When: July 10 – August 2
Where: Online — Available everywhere and at your own pace
An essential part of creating a character is understanding how that individual speaks or communicates. For writers who are working to create inclusive fiction with diverse characters from races, cultures, and backgrounds different from their own, crafting appropriate dialogue is more than just idealizing and compressing speech to make it seem natural. It may also mean figuring out how to get across the nuances of language, accent, or dialect without Othering or exoticizing characters or the real cultures and identity groups they represent.
In this 3 week craft-focused class, authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford will help you sharpen your dialogue skills through lectures, hands-on exercises, and feedback. At the end of class you’ll have a wealth of resources for further study and practice, as well as access to the Writing the Other Sensitivity Reader Database.
- Who Should Take This Class?
- Course Format and Time Commitment
- Required Texts
- Full and Partial Scholarship Opportunities
- Refund Policy
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 — 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.
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. The bulk of the class consists of discussion and writing exercises. Students will have 3 – 7 days to complete assignments, and not all of them will be turned in for feedback. 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 half an hour for participation. You may manage your time as needed based on your own schedule.
The class takes place in a private WordPress forum with a theme designed for accessibility. Homework files will be available through Google Drive. 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.
Before class, please purchase:
- Writing the Other: A Practical Approach by Cynthia Ward and Nisi Shawl
- The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Thanks to the generosity of donors to our COVID-19 fundraiser and the continued support of our Patreon backers we are offering 10 full and 15 partial Vonda N. McIntyre Sentient Squid Scholarships for this class. (If you’d like to contribute, you can donate here.)
If you do not have the financial means to pay for all or part of the registration cost for this 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.)
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 by 11:59PM Pacific June 21, 2020. You’ll be asked to provide:
- A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need. If you’re applying based on COVID-19 financial hardship, we will not ask you to provide proof of impact.
- 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, though it’s not a requirement. (We set aside some scholarship spots specifically for students who identify as BIPOC, though we do not limit the number of scholarships we’ll give to POC or Native applicants.)
Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific June 21, 2020. We will notify all applicants of their standing by March 22nd. 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 June 10, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.
If you drop by June 14, 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 by June 21, you will receive a 40% 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 on June 28 or after you will not have your registration fee refunded as it will be hard for a student to fill your space. However, you will be able to enroll in a future class for a discount.