Another Literary Mashups class about to begin at LitReactor: Sept. 13

The walls are coming down: sign up here.

Thanks to authors like George Saunders (weird ghosts), Jeff Ford (fantastical horror), Jeremy Robert Johnson (biznoirro), Angela Slatter (fairy tales with bite) and Kelly Link, whose stunning fantasy, “Stone Animals,” was included in Best American Short Stories, the lines dividing one set of genre conventions from another, can be blurred to stunning effect—and that’s what today’s publishers and editors are looking for.

The genre barbarians are at the gate, and getting all up in the guts of what used to be called ‘literary fiction,’ and the result is dark fantasy with sf elements, crime fiction with ghosts, vampires with artificial intelligence—the sky is literally the limit, and the old rules no longer apply.

Of that sounds like you—fascinated with Japanese horror yet knee-deep in a western sf novel, or if your crime story draws from Norse mythology, or American folk tales, or your fairy tales features robot romance—consider yourself home. Some of the most in-demand fiction today includes the best elements from multiple genres and styles in one big mosh-pit of surreal Gothic hellraising.

J.S. Breukelaar is the acclaimed author of the futuristic wild west horror novel, American Monster; Aletheia, a noir ghost-story with a sci-fi twist, and the upcoming collection, Collision, which includes dystopian ghost tales, Halloween war stories, alien gender-bending, body-horror romance, and a zombie novella for the AI age.

And, over four weeks of intense writing, plus exposure to some of the ground-breaking genre-benders making waves today—you will discover new techniques to pull the most powerful elements from countless genres—into a story with the kind of heart and soul editors are looking for.

Writing classes in Sydney at Centre for Continuing Education, University of Sydney

Looking forward to this live workshop. Sydney’s f/sf writers: I know you’re there. Come hang out. Be with your people a couple hours a week for six weeks. It’ll be the making of you, promise.

Do you harbor a love of the fantastic, whether science fiction, horror, weird crime, urban fantasy, steampunk, magic realism and more? Are you, like the Australian legend, Terry Dowling an “imagier”, someone who loves to imagine worlds liberated from the constraints of reality? Have you a novel idea that’s out of this world, or a story that’s just a little weird? Maybe Buffy’s your idea of comfort food; or you can you recite The Raven in Elfish, or would kill to be able to write Urban Fantasy like Seanan McGuire? Is that climate change fiction novel burning a hole in your Scrivener? If so, you’re in good company. Thanks to Pulitzer Prize winners like George Saunders and Margaret Atwood, epic fantasists like Neal Stephenson, Brandon Sanderson, and George RR Martin, or the quietly off-kilter Kelly Link and our very own Margo Lanagan, the walls between genre and literary fiction have come down and there has never been a better time to write, read or publish stories that are out of this world.

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Writing the Weird starts tomorrow

Couple of places left to learn how writing weird fiction is done, really, how writing better fiction is possible, honestly. Meet like-minded writers, interstitial fools and visionaries whose gaze is fixed not wholly on the futur/istic, nor entirely on the horror/ific, or the fantastical but which falls somewhere between those cracks. Where the wild things are. JS Breukelaar, LitReactor, Writing the Weird.

Novel Writing Workshop @107 Projects

JSBreukelaar novel writing workshopVery exciting to be teaching a novel writing workshop at 107 Projects, Redfern. 107 Projects is an inner city parking garage transformed into a creative candy land by a small group of people dedicated to art, words, performance, community and the sustainable soul… What they have done, are doing, within this space is incredible, honored to be a very small part of it.

Countdown to Weirdness

By way of counting-down, I’m going to post a different image of weirdness every few days until blast off. Here cover art from Der Orchideengarten, arguably the world first fantasy mag launched in 1919, and which ran for 51 issues until 1921.
01-Der-Orchideengarten--1919--German-magazine-cover_900

Creative Writing Essentials Wraps.

Eight weeks ago I was thrown into the deep end of a course I’d never taught before (not exactly) in a community college I’d never been to, with seven students I didn’t know. We met every Wednesday night between 6 and 8 pm, after work, hungry and tired, in an empty boardroom somewhere in the city. After the last class we all went out for farewell drinks. How many writers does it take to find a quiet bar on game night? State of Origin. North against South. Us v Them. Blue v Maroon.

Pale blue jerseys and surly barkeeps everywhere. The game projected on the sides of buildings, on high-def screens large and small. No cabs in sight. The restaurants empty. Everyone at home or at the pub, and no talking unless you’re screaming or buying a drink, or you want a punch to the throat. Except there we are in our sweaty power-suits and teacher’s drag, stories in our heads and words the only game in town.State of Origin 2014

There were five of us left. Two drop-outs (my lost American went back to LA; my Indian dreamer caught up in home and work duties), and the scruffy poet a no show. We missed him. His absurdist ramblings with a healthy disrespect for tense and time and which left an indelible image burned on the soul (a vast vaporous train station where the train never comes, a bus bisecting a desert path to nowhere). So it was just us. We found an upstairs room in a big noisy bar and got to know each other a little better. All but one of us comes from somewhere else.

Between them one publishable story, the beginning chapters of a novel and a travel memoir, and from the Ukrainian auto-didact, a vivid take on a mother-son encounter. Each with a new path carved from their hearts to their eyes and their ears and their tongues. Their fingertips telling them that the world is now a different place.

And the school offered me two more classes. Go the Blues!