Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Precepted by Sparrow Alden

Current and Upcoming Modules

Creative Writing: Workshop — February 2023

Creative Writing: Workshop — March 2023

All Modules

Creative Writing: Long Project Preparation

Well-prepared writers enjoy more completion success! We will build worlds, plan character arcs, and try to define the bones of our stories during a month of glorious sub-creation! When you declare your intentions to the group, that act of bravery alone adds momentum to your writing efforts after the month is over. (This Module is great preparation before National Novel Writing Month)

Creative Writing: One Month Story

We will walk through a complete project from pre-writing through writing, revising, editing, (revising, revising, revising), proofreading, and talking about publication options. Are you interested in finally getting down that memoir of your childhood? making a storybook for your grands? turning that daydream into a novelette? This adventure is for you! Whether your story is a draft, an outline, or a daydream, your project is welcome here in a place where we are aiming to finish it!

Creative Writing: Oral Storytelling

Storytelling might just be our oldest art, crossing time, cultures, and continents. Crafting a story suitable for telling demands a heightened awareness of audience, medium, and meaning. Telling a story requires fluidity in a register both intimate and stylized. We'll learn, create, and tell our short tales in a month of cooperative fun and work. We will use a collaborative and encouraging mode of feedback. You will end the month with two or three new stories to revise and practice and a toolkit for exploring this art.

Creative Writing: Science Fiction Workshop

Tesseract or Wormhole? Generation ship or time-slip? Half of our class meetings are peer-review sessions, half are discussions about the biggest what-ifs of them all. How do we write hard science, soft science, magical tech, and the huge societal changes which accompany galactic mindset? We'll explore flash-fiction, epistolary writing, and other familiar and unfamiliar forms to support great characters on amazing adventures.

Creative Writing: Stories in the Darkness

Join the amazing Jennie Starstuff: NASA Solar System Ambassador with Sparrow F. Alden to talk about the coolest, trippiest space physics to inspire our fiction! We’ll learn stuff on one day to use as writing prompts for peer-review on the second day. The plan is to explore star lore and archaeoastronomy; gravity and relativity (things get really weird); stars and cosmic life cycles; and life in the cosmos (alien contact? Heck, yes!). What about the amazing spaces between? We will have wonderful sonifications (sound pictures) of some of the most wonder-filled, hard to believe astro science out there—just imagine the stories we’ll create!

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive

Write in the New Year!

On December 30th and 31st and January 1st, we're going to celebrate creativity by attempting a complete short story! Our format will include nine SPACE class sessions, WriterSpace focus time in excellent company, Bandersnatch Breakout room for talking about our craft, peer feedback through google doc commenting and breakout room conversations, and an enthusiastic ringing in of the new year. So sharpen your quills, line up the inkpots, make a BIG casserole to last the weekend.

Here's the plan:
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Friday the 30th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace
8p - class session
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Saturday the 31st from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - class session
10a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
11a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
12noon - class session
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Saturday the 31st from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
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Saturday the 31st from 3:00 PM to 9:05 PM Eastern:
3p - class session
4p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
5p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
8p - class session
9p - ringing in the new year in Grytviken, King Edward Point, Sandwich Island (time zone UTC-2)
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Sunday, the 1st from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - class session
2p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
3p - class session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to create a completed short work in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with a complete first draft of your story. What a way to begin 2023!

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive (Dec 2022)

Write in the New Year!

On December 30th and 31st and January 1st, we're going to celebrate creativity by attempting a complete short story! Our format will include nine SPACE class sessions, WriterSpace focus time in excellent company, Bandersnatch Breakout room for talking about our craft, peer feedback through google doc commenting and breakout room conversations, and an enthusiastic ringing in of the new year. So sharpen your quills, line up the inkpots, make a BIG casserole to last the weekend.

Here's the plan:
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Friday the 30th from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace
8p - class session
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Saturday the 31st from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Eastern
9a - class session
10a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
11a - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
12noon - class session
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Saturday the 31st from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern:
Nap time.
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Saturday the 31st from 3:00 PM to 9:05 PM Eastern:
3p - class session
4p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
5p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
6p - class session
7p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
8p - class session
9p - ringing in the new year in Grytviken, King Edward Point, Sandwich Island (time zone UTC-2)
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
Sunday, the 1st from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Eastern
1p - class session
2p - WriterSpace, Bandersnatch, & peer review
3p - class session & wrap up at 4p.
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Our goal is to create a completed short work in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.

