Writing Inclusive Fiction: 10 Day Intensive | December 2017 (formerly Weekend Intensive)

10 Day Intensive header

When: December 22 – 31, 2017 (detailed schedule below)
Where: ONLINE via Zoom Video Conference
Price: $300
Register Now

Writers know that it’s important to write about characters whose gender, sexual orientation, religion, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity differs from their own. But many are afraid to do so for fear that they will get it wrong–horribly, offensively wrong–and think it is better not even to try.

In truth, it is possible to write the Other sensitively and convincingly, and this workshop can start you on the path to doing just that.

Drawing on and updating work by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, authors of the acclaimed reference Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, this 3 day online course delves deep into learning this sometimes tricky skill. Authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford combine lectures, discussions, and writing exercises in a safe, supportive atmosphere.

The class will cover Stereotypes and Tropes related to Race and Ethnicity, Disability, Gender and Sexuality, Religion, Class, and more, plus strategies for building characters and worlds while avoiding engaging in stereotypes or cultural appropriation. We’ll also discuss Language and Description, Dialogue and Dialect, and How To Research The Other.

The class is appropriate for all writers (fiction, plays, comics, screenplays, and games included) from all backgrounds and any skill level.

Attending Class, Schedule, Time Commitment

Instruction begins Friday December 22 and ends Sunday, December 31, 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. 

Because this is an intensive course, you’ll be given lectures to read each day with discussions relating to the topics ongoing throughout the week. Students should expect to spend 2 hours per day on reading and discussion, though they can access the class on their own schedule. Homework assignments will be 10 to 20 minutes in length.

Each student will also have the opportunity to meet with either Tempest or Nisi for a 30 minute video chat session in addition to discussions on the forum.



The class costs $300 (no extra fees)

Available Spots and Scholarship Opportunities

This class is capped at 15 students.

10 spots will be available for open enrollment when registration begins. If the class sells out there will be a waiting list. Add yourself to it as there are often students who have to drop.

There are 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 Intensive 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 December 17. We will notify all applicants of their standing on December 18. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

Class Texts

Before class, please purchase and read the following books:

Class Requirements

You need an interest in writing, but you do not need to have published anything yet.

You must have a Google account to participate in this class. Though the 30 minute private video sessions are held in Zoom video conferencing rooms, all classwork is submitted via a private Google Drive folder. The class mailing list runs on Google groups. We will send you links to access the Drive folder a week before class starts.

All students must be active participants in class. There will be lectures as well as in-class exercises and Q&A. Throughout class we will use your fiction for exercises and homework.

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 December 1st, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop by December 10th, 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 December 16th, you will receive an 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 December 17th or after you will not have your registration fee refunded as it will be extremely hard for a student to fill your space. However, you will be able to enroll in a future Weekend Intensive class for a 90-95% discount.

Register Below

If the class sells out before you have a chance to register, there is a waiting list option (if it doesn’t show up in the box below, click here). We do sometimes have students drop, so please add yourself. Waiting list students also get offered spots in upcoming classes before everyone else.