Description of Class
Speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more. Writing spec lit requires an additional set of skills – complex world-building joins more traditional fictional craft elements, such as character, POV, plot, structure, theme, etc.
This course will require a fair bit of short story reading (available for free online) outside of class along with workshop time. You’ll write exercises for the first few weeks, and then transition to writing and critiquing completed stories. We’ll also be using a writing book: Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft, which you should purchase in advance and bring to the first class. Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook is also recommended, though not required for this class.
This course is suitable for both beginners and more experienced students.
Week 1: Language / Description
Exercises centered on the topic, chapters 1-3 of Le Guin; start writing your stories
Week 2: Character / Identity
Exercises centered on the topic, handouts from Mohanraj on characters; continue writing your stories
Week 3: POV
Discussion of different POV and changing POV without a story; workshop stories.
Week 4: Plot and Structure
Discussion of basic plot and more advanced plot / structure concept; workshop stories.
Week 5: Theme
Discussion of discovering and enhancing themes in your work; workshop stories.
Week 6: Publishing
Final workshop; if time permits, publishing discussion.