How to Write Science Fiction that Sells with Nebula Award winning author William Ledbetter

How to Write Science Fiction that Sells

Sunday, November 4, 2018 - 3:00PM TO 6:00PM

Anyone can write tales about robots and aliens, but does that really make it science fiction? The truth is modern readers and publishers of written science fiction are much more sophisticated and demanding than those in the days of bug-eyed monsters and scantily clad space pirate queens. Come join our discussion about how you can avoid these worst tropes and stereotypes, why you don't have to be a scientist to write good science fiction, get tips and shortcuts for researching the science in your story and learn why written science fiction is quite different than what you watch on TV and in movies.

Instructor William Ledbetter is a Nebula Award winning author with more than sixty speculative fiction stories and non-fiction articles published in markets such as Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Analog. He's been a space and technology geek since childhood and spent most of his non-writing career in the aerospace and defense industry. He lives near Dallas with his wife, a needy dog and two spoiled cats. His new novel "Level Five" is available from Audible Originals. Learn more at www.williamledbetter.com

Fee: $60 or $45 for former/current students | Live Stream Available!

  • William Ledbetter, Presenter

  • Sunday, November 4, 2018 - 3:00PM to 6:00PM

  • Seminar meets at The Drawing Board at 75 & Campbell: 1900 Jay Ell Dr / Richardson, TX / 75081

  • Live Stream is available for students who live outside of Dallas. Just let us know when you register.

Click the button below to register for the seminar. Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this seminar.

Turning Real Life into Unreal Ideas by Ethan Chatagnier

Finding your material in the real world doesn’t mean finding only realist ideas. Science-fiction prophets, fantasy wizards, and genre-bending literary writers can benefit just as much from real-world inputs as slice-of-life literary realists. Perhaps even more.

One of my favorite examples of this is Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 film District 9. It’s a movie with aliens, futuristic weapons, a mech suit, and a mysterious gene-editing fluid. What makes the idea unique is its approach to the aliens: they aren’t visitors, they’re refugees, and the government sets them up in camps and treats them like refugees. So the usual sci-fi question “aliens come to Earth: will they kill us?” is reversed: “aliens come to Earth: will we kill them?”

Blomkamp’s idea didn’t come from space. It came from the news—specifically, from interviews with South Africans about an influx of refugees from Zimbabwe. That link to a real world idea didn’t clip District 9’s wings. Instead, it gave the movie an intense dramatic resonance. Some clips from those interviews even made it into the movie.

Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy is arguably the most imaginative novel series of our time. He details his inspiration and writing process here but here’s the short version: part of the idea came from a strange dream he had; part came from his reaction to the BP Gulf Oil Spill; the other part, the all important setting, came from walks he took through the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, and the abandoned lighthouse there.

There’s no greater argument for looking to the real world for inspiration. It doesn’t limit you to realist stories. It can spark your wildest imaginings, while at the same time anchoring them to the themes that speak to us. This is what we will be looking at in my ONLINE Workshop: Finding Your Material in the Real World. You can learn more about this 5-week class, in which we will generate ideas for stories, by clicking on the button below. I hope you’ll join us!

Now Enrolling for Spring 2017

We're excited to announce our lineup of Spring 2017 classes! Fiction I, Fiction II, and Fiction III are enrolling now and classes will begin the last week of March. We plan to add Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction for our Summer 2017 term.

Writing Workshops Dallas also offers a suite of critique and coaching services, with more information available via the link above.

Please use the Contact link above to send any questions you might have about spring enrollment or our editing services. We look forward to hearing from you!