Science Fiction & Fantasy I — Syllabus

Introduction to Science Fiction & Fantasy: What is speculative fiction? Playing “what if?" Finding ideas.

Character: What makes a character memorable. Backstory. Protagonist. Antagonist. Characters revealed through dialogue, description, actions, and thought.

World Building: Creating new worlds. Working with the existing world. Consistency. World-building checkpoints. Sensory details.

Story and Plot: Conflict. Stakes. Plot vs. story. Structure. Outlines. Synthesis vs. deus ex machina. Foreshadowing vs. telegraphing.

Point of View: First person. Second person. Third person—various types. Handling multiple points of view.

Voice, Style, Pacing: Types of voice and style. Pacing in story. Pacing in writing.

Dialogue: Types of dialogue. Dialogue tags. Uses of dialogue. Characterization. When and where to include dialogue. Verisimilitude. Subtext. Otherness.

Beginnings and Endings: Techniques for beginning. Techniques for ending. Avoiding a strong start and a weak finish. Surprise endings.

SFF Conundrums: Exposition glut. Verisimilitude. Stereotypes and clichés.

The Business: Understanding markets and trends for short stories and novels. Preparing your work. The submission process. Where to market your work. Dealing with rejection. Agents. Contracts. Resources, conferences, contests.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.