Writing the End of the World with Francesca Lia Block

What do we do when we feel the world is ending? We write through it, together.

Your Instructor: Francesca Lia Block, author of the Weetzie Bat Books and The Thorn Necklace

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16

Price: $350

Class Description

What do we do when we feel the world is ending? We write through it, together

In this four-week course and workshop, acclaimed author Francesca Lia Block will teach you the basics of how to write an end-of-the-world story, examining your apocalyptic scenario through your setting, the impact it has on your characters and the themes you want to explore. By the end of class you will have written your own ten-page “End-of-the-World” story by bringing together the elements of a unique scenario, dimensional characters and a strong plot with a relevant theme.

Each week includes a lecture, a writing assignment, to be critiqued by Francesca and your peers, as well as ample opportunity for discussion. All skill levels welcome!

Francesca is the author of over twenty-five acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including the memoir/writing guide The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process and the cult classic Dangerous Angels: Weetzie Bat Books.


What This Class Covers

Week 1 – World Building and Theme

What is your end of the world scenario? How can you build a believable world to create conflict for your protagonist? What is the thematic significance of the scenario you choose and how can you find ways to effectively show rather than didactically tell this?

Week 2 – Character and Plot

Who is your protagonist and how will they navigate this scenario? What is special about them? What is their childhood wound? What do they want? What stands in their way? Who is the antagonist (hint: it shouldn’t just be the end of the world scenario/setting)? What is a stake? Create a brief outline of the story structure. Be sure to include an active hook, a set up where we get to know and care about the character (this can include brief back story), a crisis and an ending image.

Week 3 – Voice

This week we will look at elements of voice including diction, syntax, rhythms, figurative language, verb tense, point of view, grammar and punctuation.

Week 4 – Crafting the Story

For the final week, we will create a finished ten-page story using the elements we have previously studied. 

Suggested Reading:

Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
California by Edan Lepucki
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Goals Of This Class

  • Create an end of the world scenario.
  • Create a sympathetic protagonist and a strong antagonist without relying solely on the setting to provide conflict.
  • Develop themes without sounding didactic.
  • Write a first draft of a ten page story about the end of the world.
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