When: August 14 – 22, 2021
Where: Online via Zoom or Asynchronous classroom, accessible at your own pace
Price: $150 – $250
Creating inclusive fiction with characters that come from different identities is important. But when writers start describing people from marginalized groups, they’re sometimes overcome by anxiety over getting it right. What words and phrases should you use? Which ones should you avoid?
In this craft-focused class, authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford dive deep into these language and description pitfalls…and how to avoid them! Nisi and Tempest go beyond the basics of eliminating food metaphors and other tired/inaccurate clichés and explore:
- How to make conscious, respectful, and inclusive language choices.
- Person-first vs. Identity-first language.
- When it is and isn’t okay to use slurs.
- and more…
Through lectures, short writing exercises, and feedback from students and teachers, writers will come away from the class knowing how to avoid descriptions that unwittingly reveal or perpetuate bias and oppression. Even after the class is over, students will have access to a plethora of resources for further study and practice.
- Who Should Take This Class?
- Course Format, Schedule, and Time Commitment
- Required Texts
- Full and Partial Scholarship Opportunities
- Refund Policy
Prose writers of all genres — Literary, YA, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children’s Books, Romance — at any point in their career from newbie to professional. This class is designed so that any writer who wants to write inclusive fiction well and create characters who aren’t caricatures will find it beneficial.
Please read carefully as there are two options available for this class and they are different from previous versions of the description deep dive.
Option 1: Weekend Intensive Plus ($250) — On Saturday and Sunday August 14 & 15 students will gather virtually on Zoom for lectures, Q&A, discussion, and writing exercises with live feedback. Weekend sessions run from 10am to 5:30pm Pacific (with breaks!) on both days. (Click here to convert to your time zone.)
From Monday August 16 through Sunday the 22nd students can log in to a private WordPress forum for further discussions based on readings and more writing exercises. This section of the class is asynchronous, meaning you can log in at any time and participate on your schedule.
The Weekend Intensive Plus is limited to 30 students.
Option 2: Asynchronous ($150) — Writers who cannot join us for the live Weekend Intensive can chose this option. Starting August 14 you’ll have access to the private WordPress classroom where we will post lectures in text form and the recordings of the lectures. Starting on the 16th we’ll post readings, discussions, and more writing exercises. For this option you can log in at any time and participate on your schedule.
The time commitment for the Asynchronous portion of the class will depend on your level of participation. Discussions based on lectures, short readings, and writing exercises will take place during the week. Discussion threads tend to be wide-ranging, so students should try to check in at least once a day or every other day. You may manage your time as needed based on your own schedule.
On the last weekend, August 21 & 22, there will be a set of Q&A sessions with the instructors on Zoom open to all students. (Times will be determined by student availability.)
All class work is done on Google Drive, so please ensure you have a Google account before class.
Please buy the following texts before class begins.
- Writing the Other: A Practical Approach by Cynthia Ward and Nisi Shawl
- Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin [Amazon | Bookshop.org]
- Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language by Amanda Montell [Amazon | Bookshop.org]
The class takes place in Zoom and in a private WordPress with a theme designed for accessibility. Homework files will be available through Google Drive. We will provide closed captions auto-generated by Rev during the Zoom sessions. Some class material will be in the form of pre-recorded video. Each has closed captions and a text transcript is available. The class mailing list will be through Google Groups. All of these services are accessible to students using screen readers.
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.
Scholarships are available for both the Weekend Intensive Plus and Asynchronous class options.
If you do not have the financial means to pay for all or part of the registration cost for the class, 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. We especially encourage writers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply. Wherever you exist on the financial needs spectrum, don’t self reject! (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.)
Additionally, in acknowledgment of the difficulty Palestinian writers may have in accessing resources and the obstacles their voices face in being heard, we have decided to set aside scholarship spots to writers of Palestinian heritage.
IMPORTANT: We set aside scholarship spots ahead of opening registration. Even if this class sells out before the deadline, scholarship spots are still reserved. If you plan to apply for a scholarship you do not need to register for the class below.
If you can afford to pay for part but not all of the registration fee, please apply for a partial scholarship. Under this financial aid plan you can let us know the amount you can afford. If you cannot afford to pay at all, please apply for a full scholarship.
To apply, please fill out this form. You’ll be asked to provide:
- 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.
- If you customarily identify as POC, BIPOC, or BAME, or are of Palestinian heritage, you may indicate that if you wish.
Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific July 25, 2021. We will notify all applicants of their standing by July 31. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!
If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by requesting a refund via Eventbrite.
If you drop by July 30th, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.
If you drop on July 31st or after you will not have your registration fee refunded. However, you can use the funds as credit towards a future class.