Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I
See also:
Fiction Guide
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing II

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing II is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. The prerequisite is Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing I, or the equivalent; Level II courses work best when students know the fundamentals and have experience with the workshop process.  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 II

An imaginative and informative romp through the immense possibilities of speculative fiction with personalized guidance from a published author.

Andrew Sippie

learning specialist


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

To ensure everyone's good health, students in NYC classes must provide proof of full Covid vaccinations (the initial series of Covid vaccines plus at least one booster). We will accept your Covid vaccine card (or a digital scan), a NY State Excelsior digital card, or another form of government-approved proof. We will contact you before class begins about showing us proof. Also, we will require masks in the classrooms and Gotham premises.

More Covid details


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.



This course helps you sharpen your skills at the science fiction and fantasy genres and work toward completion of a short story (or two) or a novel. Writers often repeat Science Fiction & Fantasy II to continue their projects. Course components:
     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
The Basics, Again: Why SFF?, Reviewing—character, dialogue, conflict, plot, setting, description, style/voice. Things to avoid. Generating story ideas.

Week 2
Theme & Multi-Genreism: Reflecting the present through speculative fiction. Writing on the personal side. Understanding your beliefs. Dealing with theme. Exploring multi-genreism.

Week 3
Characterization: Your narrator. What makes your characters tick. Backstory. Using yourself. Making characters sound distinctive. Techniques for building and developing characters. Villains and anti-heroes.

Week 4
Advanced World-Building: Understanding the details. How characters perceive the world. The depth of your world. Originality. Verisimilitude.

Week 5
The Tightly Strung Wire: Expectations. Foreshadowing. Tension. Suspense. Misdirection.

Week 6
Advanced Plot: Basic plotting concerns. Various plot structures. Narrative triage.

Week 7
Pacing: Micro pacing. Macro pacing. Assessing a scene's components.

Week 8
Humor: Interweaving humor. Humor techniques—juxtaposition, exaggeration, extreme situations, wordplay. Funny characters. A comic voice.

Week 9
Breaking the Rules: Sentence rule-breaking. Narrative rule breaking.

Week 10
The Final Gloss: Getting the work in shiny shape. What editors looks for. Middle-itis. Controlling the inner critic. Where to go from here.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.


Michaela Roessner
Michaela Roessner

Michaela Roessner is the author of the science fiction novels The Stars Compel, The Stars Dispose, Vanishing Point (all Tor Books) and the fantasy novel Walkabout Woman. Her short stories have appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, OMNI Magazine, Strange Plasma, Room Magazine, and the anthologies Conqueror Fantastic, Intersections, and Full Spectrum2. She has taught at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and Western State Colorado University. She holds a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts and an MFA in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine/Stonecoast Creative Writing program.

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