I’ve been doing a lot of research over the last few days into the quality and type of online writing courses available in the UK (so far; other regions do exist, I know, I just haven’t got to them yet).
What I’ve discovered is pretty depressing from a speculative writing perspective:
- You can learn to write a children’s novel, or become a poet, or write for stage or screen.
- You can learn to write short stories, flash fiction or novellas.
- You can take year-long courses that encourage you to go from concept to finished draft – a novel in a year.
- If you dig deep enough, you can find a couple of short courses on worldbuilding and characterisation – I found one of each after much internetting. Neither specified they were for SFF writers.
- You can find one (1) course on ‘writing science fiction and fantasy, whether for short story, novel, or screen’. One (1) course that proposes to cover all SFF aspects AND all forms of writing. In six weeks.
And this is before we even get to the prevailing attitude of creative writing BAs and MAs, which still seem to view writing SFF with horror, as if it isn’t ‘real’ writing if it isn’t set in the ‘real’ world.
What I’ve discovered is a real lack of courses that offer the very specific skills that SFF writers often need – worldbuilding a complete secondary world; deep dives into character creation including backstory, motivations, actions, plans and beliefs within that secondary world; creating magic systems that make sense; writing action or fight scenes etc.
What about developing theme, or adapting real world or historical events into a secondary world? What about courses to develop the author’s voice and style? Nope, couldn’t find those either.
I want to develop online writing courses just like that, tailored to SFF authors, as a fill-in-the-gaps approach to cover what other writing courses don’t address.
If you’d be keen to know more, please sign up below and I’ll be in touch with a short questionnaire to get a better idea of what you’d be looking for.
If the short courses prove popular, I’d definitely look at providing longer, more intense courses covering wider aspects of novel-writing, short story writing, and navigating the literary agent and traditional publishing landscape. If mentored courses to write a SFF novel is of interest, please indicate so in the above sign up form.