New Class!

Speculative Series: Unlocking a Logic of Magic - Remote!

Saturday, August 21st from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST).
Remote! (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max
Only 3 spots left!

Is your protagonist a witch or a conjurer? Sorcerer? Necromancer? Enchantress-Diviner-Thaumaturg? Okay, maybe they’re just a regular old human in a world where sometimes weird things happen. Writers from Tomi Adeyemi to Neil Gaiman, to Kelly Link have all engaged the unreal in their writing, yet their stories and worlds are incredibly different. The one thing they have in common? They move readers beyond the “willing suspension of disbelief” by engaging what JRR Tolkien called the “inner consistency of reality.”

In this class you’ll learn tricks to engage the more-than-real (you know, that thing that makes fantasy…. well, fantasy!) in a way that feels and grounding rather than overwhelming. We’ll talk about engaging magic in ways that are organic and original (beyond googling synonyms for “magician”), developing the laws or guidelines of your invented reality, and determining their limitations, costs, and weaknesses. We’ll learn from authors who’ve gone ahead of us on this world-forging path, as we discuss common tropes and pitfalls of magic systems and how to use genre conventions to our advantage while steering clear of oversimplification, Cool Object Syndrome, and accidental essentialism. Because as Ursula K LeGuin puts it, “when fantasy is the real thing, nothing, after all, is realer.

This class will be hosted using live Zoom meetings! You will be able to participate in class via Zoom videoconference from wherever you’re most comfortable. All you’ll need is a laptop or a phone! 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 via Zoom–no need to download anything or sign up for Zoom in advance! If you have questions about remote learning, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

For a glimpse at how remote learning works, look no further than the deep Zoom discussion of writing and literature below:

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"


  • Concept Development
  • Class Discussion
  • In-Class Reading
  • Lecture
  • Instructor Feedback
  • In-Class Writing
  • Generate New Work


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction

Commitment Level



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