Best online speculative writing workshops

Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
20
Hi, so this is my first post here at Chronicles. Looks like an exciting community! I'm an aspiring SF writer, currently enrolled in a literary creative writing course at a local college (a live, IRL class), and frustrated by the snobbishness toward speculative fiction. The teacher even kicked off the course by saying he hadn't liked any spec fiction since Tolkien. I'm definitely learning from the class, but know I would benefit more from working in an environment where teacher and participants value SF. So, I've searched the forum here, but didn't find a directly relevant post. I've been scouring the web for the best multi-week online courses that involve teacher interaction, weekly assignments, if possible inter-student critiquing. So far, the best options I have found are via the UCLA extension school and Gotham Writers out of New York. One is about $650/semester while the other is around $350.

Does anyone here know any other good options along these lines? Thank you in advance for reading and any input!

Cheers,
Patrick

PS no need please for posts questioning why I want to take a course in the first place - I've already decided that I like learning this way. I'm doing a lot of self-directed reading, writing and studying as well, but really enjoy the weekly pace and prompting of an ongoing course. Thanks! :)

PPS I've ruled out free online courses because they don't allow for quality teacher-student interaction. Someone would have to take the time, and it's fair for them to get paid.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Supporter
Joined
Oct 5, 2011
Messages
16,668
Location
blah - flags. So many flags.
Where and what nights? I may have to move to Belfast in a few months for work.
At the moment Thursdays at the Crescent Arts Centre but that night might change next term. I also do a very useful Business of Writing course which might be happening in your neck of the woods at some point. And a day in Dublin next year if you fancy a day trip :D
 

SPoots

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
164
Always up for a trip to Dublin. Chapters book shop is there and the National Leprechaun museum may be my happy place.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
22,358
Location
Highlands
Does anyone here know any other good options along these lines?
Welcome to the chrons forums, @PatrickAzimuth. :)

I'm not familiar with any recommended online writing courses, but a couple of pointers here that may be helpful:

1. I strongly suspect that literary writing is very different to genre writing, with less focus on character and plot development, and less focus on writing for "pace and clarity" (an agent's words, not mine). You may find yourself having to unlearn a few things from a literary course ...

2. It's good to read outside your target genre, but you also need to focus on reading within it. The danger is that you'll end up reading not enough of the right books, ie, genre ones, especially when it comes to learning how genre authors apply the tools of genre writing.

3. This (extensive!) series of online lectures by Brandon Sanderson are a great introduction to genre writing, and they're free on YouTube: Brandon Sanderson Lectures - YouTube
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
20
Thanks to Brian and Jo for answers so far. Jo, if I could make it to your course in Belfast, I would - that sounds fun! Brian, thanks for the YouTube link.

Anyone know of a good online course (or a live one, within reasonable driving distance of Westside LA?) Thanks!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
20
This is a good online one. It is fee paying though and a closed forum. Been going for well over 17 years and some top authors have come through it.

Online Writing Workshop for SF, Fantasy & Horror: Become a Better Writer!
Ooh that looks very interesting, thank you Susan! I might look at doing this and combining it with a weekly style class as well. Cool, thanks a lot for the tip.
 

Susan Boulton

The storyteller
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
1,921
Ooh that looks very interesting, thank you Susan! I might look at doing this and combining it with a weekly style class as well. Cool, thanks a lot for the tip.
You are welcome. I used it a lot when it first started. (It was sponsored by Tor Publishing then.) And on and off since. It helps a lot, as you have to critique others work to gain the points you need to post parts of your own work. Also the critiques have to be more than a few words, detailing what you think works, what doesn't etc. So this helps you look at your own work with a different eye...
 

AlexH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
799
Location
Staffordshire, UK
I've seen David Farland's courses recommended (mystorydoctor.com) - they take place online as well as across the US. I think the aforementioned Brandon Sanderson might be one of his former students actually - Stephanie Meyer and other famous authors too. I've read a couple of his books on writing and they've been very helpful. I was excited to see he's doing a course in England next year, but it's a bit out of my price range!
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
20
Thanks for that, will check him out. In the meantime, I've been working my way through the Sanderson lectures. Production values aside, they are awesome - so much good content there. And I've been critiquing at Online Writing Workshop, which is awesome!
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
20
I've seen David Farland's courses recommended (mystorydoctor.com) - they take place online as well as across the US. I think the aforementioned Brandon Sanderson might be one of his former students actually - Stephanie Meyer and other famous authors too. I've read a couple of his books on writing and they've been very helpful. I was excited to see he's doing a course in England next year, but it's a bit out of my price range!
Wow, just checking out Farland's site - awesome!
 

Marlin

New Member
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
1
At the moment Thursdays at the Crescent Arts Centre but that night might change next term. I also do a very useful Business of Writing course which might be happening in your neck of the woods at some point. And a day in Dublin next year if you fancy a day trip :D
Can you write for me??
 

Similar threads


Top