Writing the Supernatural (with Caroline Belle Stewart) - ONLINE
I think fiction starts with something really unusual,” says the writer Samanta Schweblin. “Normality is a big lie.” If you are a writer who’s drawn to the unusual, be it the unreal, the uncanny, or the undead, or if you’d like to learn how to bring elements of horror, fairy tale, sci-fi, or surrealism to your writing, this class is for you. Many of us read and write scary or fantastical stories in order to escape. But supernatural writing also has a long history of engaging with the social norms and fears of its time. What is a haunted house story in the era of home quarantine? How does a pandemic encourage us to rethink vampire and zombie narratives? Can a fairy tale or fable help us communicate ideas during a time of social upheaval? In this workshop and generative class, we’ll experiment with prompts and exercises meant to help us imbibe our work with the magical, the scary, and the strange, and we’ll provide feedback on each other’s pieces. We’ll look to the experts for inspiration, reading work by authors such as Steven Graham Jones, Silvina Ocampo, Angela Carter, Julio Cortázar, Nalo Hopkinson, Lily Hoang, Sofia Samatar, and Octavia E. Butler. We’ll also read and discuss each other’s writing, with each student having the opportunity to be formally workshopped once. Whatever your goals are for writing the supernatural, you’ll come away from this class with gleefully weird work and a range of thrilling new ideas. All levels. Limited to 10 writers.
WHEN: 4 Weeks: Mondays, August 8 - 29 (6 - 8pm EST)
WHERE: Online, via Zoom video conference
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
CAROLINE BELLE STEWART stories can be found in Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Fairy Tale Review, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook "Husbandly Things" (Factory Hollow) and co-creator of “Mast Year: A Mystical Field Guide" (Mount Analogue). A recipient of fellowships from Monson Arts and MacDowell, she lives in Western Massachusetts.
- Learn about a variety of modes of writing about the supernatural
- Familiarize ourselves with various styles and genre conventions
- Experiment with a number of different approaches to writing the supernatural
- Receive feedback on at least one piece and several experiments
- Practice editing our own work and giving feedback
WEEK ONE: THE UNCANNY
We’ll read Lydia Jorge and Samanta Schweblin and dissect what makes a story just a little bit unsettling, and put that to use in our own work.
WEEK TWO: FAR OUT AND ALIEN
We’ll read Stephen Graham Jones and Nalo Hopkinson to parse out how to use sci-fi genre conventions in our own work to make deep statements and create complex characters.
WEEK THREE: HAUNTED AND HORRIBLE
We’ll read Julio Cortazar and Angela Carter, and take a look at more classic gothic tropes, like haunted houses, as well as other classic horror elements, and consider how they’re working in our own work.
WEEK FOUR: FANTASTICAL AND FABULAR
We’ll read Sofia Samatar and Lily Hoang and consider how fairy tales, fables, and fantasy can articulate supernatural concepts, and try it out in our own stories.
RECEIVING THE ZOOM LINK: For one-day workshops, we send out the link to attend the Zoom session 1 - 2 days before the event, via email. For multi-week workshops, you should receive info and the link about 3 - 5 days before. Please mark your calendars when you first register and look for our emails. If you don't see the email in your inbox on the day before the class, please check your spam and junk mail folders (and search all folders) for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org before contacting us. We have found that very often our emails end up in those folders. This is based on your own email settings, and you can prevent this by adding our email as a contact.
ONLINE SESSIONS happen remotely, via Zoom video conference. All you need is a laptop, computer, or phone with functioning audio and a webcam. Those who RSVP receive directions and a link to "join" the session via email (please see above note about receiving the Zoom link). All online instructors will log on to the video conference a few minutes before the start of the session, so please plan to log on early if you'd like assistance! We'll do everything in our power to help you get comfortable with the Zoom format, though we are not able to offer technical assistance beyond basic Zoom orientation.
REFUND & CREDIT POLICIES AT PVWW
Because of non-refundable fees that we, PVWW, must pay for every transaction that happens, we are not able to give full refunds to those who register then withdraw from a workshop or class. If you withdraw from a workshop ten days or more before the start of the class: You'll receive full credit toward another workshop or class of equal value OR a refund minus 10%. If you withdraw from a workshop nine days before the start of the class up until 48 hours before: You'll receive full credit toward another class OR a refund minus 30%. If you withdraw from a workshop less than 48 hours before the start of a class or after the class has begun: We are not able to offer you credit toward another class or a partial refund, unless in the case of a medical emergency. If we have to cancel a class for any reason, you will receive a full refund, or if you choose, a credit in the amount of your payment, to be used for any future PVWW class. Anyone who does not specify whether they would like a refund or a credit for a cancelled class within 3 months will automatically be refunded. Please contact Joy (email@example.com) for all matters concerning credit and refunds.