Genre Fiction

The Genre Fiction Concentration

The Genre Fiction Concentration at Western Colorado University trains sophisticated, skilled storytellers who graduate prepared to work well and hard. Why the emphasis on skill? Because a storyteller is not just someone with stories to tell, but also someone who has the skill to tell those stories in a way that matters to other people. Those skills are what we teach. Study with us and refine your fire.

Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information

Genre Fiction Concentration

  • Learn under successful, currently publishing authors with scores of book credits.
  • Make network connections with industry professionals to help launch your career.
  • Attend virtual classes with weekly online interaction.


Are you tired of being the only fantasy writer in a workshop of those who think literary fiction is the totality of modern storytelling? Of having your work dismissed before it's even been read, by people who don't even read the kind of fiction you care about – the kind that actually sells? You won't face those problems at Western. We love literary fiction – but we specialize in popular, mainstream genre fiction, and we offer one of the most rigorous, thorough, carefully structured curricula on how to write it at any university in the world.

And – after all – isn't all fiction actually "genre fiction"? How could anyone write a novel without a genre? "War and Peace"? Historical and military romance. "Crime and Punishment"? Psychological thriller. "Brave New World"? Science fiction. "Pride and Prejudice"? Regency romance. "Frankenstein"? Horror. You get the idea. Literary fiction is merely a style, and most literary fiction is merely "genre fiction" that has survived because it is so powerful. The rules and structures of genre come first for all storytelling, and that is what we teach, always with an eye on helping our graduates to write works that will find a public and sell.

In short, we believe that writing matters far beyond academic circles. The art of writing fiction can be not only a passion, but also a way of being and of living in the world. Our instructors, inspired by this philosophy, gather from across the country to offer guidance and experience to aspiring writers who want to reach mainstream audiences. To realize these goals, we have designed a curriculum that celebrates the art and skill of such popular genres as science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, YA, and many other mainstream commercial genres. Through an intensive and innovative program of study, we provide writers with support and industry knowledge to expand their writing and their careers beyond the academy.

As a student in our graduate program, you can expect to read a great deal of great genre fiction and criticism of it, try to write it yourself, discuss and critique it individually and in discussion with your instructors and peers, and then write more, a lot more, every single week. You will learn how to get your writing out into the world. You will discover a supportive community dedicated to your passions and ambitions. While they may argue with you about your specific choices, no one will condescend to your admiration for J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, Louis L'Amour, Elmore Leonard and a thousand other gifted, successful storytellers whose names never even appear in most MFA classrooms. Together, we can reinvigorate the art of fiction and reclaim its audience.

The Genre Fiction curriculum sequence is designed for full-time students. While we understand that students occasionally must drop down to part-time status for financial and personal reasons, we encourage all students to do their best to pursue the degree full-time.