I’m Teaching a New Online Creative Writing Class, 16 Weeks Long, About Contemporary Dark Fiction

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ONE SPOT LEFT FOR JANUARY 2018. WE ARE ALSO TAKING STUDENTS FOR MAY AND SEPTEMBER 2018.

Hello everyone! I’m going to teach a new 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 richardgamut@gmail.com.

OVERVIEW:

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.

BOOKS: (required)

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
All the Beautiful Sinners by Stephen Graham Jones $23.95 352 pages 978-1590710081
Bird Box by Josh Malerman $22.15 272 pages 978-0062259653

WHO IS THIS CLASS FOR:

  1. 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.
  2. Authors who write genre fiction and are looking to make their work more literary.
  3. Literary authors who are looking to add some genre, or supernatural aspects, to their realism.
  4. Anyone looking to expand their understanding of contemporary dark fiction.
  5. Authors that are looking to publish in the top magazines, websites, and anthologies.
  6. Writers who have the time and discipline to read and write every week for the next sixteen weeks.
  7. 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.)

TESTIMONIALS

“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.

“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

COST/FINANCING:

$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.

SESSIONS:

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
May 1 – August 31, 2018 Session Two OPEN

Drop me a note at richardgamut@gmail.com to register, or if you have any questions. Thanks!

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I’m Teaching Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror & Beyond—ONLINE

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I’m teaching a six-week class, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror & Beyond, over at Story Studio Chicago (online) this October. Come join the fun. Here’s more information:

Description of Class

If you love the incredible, futuristic, supernatural, and fantastical—this is the class for you.

Whether you’re working on a project or just starting out, this six-week online course is perfect for writers who want to explore science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related sub-genres such as magical realism, new weird, and surrealism. We’ll discuss the conventions of these genres and explore the boundaries between them—and what happens when you cross them.

Students will explore craft elements such as character and setting, and how they operate in stories that challenge the imagination. You’ll practice creating alternate realities that may have a hint of magic, explore a dystopia or utopia, or even build an entirely new world.

We’ll read and study classic and contemporary examples by authors in various genres to learn what works, and explore the publishing world of speculative markets such as Cemetery Dance, Tor.com, Nightmare, Shimmer, F&SF, and Clarkesworld.

The class is perfect for writers who are curious about these genres, or writers who are already familiar with them and want to stretch the boundaries of their stories. Students will leave the class with new story starts and scenes, and share their work for feedback from the instructor and fellow writers.

What to Expect

Students can expect to spend two to three hours per week writing and interacting with classmates and the instructor. New lessons become available each Tuesday but can be completed anytime during the week.

This work will be supported by:

  • a weekly video from the instructor introducing the topic
  • an interactive lesson, moderated by the instructor
  • new exercises and materials available every week
  • full participation from every student to give and get feedback
  • email for one-to-one interaction with the instructor

Students will begin the week with a lesson containing reading and discussion materials, along with specific exercises to reinforce craft elements. No long lectures or text. Just the important points and fun, imaginative exercises.

During the week, students will post their work and comment on the work of the other participants. The instructor will also provide feedback on the exercises.

The only requirement is a reliable internet connection!

Back from UC-Riverside. What a blast.

So I just got back from being a visiting author at UC-Riverside, which is held at a fantastic resort in Palm Springs.

Tod Goldberg runs this program, and he does a great job with this low-res MFA—supporting his teachers, understanding his students, and being contemporary and current with his approach to fiction. He also made me laugh a lot, the guy is hilarious—I can’t remember having so much fun at an MFA program before. His program is very open to genre fiction, as well as literary fiction, and it was refreshing in so many ways. My lecture was about dark fiction, and how I feel we’re in a bit of a golden age for tragic storytelling. I was very happy to see a lot of nodding heads at my talk, the students well-read, getting all of my references, eager to read more, and apply their own voice to various genres.

I also had a great time hanging with my old friend Stephen Graham Jones. If you aren’t reading him, you are really missing out of one of the most interesting, innovative and powerful voices in fiction today. I’ve known Stephen for about nine years. I’ve taken classes he has taught, he blurbed my first book, I published a story of his in The New Black, as well as his latest collection, After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press) which was nominated for both a Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award, and he has written the introduction to my next short story collection, Tribulations, out in 2016. It’s funny to see how much we have in common, from our youth, to our influences, to our processes. Also, I figure if I just sit next to him often enough, I should evolve through osmosis alone.

I also got to see a lot of old friends such as Jason Metz (published a story of his in Exigencies), Xach Fromson, Gina Frangello, and Rob Roberge, which was great, and meet other authors I really enjoy, such as David Ulin and Tara Ison.

If you are looking for a contemporary low-res MFA program that is open-minded, innovative, and a lot of fun, apply—this is a unique place, that is doing amazing work. I hope to return soon.