Spring Workshop Registration Open for Monstrous Women

John_William_Waterhouse_A_MermaidRegistration for Monstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic is open. There will only be two sections available; time and day for workshops will be determined according to participant availability.

The Spring workshop will be thirteen weeks long and include five modules: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides, Wicked Queens and Witchy Women, The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale, Weeping Women and the Female Descent into Madness, and The Monstrous Female Unveiled. The maximum word count will be 3,500 words for each module. The portfolio will include 2-3 revisions (10K max) and these sessions will take place over the course of the final two weeks. Workshops will begin the second week of February and will run through mid-May. There will be no workshop during the week of April 27 through May 3 in order for participants to polish their portfolios. The price is $550 with a 10% discount for returning participants.

Monstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic

Week 1 (2/17-2/23): Introductions and Instructions/Module One: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides (Discussion)
Week 2 (2/24-3/1): 
Module One: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides (Workshop)
Week 3 (3/2-3/8): 
Module Two: Wicked Queens and Witchy Women (Discussion)
Week 4 (3/9-3/15): 
Module Two: Wicked Queens and Witchy Women (Workshop)
Week 5 (3/16-3/22): 
Module Three: The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale (Discussion)
Week 6 (3/23-3/29): 
Module Three: The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale (Workshop)
Week 7 (3/30-4/5): 
Module Four: Weeping Women and the Female Descent into Madness (Discussion)
Week 8 (4/6-4/12): 
Module Four: Weeping Women and the Female Descent into Madness (Workshop)
Week 9 (4/13-4/19): 
Module Five: The Monstrous Female Unveiled (Discussion)
Week 10 (4/20-4/26): 
Module Five: The Monstrous Female Unveiled (Workshop)
Week 11 (4/27-5/3): Revision Exercises/ NO WORKSHOP
Week 12 (5/4-5/10): Critique Etiquette and Methods (Portfolio Presentations)
Week 13 (5/11-5/17): Submission Strategies (Portfolio Presentations)

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Monstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at cmariebissett@gmail.com. The fee to attend the workshop is $550, payable to cmariebissett@gmail.com via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Space is limited.

Module 4 Morgan la fey

Dark Wisdom at Denver Horror Collective

Carina Bissett Author PhotoThis column on Dark Wisdom was originally published at the Denver Horror Collective.

(In “Dark Wisdom,” we seek writing and/or publishing advice from the horror fiction masters making up Denver Horror Collective’s Advisory CouncilFor this installment, we pick the brains of Carina Bissett, a Colorado Springs-based writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of speculative fiction and interstitial art.)

Q.)  How does mythology influence modern horror fiction?

CARINA BISSETT)  By its very nature, mythology provides a broad foundation for writers to build upon. This can also be said when it comes to urban legends, folklore, and fairy tales. These stories tend to speak to universal truths, which is one of the reasons they have endured throughout history. With just a few words, a writer can invoke setting, theme, and mood. Well-known symbols—such as apples, serpents, crows, mirrors, teeth, flowers, chalices, shoes—create a shortcut into story. However, despite their familiarity, they also allow for distance, which can be a useful tool for writers commenting on contemporary issues.

For instance, Mercedes Murdock Yardley addresses rape and the aftermath of public blame in her swan maiden story “Urban Moon,” which was published in the anthology Other Voices, Other Tombs. In the superb flash piece “Skin,” Angela Slatter recasts a selkie myth with an intriguing twist to comment on the problem of domestic violence. Although the type of animal varies, Animal Bride and Bridegroom folklore can be found around the world. The transformative nature of these tales gave rise to numerous beasts and monsters in myth and fable including the familiar werewolf trope. For instance, in the English ballad “Reynardine,” a young woman is pledged in marriage to a handsome red-haired stranger— a werefox who actually intends to murder and eat her in his ruined mansion in the woods. On the flip side, there are the fox-wives of Korea and Japan—beautiful, sensual, highly dangerous creatures who feed on the life energy they slowly drain from their bewitched lovers. Kristi DeMeester’sMilkteeth,” originally published in Shimmer, is a fantastic example of a fresh take on an animal metamorphosis story. (“Milkteeth” was recently republished in Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 11.) Other personal favorites centered on the theme of transformation include “Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma and “Red” by Katie Knoll.

