Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
4.4 (248 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,071 students enrolled

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Turn your idea into a published novel or screenplay in one of today's hottest genres.
4.4 (248 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,071 students enrolled
Last updated 1/2019
English [Auto], Indonesian [Auto], 3 more
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Current price: $116.99 Original price: $194.99 Discount: 40% off
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This course includes
  • 7.5 hours on-demand video
  • 27 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn all about the most popular science fiction and fantasy genres.
  • Explore plot techniques for space travel, time travel, psy power, magic and more.
  • Discover the easy way to structure your character's story.
  • Learn techniques that will bring your writing to life.
  • Publish your novel using these simple steps.
  • Brainstorm marketing and sales techniques that will make you a bestseller!
  • Open to all aspiring writers, young or old, experienced or just getting started

In this lively and fun course, author and mentor Steve Alcorn and screenwriter Dani Alcorn, show you how to achieve success. During the past decades they've helped more than 30,000 aspiring writers structure their stories, and many are now in print. You can be next!

Learn Techniques for Creating Great Science Fiction and Fantasy

Will you use space travel, time travel or psy powers in your story? If so, you need to understand the choices, limitations, costs and believability of each of these technologies and abilities.

Explore all the different types of magic, its uses and limitations. You'll be amazed at all the different types of magic powers, and how they interact. Then discover how the cost of magic is a vital ingredient in any fantasy story. 

Create New Worlds and New Civilizations

When you create a new world, you need to pay attention to every element, from geology to weather, astronomy to biology. We'll show you how to keep track of each topic, and make sure they interrelate logically. 

We break it down so you CAN write your novel or screenplay

This fascinating workshop teaches you how to write your story in six simple steps. We break it down so YOU can do it successfully.

Write Your Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel or Screenplay in 6 Simple Steps

This fascinating workshop teaches you how to write your story in six simple steps. We break it down so YOU can do it successfully. You will learn the ins-and-outs of not just the writing craft but the business, too. 

Step 1: You'll Learn What Makes Great Science Fiction and Fantasy

Step 2: You'll Create Your own World

Step 3: Structure Your Story

Step 4: You'll Create Your Manuscript

Step 5: You'll Learn to Polish your Manuscript

Step 6: You'll Discover how to actually SELL Your Manuscript

Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy gives you lifetime access to 50 info-packed video lectures, and over seven solid hours of knowledgeable instruction. You also become one in a community, all working hard to achieve the same goal: to write a novel and see it published. And you can browse and participate in all the discussions!

Who this course is for:
  • First time authors
  • Published authors looking for fresh ideas
  • Authors with unfinished or unpolished manuscripts
Course content
Expand all 50 lectures 07:23:40
+ Introducing Science Fiction and Fantasy
11 lectures 01:07:12

Welcome to the course! In this lesson, we'll introduce ourselves and explain the structure of the class.

Preview 04:08

This lesson covers the similarities and differences between Science Fiction and Fantasy so you can figure out where your idea fits in.

Preview 02:50

This lesson covers the numerous reasons to write science fiction or fantasy.

Preview 02:50

We'll give you a brief overview of the history of fantasy to help you understand the genre's roots.

Fantasy Origins

We'll give you a quick overview of the history of science fiction to explain where it started.

Science Fiction Origins

We cover some of our favorite fantasy authors and our favorite examples of their work to give you sources of inspiration.

Fantasy Authors

We go over some of our favorite science fiction authors and great examples of their work to provide a source of inspiration.

Science Fiction Authors

We talk about the elements that make Science Fiction and Fantasy leap off the page.

What Makes Great Science Fiction and Fantasy?

Fantasy is a broad genre. We'll break it down into the most common sub-genres and explain what makes them unique.

Fantasy Genres

In this lesson we discuss the sub-genres of Science Fiction and what makes them unique.

Science Fiction Genres

This lesson focuses on Science Fiction and Fantasy targeted at young adults, a best-selling genre. 

Young Adult and Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy
+ World Building
6 lectures 01:30:31

Plot and Story are two very different things. This lesson explains why. It's perhaps the most important topic of the entire course.

Plot vs. Story

This lesson discusses realistic space travel and what to consider if you're using it in your story.

Space Travel

Time travel is tricky business. What rules will you need to establish to make sense in your world?

Time Travel

In this lesson, we discuss the classic varieties of telepathy.

