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Speculative Fiction: What Is It?, Zoom Seminar on Monday, May 8th, 2023
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Speculative Fiction: What Is It?, Zoom Seminar on Monday, May 8th, 2023

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Seminar is Monday, May 8th, 2023

This class will meet via Zoom, 4PM PST - 6PM PST

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Led by Ploi Pirapokin, the Nonfiction Editor at Newfound Journal. She sits on the board for Khōréō Magazine, Hivemind: Global Speculative Fiction Magazine, and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work is featured in, Pleiades, Ninth Letter, Gulf Stream Magazine, Sycamore Review and more. Ploi is a graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop.

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to write a retelling of a fairytale but not sure how or have been told that your writing is too weird and unreal, come and meet writers just like yourself.

In this two-hour webinar, we’ll be looking at non-naturalist elements and common tropes most associated with genre fiction. We’ll go over how point of view, structure, and voice can heighten our fantastical elements and setting to resonate with our readers long after they’ve put down the page, with examples of how contemporary authors such as Sofia Samatar, Ursula Le Guin, Nalo Hopkinson, Ted Chiang, and Carmen Maria Machado, have used genre to meditate on and explore issues of race, inequality, oppression, and freedom.

The webinar will be a combination of examples and writing prompts, with opportunities to share your creative responses.


  • Students will leave with a better understanding of non-naturalist elements, and how they can act as intensifiers of emotional arcs in stories.
  • Students will strengthen their understanding of characterization, stakes, and plot with elements of speculative fiction.
  • Students will generate ideas and short scenes for their own speculative fiction story through writing prompts based on Improv, OULIPO, and published works offered in class.


"I have learned so much from Ploi Pirapokin’s speculative fiction workshop and have enjoyed it immensely! I don’t want it to end—not only because I’m enjoying the learning and the community of writers, but also because I’m just excited about writing again! Each week, Ploi guides us by sharing expertly curated and inspiring content on the craft of speculative fiction, plus readings of some of the best. She provides personal feedback on our responses to her weekly exercises and our workshop pieces, which I’ve found so helpful and instructive. Ploi’s approach makes me feel comfortable to dive right in and try new approaches I never have before. Since starting this workshop, I’ve had multiple ideas for new short stories and have begun writing them. Thank you, Ploi, for sharing your time and talent with writers." -Brittany G.

"Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher!! Your class was such a bright spot of the week, and the conversations were always so engaging and thought provoking. Thank you for believing in us as writers! I got so much out of your workshop and all the advice, and the way you took us seriously as writers and artists, and how you pushed us to embrace how we organically tell stories, helped me take myself more seriously and is advice I’ll take with me for a long time!

Ms. Pirapokin’s content in the course itself was outstanding. She provided a series of texts and video presentations illustrative of the material we were studying. She made herself available not only to me, but also to all the students in the class. Her kindness radiated from her and she was very attentive to all our needs.”

Here's the crux of the matter: by the end of the course, I was so impressed by how much of herself Ploi had put into the course that it made me work all the harder to complete assignments and do my best. That our course was concluding around election time made it difficult for everyone, but Ploi's sincerity and focus helped pull us across the finish line. You should be very happy to have such a dedicated, erudite and honest teacher on your roster.”

"This was hands down the best Catapult class I have taken so far... Ploi was warm, encouraging, insanely prepared and knowledgeable, generous... I felt so enriched afterwards and look forward to staying in community with my classmates!!" --Former Catapult Student

"Ploi was a beacon for me and my classmates. The ideal teacher to nurture creativity and confidence. She provided heartfelt knowledge and created a space to celebrate each other."--Former Catapult Student


This class meets weekly via Zoom.


You can pay for the course in full or use Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Instructor: Ploi Pirapokin
  • Class size limited to 20 writers
  • Seminar is Monday, May 8th, 2023
  • Seminar will meet via Zoom, 4PM PST - 6PM PST.

Instructor Ploi Pirapokin is the Nonfiction Editor at Newfound Journal, and sits on the board for Khōréō Magazine, Hivemind: Global Speculative Fiction Magazine, and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work is featured in, Pleiades, Ninth Letter, Gulf Stream Magazine, Sycamore Review and more. She has received grants and fellowships from the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Creative Capacity Fund, Headlands Center for the Arts, Djerassi, Kundiman and others. A graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop, she also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She currently teaches at the Writers Program at UCLA Extension, and the University of Hong Kong.