You’ll find an abundance of archetypal characters and tropes in all genres, but this is especially true in dark fiction. Sometimes, the source material is shielded. In other cases, it is blatant. Some of the more identifiable characters found in modern horror include Medusa, Morgan la Fay, and Medea, among others. These queens, acolytes, and witches provide mirrors for feminist authors to reflect on contemporary conditions. Medusa takes back her power in “Always, They Whisper” by Damien Angelica Walters. A ghost girl dreams of apple, bears, and roses in “Her Bones the Trees” by Georgina Bruce. A witch justifies the murder of an evil stepchild in “These Deathless Bones” by Cassandra Khaw. As Alice Hoffman once remarked, “Every fairy tale had a bloody lining. Every one had teeth and claws.” Myths, perhaps, even more so.

I personally prefer mash-ups that draw from various sources, which is what I focus on in my own work and in my online workshops at The Storied Imaginarium. For instance, my short story “Burning Bright” draws material from allegory with “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank R. Stockton, children’s rhyming and string games, the history of carousels and circuses, the red thread of fate, and tiger legends. My poem “O Mad Arachne: A Folle in Three Acts,” however, comes straight from lines found in Dante’s Purgatorio and Gustave Doré’s illustration of the event, which I expanded on with source material on the Arachne myth.

When it comes to retellings, it’s important to return to the original stories for inspiration. Project Gutenberg has a wide variety of free, accessible sources including Bulfinch’s Mythology: the Age of Fable Book by Thomas Bulfinch (1796-1867) and The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941). Project Gutenberg is also a great source for regional mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. Personal favorites of mine include Birds in Legend, Fable and Folklore by Ernest Ingersoll, Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics by Richard Folkard, and The Fairy Books by Andrew Lang. In addition to cultivating knowledge of the source material, it also helps to understand your own attraction to a particular myth or legend. A story exploring the context of theme will be much different than one retold in order to change the plot. However, the best part about a retelling is that you can transform the tale into something that reflects your viewpoint while still maintaining the elements that root the original in the collective unconscious. Symbols and motifs are here to stay. All you need to do is to make them your own.

An Example

My poem “O MAD ARACHNE: A Folle in Three Acts” was inspired by a few lines in Dante’s Purgatorio (12.43-45), which I then expanded with knowledge based on source material on the Greek myth of Arachne and Athena. This piece was originally published in NonBinary Review #19 Dante’s Inferno, Zoetic Press. December 2018.

O folle Aragne, sì vedea io te
già mezza ragna, trista in su li stracci
de l’opera che mal per te si fé. (Purg. 12.43-45)

O mad Arachne, I saw you already
half spider, wretched on the ragged remnants
of work that you had wrought to your own hurt! (Purg. 12.43-45)

“O MAD ARACHNE: A Folle in Three Acts”
by Carina Bissett

arachne.jpg!Large
Gustave Doré’s illustration of Arachne’s punishment for Dante’s Purgatorio

ACT I

Of course she’s bent
back, legs splayed
open for inspection
pride punished, Purgatory
reflected on a monster,
flanked,
an Infernal tapestry,
color curled,
secrets spun by sinners
who dared to fly to close
to the sun.

ACT II

In her Wisdom,
the goddess punished
the girl, a weaver, who needed
to learn a lesson—
as all girls do.
After all,
maidens are meant to be seen,
not heard.
Hubris for humanity,
despair hanging,
suspended, judged,
a tapestry of tragedy
wrought in twisted limbs,
bruised breasts, plundered spoils
of a war undeclared,
unquestioned.

ACT III

Talent?—Never, the matron
says. Wait!
The time will come—
an hour-glass counting down
minutes slipped,
regret shrouded,
ghosted, shed, obscure
glory days remembered
on cigarette breaks,
red lipstick smeared, feathered
lines, regret drowned,
boxed wine.

Remember, the matron says
to the dumpster, remember
she says to the stray
dog-bear, winged beast
remember, she says
to the spider who stares back,
eight eyes reflecting pride
shattered—
a warped mirror.

