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The Refinery Catalogue

Science Fiction and Fantasy: Creating a Universe

Science Fiction and Fantasy: Creating a Universe


For writers struggling with how to craft a fantasy world grounded for the reader, this six-week class, taught by award-winning poet, author and instructor, Danelle Lejeune, will help you answer:

1. What is world-building? What does it lend to a story? We can’t attempt to be better world-builders without knowing why we do it. This week we’ll examine what readers love in world-building, and what it achieves when done well. 

2. What does good world building look like? How much showing vs telling, and how are both done right? Using award-winning and fun-to-read examples, we’ll do an in-depth examination of what works. We’ll also look at some of the most notorious examples of what it looks like when world-building fails. 

3. Research is your friend! Let’s get into the blindspots many writers have about their own creations: What do people in this universe do for money? What is their language like, and how does this shape their culture? Can you base an alien race on an ancient Earth tribe? Of course you can! Research is the answer. 

4. How to play to your strengths. Students will share their areas of knowledge and expertise, and we’ll discuss how we can work these details into a rich, authentic-feeling world. This doesn’t have to be particle physics! Realistic baking and parenting make a big difference to the texture of even the most fantastical tales. Curiosity can also be your guide. 

5. Outline? Plan your story by the method that makes most sense to you, letting your world take the wheel. This week will involve a lot of 1 on 1 attention to your project. Let’s plan that short story and get it written! This includes discussion of markets, requirements, how to write a cover letter, and track your submissions out in the world. 

6. Being a writer. This week you are writing (hopefully finishing!) your short story. What does that mean? How can you be a kind and productive member of this community? Let’s talk about the wild and fabulous world you’re becoming a part of, and share some advice about survival, support, and sweet success.

Instructor: Danelle Lejeune

Tuesdays, Feb. 5-March 19, 2019, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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