I’m Teaching an Online Creative Writing Class, 16 Weeks Long, About Contemporary Dark Fiction
2019 IS FULL. WE ARE CURRENTLY BOOKING STUDENTS FOR THE 2020 CLASSES OVER AT STORYVILLE STUDIO.
Hello everyone! I’m going to teach a creative writing class online called Contemporary Dark Fiction. It’ll be SIXTEEN WEEKS long (I know!) essentially the same length as your average semester.
This is the class I’ve always wanted to teach, taking the best aspects of the classes that I’VE TAKEN online, as well as my MFA, and focusing on books that I love (and think are important) as well as stories I’ve curated. Class sizes are going to be small (a maximum of eight students). Here is a little more information, but if you’d like to sign up, or ask for a syllabus, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each week, you will read one column that I’ve written at LitReactor.com, and we will talk about how to apply that to your own writing. You will also have at least one short story to read each week, which will relate to that week’s column. You will then have a writing assignment for that week that utilizes what you’ve learned from the column and story—anywhere from 200-1,000 words. In addition to that, you will have a section of a novel to read. You will read four books in four months, so that means a book a month. There will also be a weekly Skype call (1.5 hours), where we will talk about that week’s short story, the column and subject, as well as the novel section that you have read. We will have additional ongoing questions and conversations at Facebook (in a private, secret group). At the end of the month, you will turn in an original short story based on whatever inspired you over the course of our studies, up to 4,000 words. I will read, edit, and critique each story, and return it to you with advice on what to do next (keep editing, drop it, polish it up, send it out). At the end of the semester you will get one hour of private Skype time with me to talk about anything you like—your work in class, other projects, the industry in general, markets, query letters, how to get an agent, what to do next, etc.
The New Black (Dark House Press) edited by Richard Thomas (signed, included)
Exigencies (Dark House Press) edited by Richard Thomas (signed, included)
After the People Lights Have Gone Off by Stephen Graham Jones (PDF, included)
The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (PDF, included)
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville $15.12 710 pages 978-0345443021
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer $8.12 208 pages 978-0374104092
Come Closer by Sara Gran $5.98 168 pages 978-1569473283
Bird Box by Josh Malerman $22.15 272 pages 978-0062259653
WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR:
- Advanced students who are looking to take their writing to the next level, as well as beginners who have no fear, and an open mind.
- Authors who write genre fiction and are looking to make their work more literary.
- Literary authors who are looking to add some genre, or supernatural aspects, to their realism.
- Anyone looking to expand their understanding of contemporary dark fiction.
- Authors that are looking to publish in the top magazines, websites, and anthologies.
- Writers who have the time and discipline to read and write every week for the next sixteen weeks.
- Authors who enjoy my writing, and/or the work I’ve published at Dark House Press, and/or the four anthologies I’ve edited.
(There will be some minor overlap with previous classes I’ve taught, but we will get into the novels and anthologies in much greater detail.)
“This class is easily the best thing I’ve ever done for myself as a writer. I’ve grown so much and now have a much clearer vision of the directions I want to keep growing towards.”—Austin J.
“What is ‘Contemporary Dark Fiction?’ It can mean everything from noir to new weird, slipstream, horror and more. In 16 weeks, Richard Thomas takes you through stories about the absurd and grotesque, the horrific and unexpected. You will write over 50,000 words and you will test the boundaries of your own writing voice. It’s an honest-to-god thrill ride and you will enjoy the trip.”—Richard W.
“This is the class I wish I’d had while studying creative writing in college. This is how you teach writers how to produce strong literary fiction. Not by barring them from speculative or genre elements, but by studying stories with those elements at their best, discussing what they do right, and giving clear, specific, and thorough feedback on students’ own attempts at it. What I love most about Richard as a teacher is that he respects and encourages your own tastes and interests rather than trying to foist his preferences onto you. But that doesn’t stop him from challenging you as a writer. When it comes to feedback, he’s simultaneously direct and encouraging, and I feel like this is the first time I’ve really grown as a writer in years. At university, my professors and classmates mostly focused on how my stories sounded, but Richard really gets down to the meat of a story, commenting on structure, character, setting, etc. As for the class as a whole, it was higher quality than pretty much any class I took at university. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. I’d say just the exposure to and discussion of new stories and novels from various realms of dark fiction, alone, made it worth the price. I have so much more to draw from, a clearer understanding of where I fit as a writer, and am excited about where I want to go from here. But on top of that, I’ve written more than I have in years, have met some awesome new writers, got excellent feedback on my writing, and a lot more. So if you’re a writer who wants to improve your craft or figure out where you fit within the wonderful underworld of dark fiction, I highly recommend this class.”—Tara N.
