Your favorite writers and poets of speculative literature (including science fiction, fantasy, and horror) use narrative techniques like persona narrators, point of view, and tone as well as worldbuilding to craft fantastic and imaginative worlds that parallel, reflect, and critique our own real world. Imagining utopias, dystopias, dinosaurs, aliens, monsters, magical beings and systems, and sentient cities and starships to speculate about past and future possibilities can inspire us to transform our present for the better.

This six-week workshop is open to new and returning Writers Studio students at all levels who are interested in writing speculative fiction and poetry. Every week, students look at narrative techniques used in classic and contemporary short stories, novels, and poems by writers and poets of speculative literature. Students then write a two-page exercise based on the week’s model. During a two-hour, live Google Meet session, students present their work and receive feedback from their fellow classmates and from the teacher. The last fifteen minutes of the class are spent reading and discussing the following week’s model, using the Writers Studio method of analyzing persona and narrative techniques. The Google Meet sessions are not recorded.

"Every week, I presented a new story. Finally something did click, the very thing that’s their specialty at The Writers Studio, emotional content. Before, my work was dead. When I brought in my breakthrough story, I felt I was carrying a weird animal in my bag. It was the first story I sold."

Jennifer Egan, former Writers Studio student, Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction


Writers Studio Teacher

Richard Leis

Richard Leis (he/him) spends much of his workday on Mars, with HiRISE, a team at the University of Arizona with a camera in orbit around the Red Planet. In the evenings and on weekends, he’s back on Earth, in Beaverton, Oregon, teaching and attending online workshops at The Writers Studio, writing and reading, or doing yard work. Writer of the dark, the difficult, and the inexplicable, Richard’s speculative stories have been published in The Molotov Cocktail and anthologies from Crone Girls Press and House of Zolo. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype, The Laurel Review, Manzano Mountain Review, Star*Line, Eye to the Telescope, and the Adult Children anthology from Wising Up Press. Several of his poems and stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2018 and 2021, Richard was a finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards. Learn more at

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