The Brainery Workshop is Offering Writing Classes with Tor Authors and Editors!

The Brainery Workshop, a series of online writing classes devoted to honing speculative fiction, just released its spring 2016 schedule—and almost every class features by Tor Books and authors or editors. Learn from guest lectures with Nisi Shawl and Max Gladstone on writing the other in short fiction! Take a master class with Charlie Jane Anders or Ellen Datlow or Daniel José Older! Read on for more information on classes and sign-ups.

The Brainery Workshop is devoted to teaching speculative fiction “as an artistic discipline worthy of theory and practice”—and that includes science fiction, horror, magical realism, weird tales, steampunk, slipstream, and more. This spring, they’re offering five workshops devoted to different forms of writing, plus three master class roundtable sessions. Here’s the full rundown of classes:


Novel Workshop and YA Novel Workshop, taught by Jilly Dreadful, Ph.D., are designed for writers with a complete (though not necessarily finished) manuscript in need of a full critique. The goal is to help shape first drafts into stronger second drafts and to help writers develop strategies for revision and expansion. Students will receive in-depth critiques from their peers and the instructor.

Short Fiction Writing and the Other, a brand new class taught by K. Tempest Bradford, is designed for writers who want to include characters in their fiction whose gender, sexual orientation, religion, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity differs from their own, but are hesitant to do so for fear that they will get it horribly, offensively wrong. Students will learn strategies for writing the “Other” sensitively and convincingly as well as strengthen their short story writing craft in general through a combination of readings, analysis of published fiction, writing exercises, peer critiques, and developing, writing, and revising stories in a safe, supportive atmosphere. In addition to instruction and in-depth critiques from Bradford, students will also benefit from guest lectures exclusive to this class from authors Nisi Shawl and Max Gladstone.

Short Fiction, taught by Valerie Valdes, is a workshop designed for speculative fiction writers looking to produce submission-ready short fiction in the form of flash fiction, short stories or standalone novel excerpts. Participants will deepen their theory and practice through the discussion of course readings, a continually evolving feedback loop from the instructor and classmates, as well as the kind of accountability that a community of peers can provide. Writers work on four submissions during the program: two new and/or original works, up to 7500 words in length, a revision of one of the two previously submitted pieces, and a work of flash fiction 1000 words or less.

Science Fiction Fairy Tales, taught by Jilly Dreadful, Ph.D., is a hypoxic-style workshop designed to push students to challenge themselves as writers and to question the conventions and limits of what it means to remix fairy tales in modern ways. Every week students will consider a different fairy tale and science theme pairing, and remix it using experimental methods. Students will write (on average) 750-1500 words weekly, as well as discuss each other’s work.

Master Class Roundtable Sessions

Every writer enrolled in The Brainery will have the opportunity to attend 60-90 minute roundtable sessions and ask questions of special guests. All Master Classes are recorded and made available to students. This semester’s speakers include:

  • Charlie Jane Anders, Hugo winner, Editor-in-Chief of, and author of the forthcoming novel All The Birds In The Sky.
  • Daniel José Older, author of Salsa Nocturna and Half-Resurrection Blues, and co-editor of Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History.
  • Ellen Datlow, prolific science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction editor whose magazines and anthologies have shaped the genre over her thirty-year career.

The Brainery Workshop will announce two more guest speakers to talk about Young Adult Fiction and New Media in the coming weeks.

Workshops begin the week of January 25, so you’ll want to sign up soon!

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