“Yes, the short story reading list is fantastic and enlightening. Yes, the weekly columns will teach you or remind you of incredibly useful aspects of storytelling and technique. And yes, the novels are great, too, and ones you really ought to read. But the most valuable and important part of this class is how much Richard cares. He cares that you become a better writer, he cares that you are exposed to writing that makes you think, and he cares that you pursue and level up when it comes to your passion. There is no dollar amount you can put on that amount of caring, and its impact will last you far beyond this class.” —Becca J.
“One of Richard’s strengths is his commitment to diversity. He offers a safe, honest place to explore the art, and expand your talent no matter where you’re coming from, or your level of expertise. He’s knowledgeable, and approachable. I’d recommend his classes to anyone seeking to learn more about writing, or the genre of contemporary dark fiction.”—Shaw C. (NOTE: You can read this BLOG POST BY SHAW as well.)
“This class really helped me push my limits and learn new ways of writing and approaching different areas of my craft, while helping me to define my focus. The columns inspired me to write better. The content of your courses is fabulous and I always learn a lot.”—Erin C.
“I encourage everyone to take Richard Thomas’ Contemporary Dark Fiction Class. For sixteen weeks he leads a small group through a specially curated program of readings followed by Skype lectures and discussions. He will personally read and comment on your weekly and monthly writings. You will leave the class with a new appreciation of contemporary dark fiction.”—Dona F.
“This class was transformational for my work. It took my literary and genre navigation game to a new level.”—Daniela T.
“Richard has a wealth of knowledge and insight, and this class expanded and deepened my understanding of contemporary dark fiction to an extent that I don’t think I could have achieved on my own. “—Katherine W.
“Imagine your radiator exploding in the middle of a drive in the California desert. You need water, you need a fix, and you have no tools. Take your car to the franchise loaded with dull mechanics collecting the next paycheck? Or take it to the warlock in the dark alley who not just fills your radiator, but communes with your engine? Richard Thomas is that warlock, who not only pulls aside the curtain on some of the magical aspects of writing and gives you an understanding of the craft you can apply immediately, but he loads up your car and brain with a dozen tools that leave your mind spinning and your creativity in high gear. Whether through learning new tools, dissecting and analyzing new techniques, reading his columns, or his providing inspiration through unique story selections, this workshop is nuclear energy for creativity and craft. New writers often feel trepidation or overconfidence when in uncharted waters, and Richard’s lessons constantly surprise and engage, while at the same time encourage chances and risks along the journey. From flash fiction to short stories to novels, from novice to intermediate, Richard’s classes provide a lighthouse in a dark storm for writers who want to up their game and get published. This gave my writing career a nitro boost and an overloaded toolbox for the road ahead.”—Ian V.
“An intensive and deep study of modern dark fiction, including neo-noir, new weird, transgressive and contemporary horror. Highly recommended.”—Matthew B.
“Having taken a number of classes with Richard, I found his manner of teaching allowed for a safe environment, where students could tap into their creative process immediately, whether they were beginners, of an intermediate-level, or accomplished. Richard’s classroom is absolutely refreshing, and worthy of the trust necessary in becoming a successful storyteller. His Contemporary Dark Fiction class offers an MFA-level experience that cannot be found just anywhere outside of university, if at all. He may just be the only writing teacher out there who is this accessible. If you’re looking to become a great storyteller, then please don’t miss out.”—Neil S.
“Want to be a better writer? Want someone to provide shock absorbers to help you glide smoothly over the bumps in the road? Want to have your work read by someone with a discerning eye? Then take one of Richard Thomas’s fiction classes. He is capable, caring, inspiring, and he provides compassionate, in-depth critiques of your work. He can give you the ammunition you need to get to the head of the class.”—Denise C
“This class allowed me to read my favorite sorts of books and immerse myself in the craft of writing while getting valuable feedback from a phenomenal instructor and great colleagues. I highly recommend it. It’s a good deal of work and a lot to read, but the inspiration and understanding that the lessons and stories generate are worth the investment. “—Wendy M.
“Richard Thomas is an excellent teacher and a talented writer. His workshops help fiction writers to polish their craft and explore writing in new genres. Highly recommended.”—Alicia H.
