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Workshop Program

The Brainery offers online speculative fiction writing workshops focusing exclusively on speculative fiction as a discipline worthy of attention and practice, and is run with the same artistic rigor as a top-tier university course found in creative writing PhD and MFA programs.


Short Fiction – Instructors: Valerie Valdes and Jerome Stueart, PhD (15 spots total)

Sci-Fi Fairy Tales – Instructors: Dr. Jilly Dreadful and Carina Bissett (10 spots total)

Guest Speakers: John Joseph Adams and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.


The Brainery Workshop is an online creative writing class focused exclusively on speculative fiction as an artistic discipline worthy of theory and practice. The writing participants are expected to produce includes, but is in no way limited to: magical realism, science fiction, horror, weird tales, slipstream, steampunk, and the like. As long as there’s a speculative fiction-y element, we’ll call it good.

The courses are an intense practicum in speculative fiction writing and students can expect a traditional graduate-level fiction workshop, concentrating on understanding and implementing the various aspects of speculative fiction. These aspects include craft issues such as characterization, point of view, narrative structure, style, and voice. Although this class is designed with a flexible schedule in mind, students are expected to commit to the same standards as expected of graduate-level creative writing courses, including: deadlines, feedback, and accountability.

Students participating in The Brainery must be committed to a spirit of community development and support. I believe collaboration, as opposed to competition, is the key component of a good workshop chemistry–and having a supportive community of like-minded writers and readers, of the kind of stories you’re most invested in, is transformative.


Spring 2016

Novel Workshop – with Dr. Jilly Dreadful (5 spots total)

YA Novel Workshop – with Dr. Jilly Dreadful (5 spots total)

Science Fiction Fairy Tales: A Hypoxic Style Writing Workshop – with Dr. Jilly Dreadful (5 spots total)

Science Fiction Fairy Tales: A Hypoxic Style Writing Workshop – with Kira Lees and Carina Bissett (5 spots total)

Short Fiction – with Valerie Valdes (10 spots total)

Short Fiction: Writing and the Other – with K. Tempest Bradford (12 spots total)

Literary Lab – with Kira Lees (24 spots total)

Guest Speakers: Charlie Jane Anders, Daniel José Older, Ellen Datlow, Nathan Lowell, and Francesca Lia Block.

Previous Semesters

Literary Lab, Winter 2015 – with Kira Lees and Dr. Jilly Dreadful

Science Fiction Fairy Tales: A Hypoxic Style Writing Workshop, Fall 2015 – with Dr. Jilly Dreadful – Guest Speakers: Terri Windling and Annie Bellet

Short Fiction, Fall 2015 – with Valerie Valdes or K. Tempest Bradford – Guest Speakers: Ken Liu and Amal El-Mohtar

Novel Workshop, Summer 2015 – Guest speaker: Chuck Wendig

Short Fiction, Summer 2015 – Guest speakers: John Chu and Michi Trota

Speculative Fiction Writing for Young Adult Writers (ages 14-18) – with Lara McKusky

Short Fiction, Spring 2015 – Guest Speakers: Aimee Bender, Christie Yant, Lise Quintana

Science Fiction Fairy Tales, Spring 2015 – Guest Speakers: Seanan McGuire, Cat Rambo, Catherynne Valente

Short Fiction, Fall 2014 – Guest Speakers: Christie Yant and Lois Duncan





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