You are going to end this amazing experience with a complete first draft of your story. What a way to begin 2023!

Creative Writing: Workshop

We will meet to blend learning, discussion, and playing games with reading, appreciating, and commenting on one another’s work as it is submitted for peer review. Writers are encouraged—but never required—to submit new pieces in any state of draftiness or readiness up to 2,000 words each week for peer reading and feedback. Our Collaborative Feedback method, developed here at Signum University, asks us comment at the author's comfort level through a structured reader (not editor) response. We gather to encourage the story that the author wants to tell. Our philosophy of kindness first might just turn around your previous experience of writing groups.

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Note: A seat has been reserved in this module for a writer of traditionally marginalized identity. There is no form; simply write to [email protected] to identify yourself as someone who qualifies for and wishes to use this space in the writing group.
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Creative Writing: Writing Computers

What does a computer scientist wish that writers knew? That we are building aliens right here on Earth? That perception is not what we think it is? Join us for four weeks of learning, writing, and feedback. In "How Does Hacking Actually Work?" we'll learn to write far more complex and realistic scenes than Hollywood. In "Computer Perception" we'll talk about detecting the simple presence of volts and the most subtle patterns of the cosmos. In "Computer Interfaces" we're going to cook up stories about the Alien, the Understander, and the Quality of Misunderstanding. Finally in "Atemporal Decision Theory" we're going to ask enough questions about Truth, sentience, and honor to fill adventure after adventure with artificial and artisanal intelligences. Each week we'll have a learning and discussion day plus a day to reflect on "This idea made me ask 'what if?' and reach for my keyboard."

Creative Writing: Writing the Hero

We need good tales of good people making heroic choices. Whether we write memoir, pure fiction, or a what-if-it-had-ended-well personal speculations, this module is about creating the characters whom we can admire, trust, emulate, and become. Writing these short scenes during difficult times balances our minds and hearts, and can be part of a personal path to hope. This module specifically allows us to write our inner heroes within a place of safety. When believing in heroes is hard, we need to write them anyway. Explore your own traumas, toils, and fears even if your bad situation is right now, and write your own next chapter, your terrified heroic first step.

Fairy Tales: An Adventure from the Writer's Perspective

Come explore Fairy Tales from the inside! In the first meeting each week Pilar Barrera will lift up a Fairy Tale technique, character archetype, or trope. We'll discuss the story at hand and how that story technique makes meaning. Then, students try their own hands at that technique! What do we learn when we push these ideas to their logical extremes? In the second meeting, Sparrow Alden will facilitate a workshop-style discussion of our original tale-telling work; we'll encourage one another as writers and appreciate one another as readers! Our goal is to complete the month with a deeper appreciation for the tales we all love and a folder with one to four good drafts of original tales.

FanFiction: Middle-earth

Do you imagine other tales set in Tolkien's beautiful Middle-earth? First person? FRP campaign design? Screen plays? Other minds and hands will come together to create and discuss "what if" for our own fanfiction. We will use a little peer-reading and a lot of focused discussion to move each writer deeper into the story they love. Expect to end the month with a folder full of story seeds or big progress on one big project.

FanFiction: The Vorkosigan Saga

Have you toured Vorbar Sultana in your imagination? Mapped out intrigue worthy of high Vor society? Juxtaposed the feudalism of the Time of Isolation with the snappy FTL lifestyle of a research Profesora? We're going to write in the wonderful Galaxy created by Lois McMaster Bujold and explore the endless possibilities. Codes of honor. Gene-scrubbing. Ma Kosti's recipes. We'll use a little peer-reader-review and a lot of discussion. Our goal is progress on your big project, or a folder full of story-seeds by the end of the month.

Writing for Children

What makes a good children’s story? We’re going to address chapter books, cultural stories, and learning tales all through a lens of moral, cultural, and spiritual human development. Trying our hands at these forms should lead us to a nice folder full of works-in-progress at the end of the month. The December iteration of this module is designed to complete one treasured story gift for the holidays.

Writing Your Memoir

Your story is unique. Do you want to set it down on paper for yourself? For your family? No other person has accumulated your experiences; no other person has had your potential, learning, drive, disappointments, challenges, triumphs, and quiet joys. We'll explore a variety of media and forms for memoir writing, from picture books to blogs. We'll interview one another with kindness and encouragement and draw amazing stories out of each other—and ourselves.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].