Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's back to school time!

Well, for some, school has already been in for a while, but for me, I'm just now getting into my "back to school" mindset - which is when I do most of my writing.  This fall, I'll really be going back to school but as a teacher rather than a student. You see, Writer's Digest University has asked me to teach a class on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. It will be an ONLINE six-week course running from 9/17/2015 - 10/29/2015.

While taught online it will follow a standard college course with:

• Assigned reading material
• Homework assignments
• Forum for discussions and asking questions
• Critique of part of your novel or a short story

Because it is an online course, you don't have to be available on any given day or time. You can come on, submit your homework assignments, ask questions, or participate in the discussions at your convienence. That said, there will be different topics each week and you should try to "keep up" with the class as the various modules are covered. There is a fee for the course: $319.99 you can register here.

Some aspects covered by the course:

  • You'll take an in-depth look at How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card.
  • Learn how to break into the field of science fiction and fantasy writing.
  • Learn the basics of science fiction and fantasy.
  • Learn tips for creating imaginative settings.
  • Learn ways to develop winning story ideas. 
  • Discover how to get your work published. 

  • Session One - Genres and Subgenres: Discussion of the various forms of SF/fantasy, and their many subgenres | A short history of SF/Fantasy | From idea to story: SF and fantasy based on ideas | The importance of originality | SF/fantasy as the literature of ideas | The science in science fiction, the magic in fantasy | Science and technology in SF stories | Ways to generate story ideas.
  • Session Two - Worlds and World building: The importance in setting in SF/Fantasy | World building “as you go” and “from the ground up” | Common settings for the various genres| Tips for world building.
  • Session Three - Humans and Others: The characters in SF/Fantasy | Ways of expressing character | Humans, aliens, robots, and others | Dialogue and behavior | Tips for dialogue and character creation | The central character(s) | How many characters? | The importance of character focus.
  • Session Four - Stories and Plots: Telling a story as a series of things that happen | Tips for plotting | The importance of the exciting scene | When to outline.
  • Session Five - Starts and Stops: Getting the writing started: the terror of the blank page | Starting with an exciting scene | Opening narrative “hooks.” | Narrative “voices.” | Choosing a viewpoint: What does “point of view” really mean?
  • Session Six- Resources and Workshops: Joining the “Country Club”: Professional organizations | Online resources for writers | Fan conventions | Workshops and critique groups | Markets and listings | Manuscript preparation | Finding a literary agent | Submitting to publishers on your own | The Four Rules of Writing.
The course has been run several times in the past, and the material is is one that WDU developed. That said, I'm a pretty opinionated guy, and there are plenty of place for me to interject my own thoughts on the various topics, plus we can really get into the nitty-gritty behind the scenes aspects of publishing through the forum discussions.  If any of this sounds interesting, I hope you'll join us. 

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