto
Holley Cornetto

Holley Cornetto is the author of the novella We Haunt These Woods (Bleeding Edge Books), and her short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Flame Tree Press Newsletter, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Collective Realms Magazine, among many others. Her stories have been anthologized in A Woman Built by Man (Cemetery Gates Media), AFTER: A Post-Apocalyptic Survivor Series (Eerie River Publishing), and Banned (Black Hare Press), among others. She writes the Horror Tree's weekly newsletter, is a regular reviewer for Booklist, Ginger Nuts of Horror, and the Horror Tree, and she has taught at Southern New Hampshire University, Passaic County Community College, and the County College of Morris. She holds a BA from William Paterson University, an MLIS from San Jose State University, and an MFA in Fiction from Lindenwood University.

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Varud Gupta
Varud Gupta

Varud Gupta is the author of the graphic novel Chhotu: A Tale of Partition and Love and the nonfiction travel memoir Bhagwaan Ke Pakwaan: Food of the Gods (both Penguin Random House). His food and travel articles have appeared in National Geographic and America's Test Kitchen, among others, and his short graphic fiction has appeared in Comixense and Inklab. He has worked as head of originals for the production studio Resting Kitsch Face, and taught for the Indian Institute of Art and Design. He holds a BS from New York University.

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