Inside the diner, a girl,
so young, so beautiful.
An artist—
a peer, a student, a child.
Listen, the matron says, stern,
unyielding.
An echo.
Wait.
The cycle resets.

“O MAD ARACHNE: A Folle in Three Acts” © 2018 by Carina Bissett. The poem may be not be reproduced in any form without the author’s express written permission.

Bio:  Carina Bissett is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and interstitial art. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies including Hath No Fury, Gorgon: Stories of Emergence, Mythic Delirium, NonBinary Review, and the HWA Poetry Showcase Vol. V and VI. She teaches online workshops at The Storied Imaginarium and she is a graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program at Stonecoast. Her work has been nominated for several awards including the Pushcart Prize and the Sundress Publications Best of the Net. Links to her work can be found at http://carinabissett.com.

Registration open for Spring 2020

512px-Three_little_pigs_1904_straw_houseRegistration for the Spring session of Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth is open. There will only be three sections available; time and day for workshops will be determined according to participant availability.

The Spring workshop will be ten weeks long and include six modules. The maximum word count will be 3,000 words for each module. The portfolio will include 2-3 revisions (10K max) and these sessions will take place over the course of two weeks. Workshops will begin the last week of February and will run through April. There will be no workshop during the week of the StokerCon (April 13-19). The price is $500 with a 10% discount for returning participants.

The modules for Spring 2020 will be:

  • “Three Little Pigs” & Bacterial Weaponry
  • “The Riddle” & Poison
  • “Little Match Girl” & Forest Fires
  • Alice in Wonderland & Magic Mushrooms and Depression
  • “The Emperor’s New Clothes” & Fake News
  • “Koskei the Undying” & Rejuvenation Research

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at cmariebissett@gmail.com. The fee to attend the workshop is $500, payable to cmariebissett@gmail.com via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Space is limited.

the-riddle-fairy-tale

 

 

“Within this Body of Stone I Scream” by Cassandra Schoeber

images (1)Storied Imaginarium alumna Cassandra Schoeber has published her story “Within this Body of Stone I Scream” in The Arcanist This glorious story about a little girl turning to stone came out of the module Golem Myths and Ancient Viruses & the Spark of Life in Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth.

If you are interested in how a story evolves from a workshop prompt to draft and then revision, Cassandra shares her journey in the following writer’s reflection.

Inspiration: “Growing up, I had a grandmother who was a hoarder. There was a lot of trauma in my grandmother’s past and I believe her hoarding was a reflection of this trauma. With the concept of ‘Golems’ as a writing prompt, I was inspired to write this piece using the figure of the golem as a commentary on how intergenerational trauma could evolve into hoarding of children and the effect that might have on those children’s’ lives.”

Workshop to Publication: “The concept of a Medusa-esque garden of human stone figures floated into my mind one day. I let it sit there for a couple of months until the Golem module in SFFT last fall. With that image in mind, I started writing my workshop submission, and the entire piece came to me very quickly. I wrote it in only a couple of hours. Afterward, getting feedback from my workshop classmates was crucial in helping me tighten up the loose ends. Specifically, Carina gave me great ideas to layer more stone and rock terms into the narrative. This added a depth to it that hadn’t been there in my first draft. After our final portfolio, I immediately submitted it to a magazine. They said no. So did the next magazine, and the next. Finally, 10 submissions later, The Arcanist decided to publish it. My experience with them has been fantastic. I highly recommend submitting there!”

BONUS MATERIAL

Here are a few resources on golems from the module for those of you interested in trying your own hand at a golem-inspired story:

RESOURCES

 

One seat left!

Firebird1I have one seat left in the Thursday evening workshop Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth. It’s a wickedly talented group. Participants will be writing six stories from the following topics: “Firebird” & Bioluminescence, Swan Maidens & Migratory Pathways, “Pied Piper” & Viruses, “The Nightingale” & Automatons, “The Goose Girl” & Future of Facial Recognition, and “Hansel and Gretel” & Genetic Trauma. Come join us. It’s going to be fun!
The workshop starts next week.
 
