Online: Zoom

Speculative Series: Establishing Your World

Saturday, August 13th from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST).
Online: Zoom
See Map
Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

“Hi, my name is Lemiah, and I’ll be your guide through the fictional world of Aparnu,” said no character ever! Any writer will tell you the first few pages of a new story are essential in hooking the reader, establishing character, setting the tone, building conflict, and so much more. But writers of speculative fiction have an even greater challenge in those first pages: introducing readers to the rules of their world. What do readers need to know when? How much explanation is too much? And how can a writer create mystery without leaving readers uncertain about their world?

In this session, we’ll work together to identify the fine line between establishing a world and info dumping, discover creative strategies for integrating exposition with conflict and character, and examine how your opening scene can do double or triple duty, expressing character, world, and theme all at once. We’ll take a look at openings from published writers like N.K. Jemisin, Catherynne M Valente, Daniel Jose Older, Charlie Jane Anders, Maria Dhavana Headley, G Willow Wilson, Tananarive Due. Then we’ll work through exercises to put those skills into practice.

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

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
  • Concept Development


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction

Commitment Level



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