I’m teaching a course on Writing Science Fiction at the University of Toronto

Or at least, I might be. Depends on how many people sign up. We’re talking Wednesday evenings, between October 1 and November 19: eight two-and-a-half hour sessions covering the hallmarks of the genre, tips and techniques on research and world-building, plot construction, character development— you know the list. It will be hands-on. You will write. I will read your writing, and provide all manner of pithy insight and constructive feedback. Finally, I shall pass judgment upon you (in what I suspect may be my most favourite part of the exercise).

The course will focus on science fiction, not fantasy (which is being offered as a separate course). The only exception to this will be a brief digression into the horror genre, as I share with you my personal experiences with marketing, publishing, and promotion. Regular visitors to this crawl probably know what to expect on that front.

Right now, we’re on the bubble; whether the course goes ahead depends on how many additional folks sign up over the next week or so. It’s short notice, I know. I didn’t know I was going to be teaching this thing myself until yesterday. Karl Schroeder — who was originally slotted for the gig — had to back out for health reasons, so I’m stepping up to the plate at the last minute.

Anyway, if you live in Toronto and your Wednesday evenings are free; if you have a yen to write science fiction; if you crave the kind of House-lite attitude and cat-laden asides you can only get at rifters.com, plus a big helping of practical, customized nuts-and-bolts on the how-tos of the genre— and, most importantly, if you have $570 you’re not especially attached to— why not surf on over to Continuing Ed’s “Writing Science Fiction” listing and sign up? Online evidence notwithstanding, I really can be quite charming and informative in person.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday September 16 2008at 09:09 am , filed under public interface, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

15 Responses to “I’m teaching a course on Writing Science Fiction at the University of Toronto”

  1. Sadly, I do not live in Toronto. I do hope that the health reasons preventing Karl Schroeder from teaching this course are minimal in severity, and short in duration. I hope to be able to purchase many more novels from both you and Mr. Schroeder.

  2. You’re totally charming, so there! I vouch for you in this public forum.

  3. I would cheerfully go for the lecture, but I have no talent (or inclination) for writing fiction. You need students who’s fiction stretches to more than next quarter’s balance sheet :-/

    Now, if you were to record the lectures and sell them, say as podcasts, I’d buy…

  4. Dude, do up a flyer or something and post it on the corkboard at the store.

  5. I would love to be able to attend these classes you are offering at UoT, but, as unfortunate as this might be, I do not live in Toronto, nor do I have the prerequisite desire to pat my frozen backside shortly after my arrival in Toronto in order to attend aforementioned classes. It is not so much that I do not have the financial capability to do so; it is more of a willpower, or rather the lack thereof, issue to make this surely adventurous journey to the twenty-kilometers-from-the-North-Pole University to have my backside frozen while learning something I actually am interested in, and not to mention the material might actually is relevant to my life, for once. That, and I live in America, where everybody is so lazy it is contagious.

    So, I, as a somewhat-irrelevant-smartass-that-isn’t-even-American-to-begin-with-American fan of your novels, formally, as formal as I could afford, which is nothing, because I am doing this on the Internet, request your courses be available online, on the aforementioned Internet, for the infected (of the aforementioned laziness) like myself, and many other unfortunate lives.

    P.S. I do hope you are not offended by this comment in any way. All are in the sake of the sense of humor we are so often forget because of the redundant need of being politically correct in any given situation. But then again, the hell do I care when I am only somewhat (ir)relevant.

  6. I am starting a pool on how long it will take Peter to say something that pisses off the U of T faculty.

  7. Ya, if someone recorded the class for all of us non-Torontonians… off the record of course, not like educations are worth money or anything.

  8. Oh damn it! I should’ve known it was too good to be true! I don’t live in Toronto, but I do go to university there (Not U of T). I would’ve loved to take this course, but the $570 price tag’s a bit steep for me. I simply don’t have that kind of money right now, nor will I by the end of this week.

    Bah!

  9. Oh, I would definitely attend if I happened to be there on your side of the planet, but alas… :(

    Best of of luck with the lecture, though.

    -Hannu

  10. DAMN lucky canadians…first you get to mooch off american culture and now this!?!?!

    I am so jealous.

  11. Leah said…

    Dude, do up a flyer or something and post it on the corkboard at the store.

    Riiiiight.

    I’m sorry, but even posting this announcement is straying too far into the whole self-promotion scene for my liking. It’s a slippery slope, you know. You start off putting up a poster or two, and the next thing you know you’re signing your e-mails “All Best Wishes”…

  12. …covering the hallmarks of the genre, tips and techniques on research and world-building, plot construction, character development … It will be hands-on.

    ooo! Sounds like fun. Not that I ever took a creative writing course, but I think you’d be a natural at this kind of stuff.

    Finally, I shall pass judgment upon you (in what I suspect may be my most favourite part of the exercise).

    This, otoh, gives me The Fear. I’m thinking it’s probably why I never took a creative writing course. Or tried to teach one.

    I mean, what can you say to amateurs after you read their work over which they sweated blood, and it’s really bad? Wow. I assume professional writers get used to rejection^2, but recreational writers? ZOMG, would it be like stepping on ants?

    Oh. my. head. would. esPLODE.

  13. OH MY GOSH.
    I was going to U of T, but I stayed back in H.S. So I could take Writers’ Craft and Media Arts.
    I wonder if I could convince Mum to do the four-hour drive for a lecture…

  14. “I would love to be able to attend these classes you are offering at UoT, but, as unfortunate as this might be, I do not live in Toronto, nor do I have the prerequisite desire to pat my frozen backside shortly after my arrival in Toronto in order to attend aforementioned classes. It is not so much that I do not have the financial capability to do so; it is more of a willpower, or rather the lack thereof, issue to make this surely adventurous journey to the twenty-kilometers-from-the-North-Pole University to have my backside frozen while learning something I actually am interested in, and not to mention the material might actually is relevant to my life, for once. That, and I live in America, where everybody is so lazy it is contagious.

    So, I, as a somewhat-irrelevant-smartass-that-isn’t-even-American-to-begin-with-American fan of your novels, formally, as formal as I could afford, which is nothing, because I am doing this on the Internet, request your courses be available online, on the aforementioned Internet, for the infected (of the aforementioned laziness) like myself, and many other unfortunate lives.

    P.S. I do hope you are not offended by this comment in any way. All are in the sake of the sense of humor we are so often forget because of the redundant need of being politically correct in any given situation. But then again, the hell do I care when I am only somewhat (ir)relevant.”

    Far too wordy, C-

    Jason

  15. Well, the course is off. Didn’t make critical mass.

    Just as well, I suppose. Got plenty on my plate as is. I just wish some of it paid better…