When: March 29 – April 28, 2019
Where: Online — Available everywhere and at your own pace
Representation is fundamental to writing great fiction. Creating characters that reflect of the diversity of the world we all live in is important for all writers and creators of fictional narratives. But writers often find it difficult to represent people whose gender, sexual orientation, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity is very different from their own. This can lead to fear of getting it wrong–horribly, offensively wrong–and, in the face of that, some think it’s better to not even try.
Representation is so important—too important to ignore. And it is possible to write characters who represent the “Other” sensitively and convincingly. This four week course will provide authors with a solid foundation in how to craft characters from any background, no matter how different they are from you.
Writers Nisi Shawl, Piper J. Drake, and K. Tempest Bradford will dive deep into character creation with writing exercises, discussion, and lectures on intersectionality, character relationships, avoiding stereotypes and tropes, and depicting people from different genders, sexualities, classes, ethnicities, ability levels, and religious backgrounds.
In addition to instruction from Shawl, Drake, and Bradford, students will have access to the video and resources from three Writing the Other Master Classes (a $150 value):
- Writing Native American Characters: How Not To Do A Rowling with Debbie Reese
- Writing for Trans and Non-Binary Narratives with Ashley Lauren Rogers
- Writing Deaf and Blind Characters with Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
Students will come away with resources for further study and access to a sensitivity reader database.
- Course Format, Schedule, and Time Commitment
- Required Texts
- Who Should Take This Class?
- Available Spots, Sliding Scale Payments, and Scholarship Opportunities
- Refund Policy
- The Year of Writing Inclusively
The class does not have set meeting times. You can access lectures, other class materials, and group discussions at any time from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. All class discussions will take place in a private online forum and all class work is done on Google Drive.
The time commitment each week will depend on your level of participation. Lectures (posted as text) and homework go live on weekends. Discussions based on lectures, homework, and Master Classes (videos of about an hour) 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 and set aside up to an hour for participation. You may manage your time as needed based on your own schedule.
Each student will also have the opportunity to meet with one of the instructors for a 30 minute video chat session in addition to discussions on the forum.
Please buy and read the following texts before class begins.
- Writing the Other: A Practical Approach by Cynthia Ward and Nisi Shawl
- Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget by Stant Litore
- Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F edited by Jim C. Hines
- Invisible 2: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F edited by Jim C. Hines
The class takes place in a private WordPress forum with a theme designed for accessibility. Homework files will be 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. One-on-ones with instructors will take place via Zoom or Google Hangouts. 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.
Writers of all genres — Literary, YA, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children’s Books, Romance — and all mediums — Prose, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Comics/Graphic Novels, Games — 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.
There are 40 spots available for open enrollment.
We have two options for writers who wish to take the class but need financial aid or flexibility.
If you can afford to pay for part but not all of the class, we have 5 spots reserved for Sliding Scale enrollment. Under this plan you can pay whatever amount you can afford, but we do request that you pay at least $50. To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the amount that you can afford (you may also split this into two or more payments).
There are 10 spots reserved for writers needing a Sentient Squid Scholarship. If you cannot afford the 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 have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class to writers who do not have the money at all. Please don’t hesitate to apply wherever you exist on that spectrum and please don’t self-reject!
To apply, send an email to email@example.com with the subject WtO DD Character 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. Please do not send this as an attachment.
- If you identify as a Person of Color, Native American, or First Nations, you may indicate that if you wish, though it’s not a requirement. (We set aside some scholarship spots 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.)
Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific March 15, 2019. We will notify all applicants of their standing by March 20. 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 contacting our GMail or emailing via the website.
If you drop by March 1, 2019, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.
If you drop by March 8, you will receive an 80% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other Master Classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.
If you drop by March 22, you will receive an 40% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other Master Classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.
If you drop on March 23 or after you will not have your registration fee refunded. However, you will be able to enroll in a future class for a discount.
This is the first in a series of four deep dive courses covering every top-level issue authors face when they set out to write inclusive, diverse fiction. For a limited time, we’re offering a discount to students who pre-pay for two, three, or all four Year of Writing Inclusively classes. You can save from $50 to $350 on registration fees and guarantee yourself a spot in this and the other courses.
To get the discount and more details, click here.
If the class sells out completely there will be a waiting list option available. Add yourself to it as there are often students who have to drop.