Psy Powers

Magic must have a cost. If you're considering incorporating it into your world, this lesson discusses the ground rules you'll need to include to make it work.


To make alien planets and alternate Earths feel real, they must be thoughtfully constructed. This lesson will give you the tools you need to think through when inventing new planets or civilizations. 

World Building
+ Story Structure
10 lectures 01:48:50

This lesson discusses the important attributes you'll need to think about when creating any character. The supplemental material is also great for brainstorming vibrant, three dimensional characters.

Character Building

Your Protagonist is your main character, and the most important person in your manuscript. Learn how to create a compelling protagonist in this lesson. 

Your Protagonist

Your antagonist (the bad guy) has a special relationship to your protagonist. This lesson shows you how to create an antagonist who can act as the perfect dramatic foil for your protagonist.

Your Antagonist

Your manuscript is populated by many characters. Here's how to create them using a "character pyramid."

Other Characters

Meet the four dramatic elements on which all fiction is based.

Dramatic Elements

Three Act Structure is the key to almost all successful fiction. We make it easy to create your novel or screenplay, by breaking the three acts up into nine checkpoints.

Story Structure

Let's look at the Act 1 checkpoints in detail: Hook, Backstory and Trigger.

Act 1

Act 2 features the plot-oriented Struggle, bookended by two emotional moments, the Crisis and Epiphany.

Act 2

In Act 3 your protagonist makes a Plan that gets you to the Climax, and then you wrap things up in the Ending.

Act 3

Scene and Sequel makes your writing flow logically and strike with maximum impact.

Scene and Sequel
+ The Writing Process
13 lectures 01:49:13

Conflict is was drives action. In this lesson, you'll learn techniques for creating compelling conflict.


The clock on the bomb ticked down from 3... 2... Don't you want to find out what happens next? You'll learn valuable techniques for creating suspense that will keep readers turning pages and viewers' eyes glued to the screen. 


An element of mystery can keep readers interested in all genres of Science Fiction or Fantasy.


Pacing is a vital part of any manuscript. If things move too fast, your audience won't be able to follow the plot. If things move too slow, they'll get bored. This lesson shows you techniques for controlling the pace of your manuscript to keep your audience hooked.


Experiment with Omniscient, Third Person Limited and First Person viewpoints, and decide which one works best for you.


This lecture helps you get a handle on the challenging topic of Voice.


This lecture shows you the difference between past and present tense, and explores the benefits and pitfalls of switching between them.


Setting is especially important in Science Fiction and Fantasy since the world may be totally foreign to readers.


Great dialogue makes your work more interesting and more readable. This lesson shows you how.


Make your story's beginning and ending work together, and resonate with your readers using these powerful techniques.

Beginnings and Endings

Writing Big means giving your work maximum impact. We'll share a variety of techniques that enable you to amplify your fiction.

Writing Big

Polished prose is the difference between amateur and professional writing. This lesson shows you how to polish yours.

Writing Well

This handy checklist helps you make sure your manuscript is ready for publication.

Manuscript Evaluation
+ Analyzing Great Science Fiction and Fantasy
4 lectures 24:51

In this lesson, we'll discuss books by: Isaac Asimov and Connie Willis

Analyzing Great Science Fiction and Fantasy - Time Travel

In this lesson, we'll discuss books by: Rand and Robin Miller, Philip Pullman, and Stephen R. Donaldson  

Analyzing Great Science Fiction and Fantasy - Multiple Worlds

In this lesson, we'll discuss books by: Piers Anthony and Scott Westerfeld

Analyzing Great Science Fiction and Fantasy - Alternate Realities

In this lesson, we'll discuss books by Margaret Atwood and Blade Runner, the famous adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Analyzing Great Science Fiction and Fantasy - The Future
+ Getting Published
6 lectures 43:03
Marketing Collateral

This lesson walks you through what you need and the steps you'll follow if you decide to pursue traditional publishing. 

Traditional Publishing

This lesson discusses the benefits of self-publishing and how to get your words in print and into your reader's hands.


They say not to judge a book by its cover, but books are sold by their covers. The lesson looks at how different covers appeal to different markets, and will give you some ideas for your own work's cover.

Cover Art

Now that your book is published, here's how to market it to maximize sales.


Here are some great resources for continuing your exploration of Science Fiction and Fantasy!

Preview 01:34