The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present “How to Make Any Fiction Subgenre Your Own,” a workshop led by Alex Difrancesco on June 14, 2023, from 6-7:30 PM. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at tiny.utk.edu/sundress (password: safta).
This workshop puts forth a simple formula for genre-hopping–or for creating “speculative fiction” that takes elements of genres including sci-fi, horror, literary, and others. The formula will be put forth in the lecture section, expound upon the research of tropes and ways to both take them literally and push back on them. Examples will be used from literature, including Octavia Butler’s playing with the “grandfather paradox” in time travel literature in Kindred (the trope had, until that novel, dictated that you cannot go back in time and kill your grandfather because you would cease to exist, and Butler’s take was “Well, what if your grandfather was a slave owner who raped your grandmother, his slave?” The outcome, as we know, is a brilliant book).
We will discuss how to research tropes, choose the ones that benefit the stories we wish to tell, push back on ones that leave our particular demographics out, or are often used against us in stereotypical ways. We will discuss “literary fiction” not as a default or desired genre, but as one of many genres that we should also feel free to research and use to our own personal ends in creating the stories we want. After discussing lists of potential tropes for each genre, students, during the interactive writing section, will be encouraged to research deeper for ones that resonate with the story THEY want to tell. After writing, we will share both our research and what came out of it in terms of writing.
If possible, please try to read the following stories before the workshop:
- “The L7 Gene: Surprise! Mom Cloned You—Sort of.” by Jeanne Thornton
- “Aye, and Gomorrah” by Samuel Delaney
Alex DiFrancesco is the author of Psychopomps, All City, and Transmutation. Their work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Tin House, and more. Their novel All City was the first book by a transgender writer to be a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards in 2020, and they are a recipient of the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Award for 2022.
While there is no fee to participate in this workshop, those who are able and appreciative may make donations directly to Alex Difrancesco via cash app $AlexDiF or Venmo is @alex-difrancesco.
This workshop is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Find out about the important work they do here.