What is the course about?
In fantasy, sci fi or speculative fiction genres, the world is queen, or king. Before we know anything we must know location, location, location. So how do we go about building the foundations of our story? And how do they become a reflection of theme and characters that mirror our intentions as writers?
Using a mix of exercises, close textual readings, and examinations of film, TV and graphic novels, Courttia Newland will help you define your world more clearly, alongside the characters, tech and universal laws that inhabit them. Bring your writing materials and a sense of adventure! It may also help you to come prepared with an idea for your speculative world, or a piece of writing in progress.
"The Tutor: Courttia Newland is the author of seven works of fiction. He has been nominated for the Impac Dublin Literary Award, The Frank O’ Conner award, The CWA Dagger in the Library Award, and The Theatre 503 Award for playwriting as well as numerous others. His short stories have appeared in many anthologies and broadcast on Radio 4. He is associate lecturer in creative writing at the University of Westminster.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.".
What will we cover?
Dystopia or Utopia? Interstellar or solar? Fantasy, or closer to our lived reality than many would care for? We’ll be mining your writing for a detailed exploration of the building blocks that form your world, to make sure everything from technology, language, environment, and of course characters are working as they should be.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- understand some basic principles of world-building in speculative fiction writing
- write a scene that works to establish a compelling world and contributes to a longer piece of fiction (novel or short story).
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for those with some experience in creative writing and an interest in speculative genres in fiction. You will need a good grasp of written and spoken English to participate in this course.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which
will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a
policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should
be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day, regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day, regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no additional costs. Please bring a pen and paper, and a laptop if you prefer to type.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Want to develop your writing further? Choose one of our intermediate fiction workshops, Writing fiction or Developing your creative writing. Or, you can hone specific elements of your fiction by choosing a course from our Craft Focus series on character, plotting, voice and more. Check out our prospectus for more information.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details