Worldbuilding Across Genres - Remote!
We often think of "worldbuilding" as it relates to fantasy and science fiction. At its worst, this can be "info dumping," exhaustive description interesting only to its writer. At its best, this kind of description can transport us to Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Earthsea, the apocalyptic world of N.K. Jemisin's The Stillness, or the world-spanning technocracy of Malka Older's Infomocracy. But all narrative contains worldbuilding, whether it's clear on the page or not. This workshop will explore how worldbuilding functions across science fiction and fantasy—and then take it out of these genres, to see how worldbuilding techniques can be adapted and reimagined across genres.
Each week, we will discuss worldbuilding as it relates to a different genre: starting with fantasy and science fiction, but moving into historical fiction, mystery, contemporary realism, and memoir. In class, students will study and practice different pre-writing and drafting strategies to create compelling and unique worlds in different ways and in different points of view. Students will develop a particular setting for a story, and may workshop a complete piece of writing set in that new realm—but they may also workshop a story they've already written, with the goal of making the world of that story come alive.
Authors we read may include, but are not limited to: Megan Abbot, Ursula Le Guin, N.K. Jemsin, Yoon Ha Le, Anchee Min, and Walter Mosley.
Each week, we will discuss worldbuilding as it relates to a different genre: starting with fantasy and science fiction, but moving into historical fiction, mystery, contemporary realism, and memoir. In class, students will study and practice different pre-writing and drafting strategies to create compelling and unique worlds in different ways and in different points of view.
In this class, students will gain new strategies for invent, describing, and revisiting different aspects of "worldbuilding" as they relate to any genre they might choose. This course is for writers of short stories, novels, and short memoirs—though writers of fantasy and science fiction will get the most out of the course, which seeks to add nuance and color to what we think of worldbuilding in our writing.
Potential Reading List:
Megan Abbot, excerpt from Dare Me
Raymond Chandler, "Trouble is my Business," and "The Simple Art of Murder"
Ursula Le Guin, excerpt from A Wizard of Earthsea
Lauren Groff, excerpt from Florida
N.K. Jemsin, excerpt from How Long 'til Black Future Month?
Yoon Ha Le, "Conservation of Shadows"
Kelly Link, "Magic for Beginners"
Anchee Min, excerpt from Red Azalea
Walter Mosley, excerpts from Six Easy Pieces
Laura van den Berg, excerpt from Isle of Youth
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:
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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