Writing Inclusive Fiction: 5 Week Course | April – May 2017

Writing Inclusive Fiction - 5 Week Course

Want to include more diversity in your work? Ready to write inclusive, representative fiction but afraid of getting it wrong and contributing to cultural toxicity? This five week course offers strategies to help you get it right and cope when you get it wrong.

When: April 6 – May 14, 2017

Where: Online – Available in every time zone

Price: $500

Register Today

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Class Description

Writers often wonder and worry about if it is possible to write characters whose gender, sexual orientation, religion, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity differs from their own. Many authors are afraid to try even though it is possible to do so sensitively and convincingly. In this five-week course, authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford delve into this tricky skill through a combination of readings, videos, discussions, and writing exercises in a safe, supportive atmosphere. The class is appropriate for all writers (fiction, plays, comics, screenplays) from all backgrounds and any skill level.

This class covers:

  • Representation
  • Language & Description
  • Stereotypes & Tropes around…
    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Disability
    • Gender
    • Sexuality
    • Religion
    • Class
    • and more
  • Characterization & Identity
  • Dialogue & Dialect
  • Worldbuilding Without Appropriation for…
    • Fantasy
    • Science Fiction
    • Historical Fiction/Alt-History
    • Contemporary Fiction
  • Researching the Other
  • Plus more

In addition to instruction from Shawl and Bradford, students will have access to the video and resources from three Writing the Other Master Classes (a $150 value) and exclusive access to a guest lecture by Max Gladstone*:

*Please Note: The teachers of these classes will not provide live instruction.

Attending Class, Schedule, Time Commitment

Instruction begins Thursday April 6 and ends Sunday, May 14, 2017. The course does not have set meeting times. You can access class material and discussion and participate in class at any time, day or night, from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. All class discussion will take place in a private online forum and all class work done on Google Drive. 

The minimum time commitment per week will be about five hours. Lectures are posted to the class forum on weekends and on Wednesdays. Homework and exercises are timed and take 20 minutes or less to complete with two exceptions. It is possible to do most homework on weekends or spread it throughout the week.

In addition to the lectures, videos, and other classwork, students are also expected to participate in forum discussions. Just as with the course work, they can be accessed at times that fit the students’ schedules.

In addition to forum discussions, both instructors will be available for one-on-one video chats during virtual office hours and each week there will be an optional live chat on Google Hangouts.

Accessibility and Technical Requirements

The class takes place in an online forum or web space that is designed for accessibility. In addition, lessons and instructor essays are all available through Google Drive. Some class material will be in the form of video lectures. Each has closed captions and a text transcript is available for all. Weekly chats and Office Hours take place via Google Hangout (text or video chat, depending on student needs). The class mailing list will be through Google Groups. All of these services are accessible to students using screen readers.

During registration we will ask about your accessibility needs. If you have questions about potential needs, or if there are any other ways we can make a class accessible for you, please contact us before registering and we’ll answer within 24 hours.

Other than a computer, the only other technical requirement for the class is a Google account. If you don’t have one, you can create a free one just for this class.

Available Spots, Payment Plans, and Scholarship Opportunities

There are 20 spots available for open enrollment. We have several options for writers who wish to take the class but need financial flexibility.

If you can pay for the class but need to pay in installments we have payment plans available. Requirements:

  1. You must be able to pay $100 to secure your spot in the class.
  2. You must be able to pay in full by May 1, 2017.

If you meet these two criteria, please email writingtheother+pplan@gmail.com to apply for a spot. We have set aside 5 spots for payment plan enrollments.

If you can afford to pay for part but not all of the class, we have set aside up to 7 spots for Pay What You Can Afford enrollment. To enroll under this plan, please email writingtheother+pwyca@gmail.com. You can pay any amount, but we do request that you pay at least $50. However, if that is beyond your budget…

There are at least 5 spots available for Sentient Squid Scholarship recipients

If you do not have the financial means to take this class and feel that you will benefit from it, we encourage you to apply. We have a broad definition of financial need that ranges from writers who do not have the money at all to writers who have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class. Please don’t hesitate to apply wherever you exist on that spectrum. (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.)

We’ve set aside one scholarship spot specifically for students who identify as POC or Native, though we do not limit the number of scholarships we’ll give to POC or Native applicants.

To apply, send an email to writingtheother+squid@gmail.com with the subject WtO 5 Week Scholarship Applicant, and include in the body:

  • A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need
  • A brief (500 or fewer words) description of a work or works in progress that you hope the class will help you write.
  • A writing sample of 1000 or fewer words. This can be an excerpt from a longer work or flash fiction, from something published or unpublished, as long as it represents what you feel is your best work.
  • If you identify as a Person of Color, Native American, or First Nations, you may indicate that if you wish (it’s not a requirement).

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific April 2nd. We will notify all applicants of their standing by April 4th. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

If the class sells out completely there will be a waiting list. Add yourself to it as there are often students who have to drop.

Class Texts

Primary Texts (Required)

Secondary Texts

If you cannot find these books in your local library or cannot afford them, please inform us after you register and we’ll make arrangements for you.

Refund Policy

If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by contacting our GMail or emailing via the website.

If you drop by March 15th, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop by March 22nd, you will receive a 50% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop by March 29th, you will receive an 80% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop after March 29th, we will not be able to refund your registration fee. However, you will be able to enroll in a future Writing the Other class for a 90-95% discount.


If the class sells out completely there will be a waiting list option available in the box below. Add yourself to it as there are often students who have to drop.

header image credit: crdot on Flickr.