June 19, 2019–August 14, 2019
From Kelly Link to Octavia Butler, many authors of literary fiction use speculative devices in their stories. In this eight-week class, find out how your own otherwise realistic fiction can benefit from breaking the rules of the real world to introduce fantastic elements.
Whether you've never delved into this style of fiction or you're already comfortable playing with surrealism, magic, and fantasy in your stories, this class will help focus your intentions and skills to craft highly original speculative literary fiction. We'll delve into the act of shaping our fictional worlds just enough to allow readers to see with new eyes the things they look at every day, exploring the aspects that allow fantastical worlds to operate—from language, to inventions, to social norms—and will sketch our own "realities" in which we'll set a story.
We'll explore how to subvert expectations, what to avoid and why, and how to use standard elements of genre in a fresh and exciting way. Half of each class will be spent workshopping and talking about student work. The other half will be an overview of the ways speculative devices are employed in literary fiction today, using each piece to push and inform our own writing.