“A great mini MFA class to refresh your writing and help you work on aspects of your craft with other well seasoned writers.”—Dan M.
“I just finished 16 weeks of the best writing class—ever! I’m feeling similar to the way I did in college when I’d finished my semester finals–and the next day there was NOTHING to do. Do you know that feeling? It’s that mixture of satisfaction you’ve accomplished and learned something, pared with sadness the class is over. I’ve written 16 weekly assignments, written four one page papers over the four books we read and analyzed, read and discussed sixteen writing articles, same with sixteen short stories, and critiqued the six other classmates’ work. All this besides reading recommended materials–books, articles, etc. I now have four complete short stories, nine flash fiction pieces, and a tremendous appreciation for everything Richard has taught me. Thank you, Richard.”—Brenda T.
“I would definitely recommend this class to a friend. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn in depth about writing tools and apply them both to novels and short stories. It is very useful even if you are not into dark fiction, like I am. Thanks to the class, I have learned a lot about different kinds of dark fiction. I discovered I even liked some of it. And I would consider writing certain types too. A class is a big success when you discovered something new about yourself.”—Irina S.
“I really can’t recommend Richard Thomas’s classes enough. I took a couple of the shorter ones before building up to Contemporary Dark Fiction, and I’ve learned so much in all of them. There’s pretty much no way taking an RT class won’t make you a better writer. The amount of material and feedback you’ll get is way beyond the dollar value of the course, and Richard is incredibly generous with his time and support. Go for it!”—Matt H.
“I’ve taken four classes with Richard and I’ll take four more and four more after that. He gets the best from his students, because he has true passion for his craft. He knows how to challenge you to challenge yourself. Richard always delivers his guidance in the most positive ways. He’s a motivator, a subject matter expert, and that rarest of beasts—a teacher.”—Ray G.
“I never stop learning from Richard. When I compare my writing throughout working under his direction, I can clearly see a progression of maturity of style and command over my storytelling abilities. The class boosted my love for reading and writing, so now I feel like I must read and write every day.”—Kris P.
“Richard’s courses help me elevate my storytelling. He is a phenomenal teacher, who gives his students the tools to take their writing to the next level. He is generous with his time, promptly responding to emails, forum posts, and assignments. I highly recommend every single one of his course offerings.”—Susan J.
“Richard Thomas’s Contemporary Dark Fiction class was the best investment I’ve made in my writing. The reading assignments opened me up to a whole new world of dark literature. His taste is impeccable and eclectic, giving students a huge pool of examples of what can be done in dark fiction across genres. The assignments were challenging, forcing me to stretch my talent and create work I didn’t know I was capable of. The weekly class meetings and live Q&As with featured authors made the class a fun and engaging, and workshopping each other’s stories was extremely enlightening and helpful, providing a wide array of insights on how to improve my work. Richard Thomas is the kindest and most generous of teachers. He is passionate, knowledgeable, honest, and unbiased. He critiques every piece turned in for the class and is always available to help. His feedback and advice were what I needed to level up as a writer. I’ve produced more short fiction during the four months of this class than I have since I began writing, and with my new knowledge, I feel confident and excited about the quality of work I will be submitting and publishing. I call Richard Thomas the Mr. Miyagi of writing. I will be taking every class he offers!”—Christa W.
$1,200, via Paypal or check. $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. If you pay in full at the time of your deposit, take 10% off ($1,080). If you are a returning student (from any class, anywhere) take an additional 10% off ($960). Otherwise, it’s $100 upon registration, and half of the remaining balance due before class starts, and the remaining half due prior to the start of the second month. Paperback copies of The New Black and Exigencies are included with your fees, as well as PDFs of After the People Lights Have Gone Off and The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers) for short story analysis. You are required to purchase the other four novels (or feel free to check them out at your local library) for extended discussion. Head on over to Storyville Studio now to sign up.
January 1 – April 30, 2017 Session One FULL
May 1 – August 31, 2017 Session Two FULL
September 1 – December 31, 2017 Session Three FULL
January 1 – April 30, 2018 FULL
No summer session
Sept 1 – December 31, 2018 FULL
January 1 – April 30, 2019 Session One FULL
No summer session
September 1 – December 31, 2019 Session Three FULL
January 1 – April 30, 2020 Session One FULL
No summer session
September 1 – December 31, 2020 Session Three BOOKING