This course is 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.
This is a brand new workshop offering at The Brainery, as such it is slightly experimental. There are only 5 slots available, but the intention is that writers come to the class with a manuscript in hand to work on. Ideally manuscripts should be between 30,000 and 80,000 words. If your manuscript falls substantially outside this target range, please use the form below to contact me before registering.
We will be reading each student’s ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT and we will only be meeting every other week (bi-weekly) in order to budget enough time to read and comment on the manuscript. ENTIRE does not necessarily mean “complete,” because if you’ve run out of ideas on where to take your novel, then hopefully this is what the workshop will help you figure out.
This is NOT a generative writing workshop where students will work on parts of their novel and submit sections as they go. I am working on that for the fall.
In addition to the weekly virtual class sessions, there will be one Master Class Roundtable Sessions with guest speaker who is professional writer.
Students from each class will have the opportunity to “sit in” on each course’s roundtable sessions based on seat availability. Students enrolled directly in the course will have priority during roundtables, students from other workshops may be required to be be muted during the session. All sessions will be recorded and available for currently enrolled students to download.
The Brainery’s Novel Workshop is an experiment, but the goal is help shape your first draft into a stronger second draft and to help you develop strategies for revision and expansion.
Participants will deepen their theory and practice of spec-fic through the discussion of course readings, a continually evolving feedback loop from me and their peers, as well as the kind of accountability that a community of peers can provide.
By connecting you with fellow readers/practitioners of speculative fiction, The Brainery helps you recognize that your writing is important by connecting you to peers in meaningful ways, which, ideally, will allow you to realize that your writing is important and that there is a market for your work. By investing in your writing in these ways, it is my hope that The Brainery gets you to make your writing a priority.
The focus of Novel Workshop is on working with a substantial manuscript from each of the 5 writers enrolled, not necessarily on generating new material.
There are only 5 student spaces available for Novel Workshop being taught with me (Jilly Dreadful, Ph.D.). Once class times have been selected, I’ll give students access to The Portal, the private peer review site I custom-designed, where students will only have access to/be responsible for reading and responding to the submissions in their section.
Since these manuscripts will be substantially longer than what The Portal usually handles, I ask that writers make their manuscripts available to download in Microsoft Word and also PDF formats, so readers can decide how they want to read the initial manuscript–but marginalia will be expected of all participants. We will decide as a group how we want to handle that: Track Changes in Word, print the document and snail mail, transcribe handwritten margin comments to The Portal, et cetra.
I’ll also hold an hour of virtual office hours each week, where we can live-chat about any questions you might have about the course, the readings, or your writing, getting unstuck. I will provide in-depth written feedback on each one of your assignments, as well as marginalia.
By the end of the workshop, the goal is for everyone to have workshopped their manuscripts and have a plan for expansion and revision.
Confirmed, Roundtable Date TBA
Chuck Wendig is the author of the published novels: Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Under the Empyrean Sky, Blue Blazes, Double Dead, Bait Dog, Dinocalypse Now, Beyond Dinocalypse and Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits. He also the author of the soon-to-be-published novels: The Cormorant, Blightborn (Heartland Book #2), Heartland Book #3, Dinocalypse Forever, Frack You, and The Hellsblood Bride. Also coming soon is his compilation book of writing advice from this very blog: The Kick-Ass Writer, coming from Writers Digest.
Virtual face-to-face classes are held once a week using GoToMeeting. Classes are 2-2.5 hours each week during an agreed upon time, so participants will have a chance to meet and talk about each others work out loud. All writers are expected to read and submit written comments on the work we’re peer reviewing that week by our class meeting during the virtual class session.
In addition to the virtual class session, you should plan on budgeting enough time to read and critique EACH OF THE FOUR OTHER NOVELS you will be reading during the workshop.
The Brainery Workshop is an investment in developing and deepening one’s relationship to, and mastery of, speculative fiction writing. If you find yourself starting stories, but never finishing them; if you find yourself without a stable, reliable writing group that “gets” your kind of writing; if you crave learning from a collection of writers who will read your work with a spectrum of spec-fic and literary knowledge; if you find the solitary nature of writing a hindrance to productivity, but find sharing work as a source of productive motivation–then The Brainery Workshop may be for you.
The Brainery is for you if you are creative, courageous, curious, and, perhaps, most importantly: generous, both with others, and with yourself; generous with your time and energy to provide insightful feedback and share resources with your fellow writers, but also generous with your writerly self–believing your writing is important, and making your writing a priority. (I might just be projecting, but this is something that I continue to struggle with myself, and so it’s a personal goal of mine to help others conquer this particular form of self-sabotage.)
Usually, I have an in-depth answer to this question to help writers figure out their comfort level. But I will state, unequivocally, for Novel Workshop: new writers SHOULD NOT start with this workshop. This is NOT a generative writing workshop with writing prompts or strategies on how to get started writing a novel. Participants are expected to have a substantial manuscript to turn in by their submission date.
On Trigger Warnings:
On Conflict Resolution:
Absolutely. For Fall 2015, I am planning a comic book writing workshop and a novel writing workshop (where students will generate material over the course of the workshop), in addition to Short Fiction and Sci-Fi Fairy Tales. You can keep up to date with future workshop offerings on my email list (sign-ups are on my blog, in the sidebar on the right hand of the screen), and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Classes start the week of June 22, 2015 — but I can take late registrations up to June 29, 2015.
The cost of the workshop is $325. Registering enrolls you for Summer 2015, which comes with:
If you have registered for The Brainery for a free account in the past or registered for a course in the past, make sure you’re logged out, or else you won’t be able to see the registration page. (I’m actively troubleshooting this problem.)
If you have a PayPal account, you can use PayPal credit to break the payment down into installments. Right now, PayPal credit has no interest on purchases for 6 months of $99 or more. I also offer a Writer Support Fund for writers in dire economic circumstances.
Do you have any other questions about The Brainery Workshop? Here’s an easy way to contact me: