In this four-week workshop, learn to build a living, breathing, fantastical world—with real rules, real stakes, and real mechanics.
Your Instructor: Delilah S. Dawson, author of 'Wake of Vultures' and 'Servants of the Storm'
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: February 24, 2017 - March 21, 2017
Enrollment: 16 students
Welcome to godhood.
You make the rules, draw the maps, control the characters, and decide exactly what color the sky will be. There are as many ways to build worlds as there are worlds to build. Which is to say: infinite. That will either scare the pants off you or set your mouth watering and your fingers twitching.
Put on your god-pants and get ready to write.
In this class, you'll learn different ways to approach worldbuilding, and how to insure that the world and characters you've created are so real, rich, and strong that they'll suck the reader in from the first page and keep them hungry for more. After all, there's a reason people go to the trouble to learn Klingon or Elvish.
Delilah S. Dawson is the author of the critically-acclaimed Wake of Vultures and Servants of the Storm, as well as the wildly-imaginative Blud books, where steampunk meets carnie fiction meets science-fiction meets horror meets... well, Delilah covers a lot of ground.
If you have a dream, a hook, a character, a name, a map, the seed of a story idea, Delilah can help you build the world around it.
Whether you start with a character and build a world around them or start with an entire universe to focus in on your story, there are certain things you're going to need. Pretend you're a god building your first Adam.
*Class starts Feb. 21 but there's still plenty of time to enroll and get to work!
What This Class Covers
Week 1: Foundations of Worldbulding
First came the idea, which the writer must turn into a scaffold for the plot and characters. Whether you're writing an entirely new world filled with creatures of your own design or you're just tweaking our world through the addition of one powerful change, there are certain signposts that will help the reader become completely immersed in your world. Without a skeleton, your story is floppy and useless, and we don't want that.
Assignment: Craft your idea into a one-sentence hook and start building a World Profile.
Week 2: Foundations of Character
Time to create characters who will be uniquely challenged by your world. Race, gender, love, hate, religion, magic—what makes your world run? Where's the conflict? What makes the heart beat? Every character wants something, even if it's just a glass of blue milk.
Assignment: Give us a character profile of your main character(s). What's their background, what's their present, what do they want, and what challenge do they face?
Week 3: Writing Your First Chapter
We have a foundation, we have characters motivated to move. Now we need a sensory experience that will convince the reader from the first page that they're in a different world. How many details are enough, and how many are too much? Where's the perfect point to start your story to keep a literary agent or editor reading? We'll explore elegant simplicity and use language to support your characters as they chase their goals.
Assignment: Write your opening scene including well-integrated details of your world and your character.
Week 4: Revising, Polishing, and Moving Forward with Confidence
So now you've got a book, or at least some opening chapters. Editing and retrofitting are the finishing touches to making your world and your story stand out from the rest. Revision isn't a haircut; it's major surgery. Let's talk about developmental edits, polishing, and how to know when you're ready to query.
Assignment: After receiving critique from the instructor and your fellow students, look critically at your opening scene and rewrite it, integrating carefully chosen details and a sense of time and place to fully ground the reader in your world.
* This class includes up to 4k in-depth developmental critique of your first chapter(s) by a traditionally published author. You'll have constant access to the instructor via the LitReactor forums, so it's a great chance to ask that ungoogleable question about the mysteries of publishing. And if you finish your book within the next year, the instructor will critique your query before you send it!
Goals Of This Class
You Will Learn:
- How to be a god. Sun robes optional.
- The foundations of building a rock-solid world.
- How to avoid the pitfalls that can happen when worldbuilding
- How much of your worldbuilding to show on the page
- How to use research and avoid info-dumping
- How to build out a character and plot from an idea
- Tropes to avoid, or at least be wary of
- What will wow (or terrify) an agent in your first chapter
- How to edit your first chapters to up your chance of hooking an agent
- How to use criticism to take your manuscript to the next level
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
Got more questions? Click here for an extended FAQ.
And click here to explore a sample class that shows our layout and features.