Session II: Thursday: 5:30-8 pm PDT/6:30-9 pm MDT/7:30-10 pm CDT/8:30-11 pm EDT (9/12, 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 11/7, 11/14); FRIDAY: Australia AET10:30 am-1 pm (9/13, 9/20, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/8, 11/15) Note: The time will shift forward twice for Australian participants: on October 6 (Australia shifts to DST) and again on November 3 (U.S. shifts to EST). Note: Meetings are held weekly, via Zoom (No workshop during the week of 10/28 to 11/3 due to World Fantasy)

Workshop Registration Open for Monstrous Women

Circe_Invidiosa_-_John_William_WaterhouseRegistration for Monstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic is open. There will only be two sections available; time and day for workshops will be determined according to participant availability.

The Fall workshop will be thirteen weeks long and include five modules: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides, Wicked Queens and Witchy Women, The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale, Weeping Women and the Female Descent into Madness, and The Monstrous Female Unveiled. The maximum word count will be 3,500 words for each module. The portfolio will include 2-3 revisions (10K max) and these sessions will take place over the course of the final two weeks. Workshops will begin the third week of September and will run through mid-December. There will be no workshop during the week of Thanksgiving in the United States (Nov. 25-Dec. 1). The price is $550 with a 10% discount for returning participants.

Monstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic

Week 1 (9/16-9/22): Introductions and Instructions/Module One: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides (Discussion)
Week 2 (9/23-9/29): Module One: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides (Workshop)
Week 3 (9/30-10/6): Module Two: Wicked Queens and Witchy Women (Discussion)
Week 4 (10/7-10/13): Module Two: Wicked Queens and Witchy Women (Workshop)
Week 5 (10/14-10/20): Module Three: The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale (Discussion)
Week 6 (10/21-10/27): Module Three: The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale (Workshop)
Week 7 (10/28-11/3): Module Four: Weeping Women and the Female Descent into Madness(Discussion)
Week 8 (11/4-11/10): Module Four: Weeping Women and the Female Descent into Madness(Workshop)
Week 9 (11/11-11/17): Module Five: The Monstrous Female Unveiled (Discussion)
Week 10 (11/18-11/24): Module Five: The Monstrous Female Unveiled (Workshop)
Week 11 (11/25-12/1): Revision Exercises/ NO WORKSHOP
Week 12 (12/2-12/8): Critique Etiquette and Methods (Portfolio Presentations)
Week 13 (12/9-12/15): Submission Strategies (Portfolio Presentations)

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Monstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at cmariebissett@gmail.com. The fee to attend the workshop is $550, payable to cmariebissett@gmail.com via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Space is limited.

MW5 sirens3

Intersections: Only one seat left

goose girl 5Hello everyone. The workshops for the fall section of Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth filled up fast. I only have ONE seat left for the 6:30-9 pm (MST) session on Thursday night.  The dates we will be meeting online are 9/12, 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 11/7, and 11/14. (NOTE: This ends up being in mid-morning the following  day [Friday] for participants in Australia.) We will be working with six fairy tales, and participants will be getting a second round of critique on two to three of those stories during the portfolio weeks. Time is running out. I hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be fun!

On a side note, if there is enough interest, I may open up another morning or afternoon section on Thursday or Friday. TBD

Week 1 (9/9-9/15): Introductions, Into the Dark Wood (prompts), Module 1 discussion.
Week 2 (9/16-9/22): “Firebird” & Bioluminescence, Module 2 discussion.
Week 3 (9/23-9/29): Swan Maidens & Migratory Pathways, Module 3 discussion.
Week 4 (9/30-10/6): “Pied Piper” & Viruses, Module 4 discussion.
Week 5 (10/7-10/13): “The Nightingale” & Automatons, Module 5 discussion.
Week 6 (10/14-10/20): “The Goose Girl” & Future of Facial Recognition, Module 6 discussion.
Week 7 (10/21-10/27): “Hansel and Gretel” & Genetic Trauma.
Week 8 (10/28-11/3): NO WORKSHOP
Week 9 (11/4-11/10): Portfolio Presentations
Week 10 (11/11-11/17): Portfolio Presentations