Sufficiently Advanced Magic Class

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
– Clarke’s Third Law

We’re opening hailing frequencies, cracking open our grimoires, firing up our flux capacitors, and setting off for adventure without so much as a handkerchief — and you can come too!

Over the course of four lectures, Alastair will introduce you to speculative fiction, explain how and why we tell science fiction and fantasy stories, give a masterclass in compelling worldbuilding, and help you take your simple idea and turn it into a full novel outline. We’ll cover character, conflict, structure and pacing; we’ll look at theme, symbolism and the importance of asking, “What if…?”. We’ll discuss the suspension of disbelief and Tolkien’s notion of secondary creation; we’ll look at how stories work in Westeros, within the frontiers of the United Federation of Planets, through the Dark Portal on Azeroth — and right here on Earth.

Every lecture, originally recorded in October 2014, is available in video and audio formats, and comes with a PDF of the lecture notes. After each lecture, there’s an extra audio Q&A session, in which Alastair addressed various questions arising from the live lecture. That’s over six hours of original content, exclusive to StoryWonk!

  • Lecture One
    Understanding the genre, asking big questions, character and consistency
  • Q&A One
  • Lecture Two
    Building your conflict, creating your cast, worldbuilding
  • Q&A Two
  • Lecture Three
    Structure, pacing and craft; making theme work for you
  • Q&A Three
  • Lecture Four
    The drafting process, building momentum, looking forward to revision
  • Q&A Four

In each class, Alastair sets an assignment for you to complete before moving onward. Obviously, we can’t offer direct feedback on these assignments, but they offer a clear, step-by-step process for developing and outlining your story:

  • After lecture one, you’ll develop an idea.
  • After lecture two, you’ll create your cast and world.
  • After lecture three, you’ll structure your story.
  • After lecture four, you’ll polish your outline, and get ready to write!

The Sufficiently Advanced Magic class is everything you need to understand and write compelling and accessible science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal romance, and many more stories besides!

Sufficiently Advanced Magic: Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy