- Schools of fiction serve not as means of training and accrediting paid professionals, but as laboratories for inventing and investigating fictional realities.
- Operating independently of formal educational institutions, schools of fiction are organized and run by readers and writers of fiction.
- The schools emphasize not just the writing of fictional texts but the imaginary worlds that the texts describe.
- Schools are integrated with the process of publishing and distributing written fictions.
Formal educational programs in fiction writing are professional schools, with students paying tens of thousands of dollars learning to practice paid professions that don’t exist except for a small and dwindling percentage of writers who make a living from their art and craft. Instead of training students to write publish works and to teach, schools of fiction would incorporate students as apprentices into the publishing and teaching process. Schools would focus not solely on writerly craft but on designing, experimenting with, and creating fictional worlds. Each school would be affiliated with an anarcho-syndicalist publishing houses, its master writers and readers cultivating the house’s shared aesthetic among those who would join them.
Challenges and Opportunities
Accreditation and Credentialing. Unaffiliated with universities, cooperative schools of fiction would not receive formal accreditation and so would be unable to bestow academic credentials on its graduates. Schools would need to ensure educational excellence through mutual agreement on curriculum, process, and criteria for evaluation.
Expectations. Students expect that earning – and paying for – an advanced degree will advance their career prospects and their financial earnings, both as writers and as teachers. Fiction writers would need to acknowledge that these expectations are unlikely to be realized, reframing their understanding of the writing profession less as a job than as a calling.