The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Malik Toms

Education Programs Manager

About Malik Toms

Malik Toms was born and raised in Harlem, New York, and is a 20+ year veteran of the pen and keyboard. He did his undergraduate work in Sociology at Iowa State University, working as a drug rehabilitation counselor before returning to college to pursue a graduate degree in Creative Writing. He published his first short story at the age 18 after two years of "No thanks." Since then he has worked as a freelance author, which is a bit like being a freelance mercenary minus all the bullets and moral ambiguity. His work has appeared in over thirty publications including multiple anthologies and a stand-alone novella. A graduate of Iowa State’s Creative Writing MFA program, Toms polished his writing skills crafting cyberpunk and steampunk fantasies on the way to multiple Origin and Ennie award nominations including six Ennie wins. Toms also was part of the Shadowrun Returns video game team which won Diehard gameFan’s PC Game of the year in 2013. He is presently hard at work writing his first fantasy thriller. Toms currently lives in Arizona where he is regularly super-smashed by at least one of his three video game obsessed boys. When he isn’t writing, he’s teaching writing and sociology at community colleges throughout the Arizona desert, and maybe watching a lot of TV.

View Classes from this Instructor

Date: Tuesdays, October 1 - 15, 2019, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

Your story is almost done. It just needs... something? The spaces between idea, draft, and done can be dark corners filled with uncertainty. Is the character's story worthy? How do you finish it without turning it into an 8,000-page omnibus? How do you know if it is good enough? These are the questions we all have from the first keystroke. This class will push you toward the answers.


Date: Mondays, December 3 - 10, 2018, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Type: Lecture, Generative Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

We sit on the edge of possibility. From Roddenberry’s sliding doors and tablet PCs to Atwood’s dystopian floods, our stories point the way to possible futures. This is a class about writing those futures. Participants will explore the basic elements of creating strong fiction and learn how to weave those elements into the extraordinary worlds we carve out of fringe science and the environmental issues shaping our tomorrows. Participants will engage with existing genre work ranging from Bacigalupi to Zelzany to learn the finer points of craft.


Date: Mondays, January 29 - February 12, 2018, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Type: Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Memoir, Science Fiction
In this three-week workshop you will learn how to develop a timeline for writing your novel and stick to it. A series of discussions, worksheets,and presentations will help you develop that characters and pivotal story moments that define your story. From there we will build the connection points between the chapters and fill in the story beats that keep a reader engaged from start to finish.