Centre for Continuing Education

Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction Course

Creative writing. Express yourself with the written word.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses online and in-person. Please check the delivery format of each class before enrolling.

Please note that course materials (excluding prescribed texts) are shared electronically within 48 hours of course commencement. Printing is not available.

Do you harbour a love of the fantastic? Is science fiction your obsession, or fantasy, grim fairy tales, Gothic, steampunk, slipstream, and more? Is your climate change/urban fantasy/ghost story novel begging to be written—or finished—if only you knew how? Have you got a bunch of amazing ideas but are not quite sure how to get them on the page? If so, you’re in good company.

Designed to give you the practical skills to approach your speculative writing projects with confidence, this creative writing course is built around specific issues that often plague the fantasy or science-fiction writer—world-building, over-plotting, dialogue quandaries, multiple viewpoints, and avoiding cliché. Above all we look at creating believable protagonists (and antagonists)—the best way to make your own work stand out in an increasingly competitive market. We discuss genre conventions and how to push against them, current trends in small and large presses, podcasts, comic books, TV series and more. A blend of craft basics and speculative fiction specifics, this creative writing course is an invaluable way to find your place in today’s golden age of fantastic fiction.


This aims of this course are to:

  • develop your speculative fiction writing skills
  • equip you with one completed short story as well as a portfolio of writing within a framework of knowledge that will become the basis of your writing practice.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • apply literary craft to your speculative fiction with more confidence and skill
  • locate your work in terms of genre, audience and influence
  • extrapolate science into futuristic technology, conjure new forms of magic, imagine beauty amid the ruins of fantastic urban terrains or bring nightmares to life
  • build believable characters in imaginary worlds that feel wondrously or terrifyingly real
  • plan, structure and revise your work to make it the best it can be
  • identify and submit to market opportunities most receptive to your work.


This course covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to conventions and expectations of speculative fiction genres
  • Skills-based learning of fiction writing basics necessary to make the imaginary seem real
  • Voluntary workshopping in which students give and get constructive criticism from peers and instructor on an original work
  • Weekly practice in character building, world building, scene construction and all elements of craft both in class as well as through extension activities for those who wish to go further
  • Weekly instructor feedback on individual work
  • Introduction to self-editing and to market opportunities

Intended audience

Writers of all levels, ages and backgrounds, whether you have just a germ of an idea or are an experienced writer looking to complete a final draft.



Delivery style

Delivered through a variety of methods including:

  • group discussions
  • shared and individual writing exercises
  • tutor and participant feedback
  • weekly instructor feedback on individual work.

Delivery options:

  • presenter-taught workshop on University premises
  • online workshop via the platform Zoom.


Please bring along writing implements and a binder/folder for weekly handouts. A laptop is optional.

You will receive a free reader crammed with craft essays and some of the best speculative literature of our time chosen by the facilitator.

Recommended reading

Bradbury, R 2008, Stories: Volume 2, Harper Voyager, London, UK.

Fantastic Women, 2011, 18 Tales of the Surreal and the Sublime, ed. Rob Spillman, Tin House, Or.

Gardner, J 1991, The art of fiction: notes on craft for young writers, Vintage Books, NY.

Gardner, J 1971, Grendel, Vintage Books, NY.

Hill, J (ed.) 2015, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, NY.

King, S 2000, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Hodder & Stoughton, London, UK.

Le Guin, U 2015, Steering the craft: a twenty-First century guide to sailing the sea of story, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, NY.

Link, K 2015, Magic For Beginners, Text Publishing, Melbourne.

Slatter, A 2015, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Tartarus Press, London, UK.

VanderMeer, A & VanderMeer, J (eds) 2015, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, Corvus Books, London, UK.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction Course

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What others say.

  • Fantastic teaching and course content.
  • A great course with a fantastic teacher who is passionate about sharing her love of writing!
  • A great course on creative writing. Very hands on and practical. I learnt a lot about writing in the speculative fiction genre.
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