Masters of speculative fiction and poetry (including science fiction, fantasy, and horror) make use of narrative techniques like persona narrators, point-of-view, tone, mood, and world-building to craft fantastic and imaginative worlds that parallel, reflect, and critique our own real world. Imagining utopias, dinosaurs, dystopias, aliens, terror, time travel, sentient starships, and magical beings and cities to speculate about past and future possibilities might also help writers and readers of speculative works to transform our present for the better.
Every week, students will look at narrative techniques used in classic and contemporary short stories and poems by writers such as N.K. Jemisin, Ursula K. Le Guin, Rachel Swirsky, Alyssa Wong, Ray Bradbury, Christina Sng, Linda Addison, Mary Soon Lee, Mimi Mondal, Shirley Jackson, Sam J. Miller, and Neil Gaiman. Students will then practice these techniques in their own speculative pieces with practical, hands-on exercises based on the readings. These exercises will help students define who is telling their story, how the story is being told, where and when the story takes place, what details are important, and why their particular story needs to be told.
This workshop is open to writers of all levels and experience who are interested in writing speculative fiction and poetry. Students will share their fiction or poetry with their fellow writers and the instructor in a safe place online and can expect helpful and encouraging feedback in return, using The Writers Studio method of persona writing and critiquing. Students will have the opportunity to join a weekly hour-long chat with the instructor where they can find additional support and join conversations about narrative techniques and favorite speculative genres.