Writing Religion in Speculative Fiction

Is there more to writing religion than filing the serial numbers off the Catholic church and calling it a day? Absolutely! 

Whether you're writing high fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, scifi, paranormal romance or any other speculative genre there's a good chance the question of religion will come up somewhere in your world building. But how do we do it well? 

Deep Dive

Starting date

Always Available


4 weeks



A few more words about this course

This class will address ways to add depth to your world building by drawing on existing religions or actively departing from them. We will also practice using religion as a source of character and plot development. Students will practice writing scenes that incorporate religious elements without an infodump in comparative religion. This class will also address how to avoid pitfalls in writing religion such as assuming all members of a religion think the same way or relying on harmful stereotypes. *Please Note: this class will be a strictly non-proselytizing space. Students of any or no religion are welcome in the class. Students are welcome to bring their own religious background into class discussion, but not to demean the beliefs and practices of anyone else.*
Students will:
  • Understand the ways religion adds depth to world building, character development, and plot movement
  • Analyze the relationship between their own religious beliefs and their writing
  • Create an ethnography of one or more religions in their WIP Write scenes in which this religion contributes directly to character growth and plot movement
  • Discuss the ethical aspects of drawing on religious traditions outside their own

Sarah Joy Adams

Author.  Professor.  Editor.
Sarah Adams is author of the forthcoming Kinslayer Winter series and co-author with Emily Leverett of the Eisteddfod Chronicles. She is also a medieval scholar who wrote her dissertation on saints, miracles and doubt in the early Middle Ages. 
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