World-building for fantasy and speculative fiction writers
Time: 14:00 - 16:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW431
Duration: 2 sessions
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
In fantasy, sci fi or speculative fiction, 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, our tutor 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.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
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 deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
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.
Mary Victoria spent ten years as an animator in the VFX industry before publishing her first three fantasy novels with HarperCollins Australia: Tymon’s Flight, Samiha’s Song and Oracle’s Fire. Samiha’s Song went on to win the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel. She now lives and works in London, where she caters to one teen and a particularly feckless cat.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.