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The Art of Writing Speculative Fiction
11 October, 2022 at 20:00 – 22:00 EDT
Open to all.
Limited to 12 participants.
We plan to hold this workshop in person at the QWF office, with up to two virtual slots available for people who are unable to come to our office. If public health conditions necessitate it, this workshop may transition to a purely online model.
Speculative Fiction, a literary genre that can encompass anything from science-fiction and fantasy to magic realism, slipstream, alternate history, horror, steampunk, fairy tales and fables, dystopia, and surrealism, has been with us for as long as we’ve been telling stories. In recent years, it has grown in importance as writing genres continue to cross and blur, and even the most conventional writers of literary fiction experiment with speculative tools as a means to add wonder and power to their tales.
This workshop is open to both new and experienced writers, whether of speculative fiction or of other genres. In each session of this eight-week workshop, we will delve into a different topic and/or element of craft. The sessions will typically include a presentation, examples from the work of experienced writers, an in-depth, participative discussion, and a hands-on exercise. In addition, each participant will have the opportunity to present their own work of speculative fiction—be it a short story or an excerpt from something longer—for detailed discussion and feedback. There will be clear ground rules for workshopping that are designed to ensure that our discussions remain constructive and respectful at all times.
Some of the topics that the workshop will cover include:
- What is speculative fiction and what distinguishes it from other types of fiction? What are its special powers and challenges?
- Questions of content and your story’s four limbs: idea, world, character, plot;
- Questions of structure and your story’s bones: point-of-view and narration, chronology, tense, tone;
- Special focus on world-building;
- Special focus on character-building, voice, and dialogue;
- What kind of story are you writing? What are you trying to say?
- How to edit and improve your speculative fiction and prepare it for publication.
Su J Sokol is a social rights advocate and a writer of speculative and interstitial fiction. Originally from Brooklyn, xe now resides in Montréal. Sokol is the author of Cycling to Asylum (2014), long-listed for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic; Run J Run (2019); and Zee (2020), finalist for the Janet Savage Blachford Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Sokol’s short work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. This summer, Sokol’s debut novel was translated into French and published under the title Les lignes invisibles by VLB Imaginaire. Check out Sokol’s website at www.sujsokol.com