Description of Class
Big thrills, big worlds, big characters–how do you write a larger-than-life tale that is still remarkably human? Whether it’s sci-fi, horror, or fantasy, genre fiction relies on otherworldly elements: a deep space adventure, a haunted house, a quest across a landscape inhabited by trolls and orcs. Yet the very best of these stories, despite how fantastical they are, tell human stories at their core. The question is how to strike a balance between the two–how to tell a story of a world not our own yet make it feel familiar?
In this class, you’ll learn how to take the fantastic and make it real, how to take the epic and make it intimate. You’ll learn the rules of genre storytelling–and how to break them.
Week 1: The Basics. What defines genre storytelling? What are the rules, and how can they been broken?
Week 2: World-building. Spaceships and magic, haunted mansions and distant planets. This week, we discuss the best world-building and constructive techniques to help fully realize your setting.
Week 3: Finding the Human Element. Creating robust worlds and specific rules for those worlds is great—but no story works without a human core, even in genre storytelling.
Week 4: Workshop. By this point, students will have already been exchanging stories between one another. This week, we dig in.
Week 5: Completion. For the final week, you should have a working idea of how genre fiction works and where your own project is headed.
Students will read from King’s On Writing, Pullman’s Daemon Voices, and Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself.
Michael will be workshopping students, and students will workshop each other. You can come in fresh or with existing drafts.Top