Deep Dive Into Neopronouns

Suggested Price: $75.00

Last major course revision made on April 30, 2019.

My “Deep Dive Into Neopronouns,” first featured on Writing the Other, is now available on-demand. This course is offered on a sliding scale basis. If financial hardship makes it too difficult for you to afford the course, please email me at to request a copy. Students and alumni receive priority support and responses to email and phone inquiries.

An abridged version of the course syllabus is below.

Course Description

Recent high-profile works of fiction, such as JY Yang’s The Black Tides of Heaven and Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth, include prominent nonbinary characters that use they/them pronouns. However, singular they isn’t the only option for gender-neutral pronouns—as early as 1976, Marge Piercy used the invented pronoun, or neopronoun, “per” in Woman on the Edge of Time. This workshop, led by nonbinary writer, translator, and editor S. Qiouyi Lu, will explore the history of neopronouns, discuss examples drawn from literature, and provide participants a welcoming space to draft their own work that uses neopronouns.

Who Should Take This Workshop?

Writers from all genres—non-fiction, literary fiction, YA, middle grade, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, children’s books, romance—and all mediums—prose, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, comics/graphic novels, games—at any point in their career from newbie to professional.


As a result of this course, you will be able to:

  • Broadly define the term “nonbinary.”
  • Broadly describe the social and historical contexts of at least one nonbinary experience.
  • Provide at least three reasons why research helps to create richer narratives.
  • Define what a “neopronoun” is.
  • Recall at least three sets of neopronouns.
  • Demonstrate how at least one set of neopronouns is used in a sentence.
  • Name at least two examples of neopronoun use in speculative fiction published before the year 2000.
  • Name at least two examples of speculative fiction published since 2010 that use neopronouns.
  • Define the terms “high-context” and “low-context” in reference to narrative and worldbuilding.
  • Analyze whether a story’s engagement with gender is high-context or low-context.
  • Explain whether the use of neopronouns in a work demonstrates high-context or low-context expectations of the reader.
  • Articulate your reasoning behind choosing whether to write a high-context or low-context narrative.
  • Write at least a 100-word passage using at least one set of neopronouns.

Required Texts


Shawl, Nisi and Cynthia Ward. Writing the Other: A Practical Approach. Aqueduct Press, 2005. 26,000 words.

Wigmore, Rem. “Grow Green.” Capricious, vol. 1, no. 9, 2018. 1,500 words.


Chu, John. “The Law and the Profits.” The Revelator, vol. 139, no. 1, 2016. 4,400 words.

Lu, S. Qiouyi. “Curiosity Fruit Machine.” GlitterShip, vol. 1, no. 33, 2017. 700 words.

Anders, Charlie Jane. “Love Might Be Too Strong a Word.” Lightspeed Magazine, vol. 1, no. 27, 2012. 5,400 words.

Takács, Bogi. “The Handcrafted Motions of Flight.” Stone Telling: The Magazine of Boundary-crossing Poetry, vol. 1, no. 7, 2012. 500 words.

Total Reading: 38,500 words (2.5 hours at an average reading rate of 250 words per minute)

Course Requirements and Calendar

There are no grades for this course; you are here for your own edification. You can also do the coursework in any order. However, here is the course order as I have designed it to scaffold the concepts so that they build on each other for the most thorough understanding of the material:

Read Writing the Other: A Practical Approach (26,000 words)
I will proceed assuming all students have read Writing the Other and will reference concepts and discussions from this work throughout my discussions and responses in the course.

Lecture 1: Background on nonbinary gender (1,400 words)
Introduction to nonbinary gender; historical, social, and cultural contexts of nonbinary genders; common misunderstandings of nonbinary genders.

Lecture 2: Background on neopronouns (420 words)
Introduction to neopronouns; examples of neopronouns and neopronoun use.

Lecture 3: High-context and low-context narratives (780 words)
Introduction to the terms “high-context” and “low-context”; examples of high-context and low-context narratives; discussion of implications for how gender can be portrayed and engaged with in a narrative.

Reading 1: “The Law and the Profits” by John Chu (4,400 words)
Read story and answer discussion questions.

Reading 2: “Curiosity Fruit Machine” by S. Qiouyi Lu (700 words)
Read story and answer discussion questions.

Reading 3: “Love Might Be Too Strong a Word” by Charlie Jane Anders (5,400 words)
Read story and answer discussion questions.

Reading 4: “The Handcrafted Motions of Flight” by Bogi Takács (500 words)
Read poem and answer discussion questions.

Reading 5: “Grow Green” by Rem Wigmore (1,500 words)
Read story and answer discussion questions.

Writing Exercise 1: Picture game (450 words)
Write for 10–15 minutes inspired by the image or otherwise about a single person from a third-person point of view using neopronouns; answer discussion questions.

Writing Exercise 2: Picture game (430 words)
Write for 10–15 minutes inspired by the image or otherwise about a group of people from any point of view about another character who uses neopronouns; answer discussion questions.

Open Discussion
Optional. Ask any further questions or comments by email.

SKU: COURSE-neopronouns Category: Tag:


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