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Writing the Weird Western

The American West has enchanted science fiction and fantasy writers since the days of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Barsroom series and those of Ambrose Bierce’s “Incident at Owl Creek.” With popular television shows such as The Lone Ranger, The Wild Wild West, and Little House on the Prairie the idyllic movement of going west has established itself in the American mythos.

This course will teach how to write a western and then, how to make it weird.



Starting date

Always Available


8 weeks



What you are going to learn

The west was weird! 

Write a western short story that incorporate science fiction and fantasy elements to make it weird.
Students can expect to:

  • Learn the mechanics of writing a western (archetypes, historical setting, and theme). 
  • Understand the history of the weird western
  • Learn the plot structure for a short story
  • Become familiar with the historical context of westerns so it can be used effectively in the storytelling
  • Learn how to incorporate their voice for unique and diverse storytelling

Nicole Givens Kurtz

Publisher, instructor, writer
Nicole Givens Kurtz is an author, editor, and educator. She's the recipient of the Horror Writers Association's Diversity Grant (2020). She's been named as one of Book Riot's Best Black Indie SFF Writers. She's also the editor of the groundbreaking anthology, SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire. Her novels have been a finalist in the Dream Realm Awards, Fresh Voices, and EPPIE Awards for science fiction. She's written over 40 short stories, 11 novels and three active speculative mystery series. She's a member of Horror Writers Association, Sisters in Crime, and Science Fiction Writers of America.
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