Exploring the Inactive Protagonist: a Two-Week Intensive Workshop with Vida Cruz-Borja

Exploring the Inactive Protagonist: a Two-Week Intensive Workshop with Vida Cruz-Borja

When: September 10 – 24, 2022
Where: Online, over Discord
Price:  325 USD

Fiction has a tendency to prefer the “active” protagonist – the hero, the Chosen One, who goes out there and takes his destiny in his hands. This default isn’t one that marginalised protagonists can always participate in, and often agency for marginalised protagonists will look different. “Inactive,” even.

Based on her excellent essay in Fantasy Magazine, “We Are the Mountain: A Look at the Inactive Protagonist,” Vida Cruz-Borja has created this workshop to examine the inactive protagonist and how conflict is employed in writing SFF.

Through a combination of reading web comics, reading essays, watching anime, and plenty of discussion and practical exercises, by the end of this class students will:

    • Widen the definition of character agency in fiction other than “active” and “inactive” protagonist
    • Discover other ways “inactive protagonists” can express their agency
    • Explore perspectives and approaches other than conflict and competition in fiction
    • Write the beginnings of a new story, whether a fanfic or an original work
    • Workshop one story, whether fanfic or original work

Click here to register!

As a note, this workshop is an intensive, which means there will be a lot of assignments and discussions. You will get the most out of this class if you can devote a little time to it every day, especially as discord discussions can go quickly.

About the Instructor

https://www.fantasy-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Vida-Cruz.jpgVida Cruz-Borja is a Filipina fantasy and science fiction writer, editor, artist, and conrunner. Her short fiction and essays have been published or are forthcoming from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science FictionFantasy MagazineStrange HorizonsPodCastleExpanded Horizons, and various anthologies. Her work has been nominated, longlisted, and recommended for the Hugo Award, the British Science Fiction Award, and the James Tiptree Jr. (now Otherwise) Award. She is a Clarion 2014 alumna and the author of two illustrated short story collections: Beyond the Line of Trees (2019) and Song of the Mango and Other New Myths (2022). Currently, she’s a freelance book editor with Tessera Editorial and The Darling Axe and is co-director of BonFiyah under the larger umbrella of FIYAHCON, a BIPOC-centered convention for science fiction and fantasy readers and writers.

Registration & Scholarships

To register, please click here.

If you cannot pay for all or part of this class, don’t fret! We have a number of full and partial scholarships available. Please fill out this form indicating what kind of scholarship you’re aiming for, and tell us a little bit about your project or how you feel this class will help your writing journey. The scholarship deadline is August 28th by midnight UTC, and we’ll get back to you by September 4th. Please don’t self-reject!

If you can no longer participate in the class, you can request a refund through Eventbrite up to 14 days before the class starts and will receive a full refund, minus processing fees. After that, the class will not be refunded, but you can apply the registration fee towards future classes.

Registration Requirements

This class is for BIPOC writers in any stage in their writing career.

To participate in the class, you will need a working internet connection a Discord account. If you’re unfamiliar with Discord, it’s an instant messaging platform where we’ll be creating a class server that will allow students to discuss their assignments and class content. It’s free and easy to use, so click here to set up an account and download it.


Discord’s desktop app has numerous accessibility features, which you can find more information on, including how to activate them, here.


If you have any questions, contact our class coordinator Yasmine at classes@carlbrandon.org and we’ll get back to you ASAP!