Writing Speculative Fiction at the Yale-NUS Writing Centre

Thank you to the INK: Literary Collective of the #Yale-NUS college for inviting me to lead a generative Speculative Fiction workshop last Sunday as part of the Words In Progress: Yale-NUS Manuscript Intensive Weekend 2019. I hope I was able to give all the participants a different perspective on fantastical fiction and how they could use its tropes and techniques to put a new spin on their writing.

The day before that (Saturday) I had joined Singapore Literature Prize Winner Melissa De Silva in doing a critical review of two of the manuscripts submitted to INK.  All in all it was a weekend well spent at the Yale-NUS Writing Centre.

Ad Aspera Per Verba: Writing Your First Science Fiction Story

I had great fun last Saturday (2 March) sharing my writing process with class of mostly Junior College and University kids. This lecture/workshop was part of the Singapore Book Council’s Open: Singapore Young Writers Lab series, a year-round program consisting of talks, workshops and mentorships for writers between the ages of 13 and 25. .

The three-hour session was divided into a lecture portion on the history, importance and types of Science Fiction, an interactive session on story-writing basics, then a workshop where the students would produce a one to three sentence story or word-clump*.  The best two of which would win prizes. Interestingly the oldest and the youngest of the participants won first and second prize respectively.

SBC Workshop - 1

Here was my course outline:

1.What is Science Fiction?

2. Developing Science Fiction Ideas

3.Building A Story Structure –

  • Basic Plot Cheat Sheet
  • Character Building
  • Setting, Viewpoints and Tense
  • Creating a Vibrant Narrative Voice

4. Getting Published

  • Marketing your work
  • Can you make money from SF Fiction?

5. Workshop Proper: Writing, Editing and Sharing (One Hour)

6. Q&A

Thank you again to the Singapore Book Council (SBC) for inviting me. Please check out the rest of the Open: Singapore Young Writers Lab. Thank you also to everyone who took time from their Saturday afternoon to participate in our very lively session.

*n.b. This workshop was meant to introduce my writing process for Science Fiction rather than to produce a full short story. The goal was to teach participants how to develop an idea into a concrete flash fiction piece.