Writing for Both Literary and Speculative Markets with Emma Törzs

Event Date:

April 11, 2022

Event Time (Pacific):

4:00 pm


This three-session workshop will explore how to write stories that might appeal to both “literary” (non-genre) AND speculative markets.

In the first session, we will identify some of the hallmarks of “speculative” vs. “literary” fiction, with a focus on stakes, themes, emotional beats, character, and perhaps most importantly, reader expectations (i.e., what do readers expect when they approach Clarkesworld vs. when they approach Granta? How might cultural expectations change the perceived genre of a given story?).

In the second class, we’ll look further into the structure of “lit” vs. “spec” stories, with a particular emphasis on language. How do stories telegraph genre at the very level of the sentence, with their syntax, word choice, rhythm? How do sentences in genre magazines tangibly differ from sentences in literary magazines? What expectations do readers/editors have for the way language is used in lit vs. spec? Through writing exercises, we will practice feeling the differences within our own use of language.

The third session will culminate in a workshop wherein participants will look closely at a story of their own that they wish to submit across genre lines. 

Best for intermediate writers.

Advanced Preparation Required: Students must come prepared with a pre-written story for workshop and will be expected to arrive at the first class having read several assigned short stories by writers such as Carmen Maria Machado, Lesley Nneka Arimah, and Karen Russell.


Most Clarion West events are free or already at reduced cost. For discounts and access to Clarion West classes and workshops:

The Supporting Tuition rate is shown for each class or workshop, for folks who are able to pay it. Paying the Supporting Tuition rate enables us to continue to pay our staff and instructors equitably, as well as support access to classes for others who may be in a different financial situation. 

Limited Free Registration: We reserve a percentage of free seats in every class for writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or Persons of Color (BIPOC) on a first-come-first-served basis, regardless of financial need. Please email us with the name of the class you would like to enroll in, even if the class appears full: info@clarionwest.org. We ask that you limit your request to 3-5 classes maximum, listed in order of your first choice. Read more about our equity and inclusion policies here.

Helping Hand Discount (Enter Code at Checkout): If you are under more limited economic circumstances and/or identify as from a marginalized background, we offer a 26% discount. Enter this code at checkout: CWDISCOUNTS4WRITERS. You are invited to use this discount code for all online classes and workshops if this will help you take the class. Read about why we offer this discount here.

Register Now:

To register, click on the button below and enter attendee information. Apply the discount code in check-out.

Supporting Tuition
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Event F.A.Q

Unless otherwise noted, all times listed are in United States Pacific Time (PT).

PT is seven hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC–7) for most of the year, from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. During the remainder of the year, PT is shifted back one hour, to UTC–8.

Clarion West is using Zoom for our online programs, classes, and workshops. We always make Zoom’s auto-generated closed captions available for all of our online sessions and live captioners for streaming events.

Requesting an interpreter: If the class is discussion-intensive or uses features that make the auto-generated captions impossible (for example, if a class uses breakout rooms), a live captioner or ASL interpreter can be requested. We ask that students request a live captioner or interpreter 3–5 business days before the class date. For live captioners, we are currently partnering with VITAC Internet Captioning Services.

Chat and closed caption transcripts can be sent to you after the class. We ask our instructors to provide reading materials and slides in advance, whenever possible. If you have specific needs or requests for your instructor, please send in your request 3–5 business days before the class date.

If you have questions about the accessibility of the workshop or have other concerns, please contact info@clarionwest.org

This class will be held online via Zoom. Students should plan to test their video and microphone in advance. Click here for more information about our Zoom policies. If you have difficulty logging into an online class email helpdesk@clarionwest.org.

Your link will be sent to the email address you used to register for the class or event. Sometimes SPAM or junk mail filters out emails from us. 

For classes: Once you have your Zoom link, we recommend that you click it and follow the Zoom registration instructions at any time prior to your class. 

Be sure to add helpdesk@clarionwest.org to your list of safe contacts. If you still can’t find the link, please reach out to us at (206) 322-9083 or helpdesk@clarionwest.org at least one hour before class begins. Be aware that if you contact us after class has started, staff may be introducing the instructor and getting the class underway; they will respond to your request as soon as they are able. 

Yes. One day before the class begins, we will send a reminder  to the email you used to register.

Please be sure to add your class to your personal calendar when you register, with reminders if needed. Unfortunately, we are not able to refund class fees if you miss a class.

Unless designated for teens, all online classes and workshops are recommended for anyone aged 18 or older. If you have a question about the minimum age requirement, please email us at helpdesk@clarionwest.org. 

Clarion West will refund all class fees if the request is made 30 days prior to the class date. Refund requests made within 30 days of the class will be honored if we can fill the seat. Any exceptions are subject to approval by our workshop staff. Please email helpdesk@clarionwest.org

Please enter the name and email address of the person you are purchasing the class for under the first step of the registration process, “Attendee info.”

If you want to buy a gift certificate for a friend, please send an email to helpdesk@clarionwest.org and tell us your information and the name, email, and contact information for the person you wish to send a gift certificate to. 

Clarion West does not share contact information with any other organization.

We reserve a percentage of seats in every class for writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color (BIPOC) on a first-come-first-served basis, regardless of financial need. Learn more about our Equity & Inclusion policies. Please email us with the name of the class you would like to enroll in: info@claronwest.org

For folks who are under more limited economic circumstances, no matter your background, we offer a discount code for reduced pricing: CWDISCOUNTS4WRITERS. If this will help you take the class, you are invited to use this code for a 26% discount on all online classes and workshops. 

How to use the code: register for any class you are interested in. When you get to the check-out portion of the class, you will find a place to enter the discount code in the upper left area of the check-out section. Enter the code and it will be immediately applied to any classes you have registered for. Then follow the instructions to complete your order. Please enter your discount code before completing your payment. 

Read about why we offer this discount here

By participating in any Clarion West activity, you are agreeing to our Code of Conduct, the Clarion West Harassment Policy, and our Zoom Guidelines.


Total Seats: 20 (13 Left:)

Event Schedule Details

  • April 11, 2022 4:00 pm   -   5:15 pm
  • April 18, 2022 4:00 pm   -   5:15 pm
  • April 25, 2022 4:00 pm   -   5:15 pm
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