Online: Zoom

Speculative Fiction Series: Action, Conflict, and Combat

Saturday, February 12th, from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST).
Online: Zoom
See Map
Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

You’ve sent your character on a journey. You’ve built up your antagonist. The crowd is chanting: Fight! Fight! Fight! But how can one scene possibly live up to all that hype? In this session, we’ll tackle tips for writing action scenes and set pieces within the specific lens of speculative fiction. In addition to considering how your prose can support your action, we’ll examine how your action can support and build your characters and world, from scene purposes to cultural context. We’ll discover the why of each action scene, not just from the perspective of character motivation, but through examining the written and unwritten rules of society those characters are navigating. What does fighting look like in this world? What sanctioned avenues exist for resolving tensions (and who sanctions them)? What might push a character to act outside of those limits? Through exercises and discussion of the work of writers like Martha Wells, Annalee Newitz, Sabaa Tahir, Arkady Martine, Traci Chee, and Manuel Gonzales, we’ll consider how to develop our characters’ powers and imperfections in ways that support the structural, emotional, and thematic tensions of our stories. 

Class Format

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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Stephanie K Brownell
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Previous Students Say

  • "Inspired Me to Write More"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Generate New Work
  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Lecture
  • In-Class Reading
  • Class Discussion
  • Computer or Tablet Recommended
  • Concept Development


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction

Commitment Level



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