Science Fiction & Fantasy Semester

If this is your first semester, here’s what your six classes will look like: 

  1. Seminar: The History of Science Fiction & Fantasy

This course will examine the intertwined evolution of science fiction and fantasy (SFF). These two strands emerge together and can rarely be considered separately. We will discuss the key issues of each major strand of SFF in the past century and earlier, to get a sense of how the genres have changed and influenced each other.

  1. Genre: Primary Texts in Science Fiction & Fantasy

This ten-week course provides readings for the history of science fiction and fantasy. The emphasis will be on identifying connections and similarities across the stories, in order to understand why these stories are seen as part of the same tradition.

  1. Toolbox: Story Structure Architect

This course focuses on the architecture of stories by presenting and discussing classic recurring story structures used by many great authors throughout the ages and will focus on deconstructing the primary texts assigned in the Genre course, as well as working with your own material. By becoming aware of classic story structures, you will learn how to build compelling stories, select character journeys, create conflicts, devise subplots, plan dramatic situations, develop supporting characters.

  1. Practicum: Original Student Work & Workshop

In this course, you will produce your own pieces of creative writing for workshop review and feedback from your classmates and instructor. We take a “fly on the wall” approach to the workshop in which the author of the piece being discussed is allowed to only listen to the feedback and discussion of the readers. In other words, your writing stands on its own and speaks for itself; you are not permitted to explain or defend the piece. This approach to the workshop allows authors the rare opportunity to hear readers’ reactions to their own writing without feeling pressure to discuss their piece, inspiration, backstory, or offer further insight or defense of what they have written.

  1. Business: Building Your Artist/Author Platform

Having an effective writer platform has never been more important than it is right now. A writer platform is one of the best tools you can use to combat publishing challenges. This class explores the process of gaining visibility in the literary marketplace and shows you how to market yourself and your work effectively & efficiently. Learn how to create a writer’s platform, sell books, make more money, and launch a successful career as an author. This class explores “old-school” methods of platform building, such as public speaking and networking, as well as newer methods of platform building, such as blogs and social media; examines case studies of authors who developed successful platforms and suggests ways to formulate your own platform strategy.

  1. Language: The History of Literary Criticism

Literature has always been the subject of discussion and interpretation. However, how do we think about literature and from what starting points? Is the literary work the expression of the author’s mind or are subconscious forces at work? Should we understand the literary work as a unity or can we only understand it in its cultural and historical context? Does literature engage with politics and identity or is it purely a subjective experience for the reader? All these questions and many more like them depend heavily on what we understand literature to be, and what we believe literature does. Literary theory is the study of literature from various perspectives and works much like a microscope does. Just like different settings on the microscope show different degrees of magnification, so do different theories reveal different aspects of a literary work. In this course, we will discuss the fundamental literary theories, why we should theorize literature (even as writers), and what theorizing literature means. You will learn new ways of understanding and reading literature, which also means new ways of appreciating literature.