When I saw that the theme for this year’s WOWFEST was Science Fiction, I knew I had to get involved. There are a lot of fascinating events and workshops on this May (I’m particularly looking forward to A History of SF in Ten Objects, The Changing Face of Girls’ Comics and Afrofuturism), and I’m excited to be part of Continuing Education’s first collaboration with WOWFEST, Writing the World. WOWFEST’s programme provides the perfect opportunity to showcase the work of CE students, and to prompt us all to create some fantastic new writing.
Another world waits behind the pages of any book, but science fiction shows us a world with unexpected rules, with its own assumptions and taboos, its own geography and biology and society, just different enough from ours to show us something new about ourselves, or to set the familiar in a new light. What I want to add to WOWFEST is a day for writers to think about how the best SF writers build their worlds, the processes that go into those careful constructions, and a chance to experiment with those processes and see what emerges.
My own writing centres on collaborations and interactions online, using social media to turn readers into co-writers, influencing and adding to my fictional worlds. I want to bring that process into the classroom, and create a collaborative science fiction world together, from the ground up, in one day of readings, discussions and workshop exercises. Then comes the really fun part: just how stable will our world be? Will we all see it the same way? What will happen when we begin to set stories on it, to take little pieces of it for ourselves and develop them in our own directions? After the Writing the World CE Saturday, the details of the world we’ve created will go online, onto a website that will showcase the stories we set there, each adding new facets, settings and characters.
This won’t be quite like my other classes for Continuing Education. There will still be reading and discussion and workshops, but I don’t know what the conclusions or outcomes will be. I don’t know what the world we create will be like, who will inhabit it or what kind of stories will take place there. It will be as much of a surprise for me as for you. I’m looking forward to exploring our planet’s landscapes, meeting the people who live there, discovering how they live and what they call their home. I hope you’ll help me find out.
Writing the World will be held at 126 Mount Pleasant on 23rd April from 10am to 4pm. Lunch is included in the £15 fee. To book your place click here http://goo.gl/PLMXpQ
During May, there will be two free follow-up sessions to revisit the world, to see how the stories have changed and developed it, and to decide where to take it next.
Emma Segar teaches CE courses in Writing Novels and Short Stories and Writing for Children. She has recently completed a PhD in Blog Fiction.