I’ve been teaching a writing class at Des Moines Area Community Education. “Basics of Writing Speculative Fiction” doesn’t always attract the crowd that is interested in writing speculative fiction, probably because the term isn’t used a lot outside the genre. That misunderstanding hasn’t always been welcomed by students; however, I like to teach basics of writing stories. Parts are focused to the genre, but most of what I cover in the class is applicable for any story.
What is important to learn? I know ideas come from within, and that the inspiration and motivation to write cannot be taught. What else is there? Beginning to learn about voice and style. Thinking about characters and what makes them special. Digging deeper into plot. Figuring out how to build a world. Not everyone needs to build a world much different from the one we live in, but the farther a writer delves into either fantasy or science fiction, the more changes from what the readers know, and the more details the writer needs to provide to make it real.
Another big part of the class is listening and responding to the others in the class and the ideas they bring. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and helping them out for a few weeks.