Writing a Speculative Fiction Novel

w/ Kaaron Warren, J.S. Breukelaar and guests

For emerging fantasy, science fiction and horror novelists ready to dive in and commit to completing a novel, this rigorous three-stage course will guide you through the process of planning and beginning, applying essential skills in writing (and reading) to the specialised art of speculative fiction, as well as establishing a dedicated writing practice toward completion of your project.

Tuesday 23 July 2024 – Saturday 12 April 2025

 $5,900 / $5015 alumni

Using a proven combination of writing exercises targeted toward the speculative writer, as well as group discussions, workshopping, and carefully selected examples drawn from the best new and old writing across all genres, the focus of this course will be on your own work.  Its aim is to enable you to create a substantial body of new writing, while gaining a deeper understanding of both your chosen genre and the storyteller’s art—lessons that you can return to again and again as you move forward in your writing life.

In the second half of the program, you will continue to develop craft and technical skills required to turn a rough draft into a work of art. Regular check-ins with the group and with your Course Directors will keep you on track to stay the distance and finish your manuscript draft throughout the year.

Presented by Australia’s leading independent publishing house, Writing a Speculative Fiction Novel is a targeted program specifically designed for the genre fiction writer. During this time, your Course Directors will provide you with:

  • Regular online classes covering everything from a discussion of genre through to the first conception of an idea to getting words on a page, narrative structure and style.
  • A safe space for genre fiction: We believe that in asking, “What if,” writers can examine reality through a fresh lens, one that asks questions of long-held beliefs and attitudes and suggests alternatives to them. Our course is a safe space for the oldest and most enduring form of storytelling: that which challenges or bends reality—from myth to science fiction, fantasy to fairy tales, magic realism, horror and more.
  • Dedicated guidance from your experienced Course Directors, as well as select industry guests.
  • Personalised individual consultation on your project from your Course Directors.
  • Support to progress your novel through classroom learning, rigorous classroom exercises and workshopping.
  • The ability to connect with fellow speculative fiction writers, discovering the benefits of a close-knit supportive community across Australia.
  • The opportunity to establish valuable industry connections with key insiders from Australian publishing. There is no better way to get on the road to publication than to meet the people who know how to make that happen.

In addition to dedicated course work, students who complete Writing a Speculative Fiction Novel will be invited to submit to the digital exclusive version of the Faber Writing Anthology, a professionally edited and designed showcase of student work, sent out to leading literary agents and publishers. During the course, you will meet with the editor who works on the anthology and have the chance to see an extract of your novel professionally edited.

Writers you'll be working with:

Kaaron Warren

Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019.  She has also been Guest of Honour at Conflux in…

J.S. Breukelaar

J.S. Breukelaar is an Australian-American author living in Sydney. She is the author of three novels, most recently The Bridge, and two collections of short stories, in addition to essays, poems and fiction appearing in numerous publications and several Years Bests. Her work has won or been a finalist for multiple national and international awards,…

Course outline

The course consists of 22 online evening sessions (Tuesdays 6.30pm to 8.30pm), 6 half-day sessions (Saturdays 1.00pm to 4.00pm). Times are either in AEST or AEDT depending on dates. Please convert if you live outside of these time zones. 

2024 dates

Session 1: Tuesday 23 July.
Introduction: Genre and the workshop process.

Session 2: Tuesday 30 July
Beginnings. Let’s get this story started!

Session 3:  Tuesday 6 August
Look who’s talking.

Session 4: Saturday 10 August

Session 5: Tuesday 13 August
Setting: Where worlds collide

Session 6: Tuesday 20 August
Inspiration and how to find it.

Session 7: Tuesday 27 August
Project Review: What’s the Big Idea?

Session 8: Tuesday 3 September
Needful Things:  Establishing your writing practice. Managing your time and routines. Guest author tbd

Session 9: Saturday 7 September

Session 10: Tuesday 10 September
Character: In the before—developing backstory

Session 11: Tuesday 17 September
Plot: staging scenes


Session 12: Tuesday 8 October
Character: Point of View, tense and other special effects.

Session 13: Saturday 12 October

Session 14: Tuesday 15 October
Guest actor.

Session 15: Tuesday 22 October
Project review and questions: Where are you stuck? What is your story about NOW?


2025 dates

Session 16: Tuesday 4 February
Needful Things: Outlines, character cards, software, spreadsheets and more.

Session 17: Saturday 8 February

Session 18: Tuesday 11 February
Flashbacks, flashforwards, prologues, and more

Session 19: Tuesday 18 February
Activating your story through mystery, atmosphere and tension.

Session 20: Tuesday 25 February
Plot: Pace, Beats and More.

Session 21: Tuesday 4 March
Curiosity, fact-checking, and ethics

Session 22: Tuesday 11 March
Editing your work: Guest editor.

Session 23: Saturday 15 March

Session 24: Tuesday 18 March
Ending: Are you there yet?

Session 25: Tuesday 25 March
Needful Things: Synopses, blurbs, titles, and pitches.

Session 26: Tuesday 1 April
A&U editor guest – anthology Q&A.

Session 27: Tuesday 8 April
Literary agent guest

Session 28: Saturday 12 April
Final Workshopping and celebration.

Praise for this course

“The instructors were very supportive and positive and willing to share their real-life experiences.”

“Thank you for devising a course that caters to Speculative Fiction writers.”

“I love the Faber Courses. They are excellent value for money.”

How to Apply

Writing a Speculative Fiction Novel is now booked out. Use the FREE booking button to join the waitlist and we will let you know if a place becomes available or if the course is scheduled to run again.