Writing Science Fiction
Write an exciting story that departs from reality as we know it, set in a compelling world that's all yours – guided by award-winning author Adam Roberts.
Jun 16 2022 - Jul 28 2022
Develop your exciting idea
Hosted on our bespoke learning platform
+ £145 for a 500-word report
To write a good science fiction novel, you need to do all the things that a ‘mainstream’ writer has to do. But you also need to build your story around one or more cool and eloquent science fiction ideas – some technology or alien life or social structure not found in the real world. Join award-winning author Adam Roberts – ‘Sci-Fi’s most outrageous experimentalist’ (The Times) – for a six-week voyage into the genre with the greatest imaginative potential and capacity. Learn how to develop your novum (‘new thing’), build a compelling world, people it with extraordinary characters, and write a story that transports your readers to somewhere that’s entirely yours.
Adam Roberts’ teaching material is distilled from his life-long love of science fiction – as writer, reader and fan; from his keen understanding of its inner workings, his deep knowledge of how the genre developed and his infectious enthusiasm for today’s SF and its power to excite your imagination. Whether you’re mapping out a dystopian trilogy, orchestrating an epic space opera, putting your own twist on the metaverse, or dreaming up the next stage of human evolution, this is the course for you.
In addition to the specially filmed teaching videos, detailed notes, and resources, Adam will set weekly writing tasks that will help you to practise the skills you’re learning as you work on your SF novel. These range from fleshing out your new world and portraying futuristic concepts with style to structuring your narrative and learning how to make your story exciting to readers. All students will receive a short piece of written feedback on one writing task from an expert editor during the course.
Adam’s material is rich, accessible, and full of useful guidance that will help you tease out your innovative idea into a compelling plot and bring your brave new world out onto the page. By the end of your course, you should have written at least a 3,000-word opening and have a good idea of where the story is heading. This course will be equally helpful to novice writers and to those with lots of experience who want to delve into the realm of SF writing.
Adam Roberts, Author
Adam Roberts is a science fiction writer, and Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature and Culture at Royal Holloway University of London. He has published 23 novels, most recently Purgatory Mount (Gollancz 2021; shortlisted for the Prometheus Award) and The This (Gollancz 2022), as well as dozens of short stories and many critical and non-fiction books, on SF and other topics – his It's The End of the World, But What Are We Really Afraid Of? (Elliot & Thompson 2019) won the 2020 BSFA Award for non-fiction. He wrote a History of Science Fiction (Palgrave 2nd edition 2016) and H G Wells: a Literary Life (Palgrave 2018) and he is a Vice-President of the H G Wells Society. He is a FRSL, and is currently chair of judges for the 2022 Orwell Prize for Fiction.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
Weekly Teaching Modules
We give you the tools to write immersive SF
Work through six weekly modules comprising teaching videos, substantial notes and tasks by Adam Roberts. Topics include worldbuilding, narrative structure -and navigating beloved tropes of the genre while avoiding clichés.
Dedicated Teaching Videos
Award-winning author Adam Roberts guides you through the course
Watch specially filmed, informative teaching videos presented by Adam Roberts and feel inspired to bring your speculative story to the page.
Resources & Notes
Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials which are yours to keep
You’ll get access to detailed notes, reading lists and resources, including examples from Adam's own work.
The hub of our online courses – find your writing community
Upload your completed tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the weekly topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.
Tailor-made tasks help you put the lessons into practice
Work your way through Adam’s weekly tasks on a range of topics, including creating conflict, playing with prose and layering your characters.
Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor
Sharpen your editorial eye through offering comment on other students’ work and get their feedback on yours. An expert CBC editor will give brief written comments on several of the students’ practical assignments each week, with all students receiving feedback on a task at some stage of the course.
You can follow the course at your own pace – but to get the best out of the course, we suggest you allow 3-4 hours per week to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum. We encourage all students to offer positive, constructive feedback to each other in the forum as the course progresses.
It’s also important to be working on your SF novel throughout the six weeks. At the end of the course, we invite students to share the opening 3,000 words plus a one-page synopsis (written with the help of the course) to give an overview of the story. This is not a submission to the agency but an opportunity to get peer feedback.
All students will be given the option to purchase feedback on their final task from a CBC editor (a published author with relevant teaching/editorial experience).
- CBC report: For an additional fee of £145, you can obtain a detailed 500-word report on your work (of up to 3,000 words) from one of our editors.
- CBC report + tutorial: For an additional fee of £240, you can obtain a 500-word report from one of our editors and have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with them to discuss your work.
Each week students will gain access to a new module packed with practical advice on writing science fiction. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all six teaching modules, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.
The Fundamentals of Science Fiction
Find out the essentials of Hard and Soft SF, and discover the Sense of Wonder that defines the genre.
Novum-Wrangling and Worldbuilding
Develop your ‘new thing’, turn it into a story and learn how to build your fictional world without infodumping.
Scenes, acts, arcs and trilogies. Learn how to structure your novel and capture your reader’s imagination.
Style in SF
How to avoid SF cliché and give your prose style and dialogue some elegance and zing.
SF characters can be so much more than characters in conventional novels. Find out how.
What comes next?
Getting all the way to the end of your novel – and beyond. Advice on your next steps.