Monstrous Women I: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic

​Monstrous Women I: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic

800px-John_William_Waterhouse_-_Magic_CircleThis intensive, online writing workshop explores the theme of monstrous women in literature and myth. Each module throughout the course focuses of a certain subset of women such as Goddesses or Witches, but it doesn’t take long to see that these women refuse to stay in their prescribed roles. The women selected for this workshop are magical in many different ways and, as such, defy definition. There are the queens, who also happen to be witches. There are the mothers, who also happen to be goddesses. There are tragic figures, women transformed, and femme fatales. They all have stories to be told. And you will be the ones to tell them.

The characters for this course have been selected from a broad scope of public domain works ranging from classical literature such as The Odyssey to fantastic tales such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We will explore goddesses and queens, monsters and mothers, soothsayers and shapeshifters. From the familiar to the obscure, these monstrous women seduce and beguile, pushing writers to take a closer look at the labels pasted on women who behave badly— whether they are supernatural or not.

Over the course of 16 weeks, participants will write a total of 6 pieces of speculative fiction based on each week’s readings and prompts. (In this case, speculative fiction includes all of the categories and sub-genres under the primary genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.) This intense practicum has been created with the intention of creating a safe community for discussion and feedback in a semi-formal fiction workshop setting. Although this course has been created primarily for writers working at an intermediate level, it’s open to all writers looking to develop their craft.

John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_Crystal_BallThis immersive course is designed to accommodate flexible scheduling options with no more than five participants assigned to each workshop. While craft development is included in the workshop process, the primary focus of this course is on the exploration of monstrous women in classic literature and myth as a way of providing seed material for original stories. There are six modules included in Monstrous Women I: Great Goddesses of Death and Destruction, Matriarchal Monsters and First Females, Wicked Queens and Bloody Crowns, Witchy Women and Enchanted Attacks, The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale, and Lesbian Vampires and Lost Souls. Weekly meetings alternate between discussions and workshops. Module materials include introductory information, select excerpts, resource links, popular re-tellings, quotes & trivia, writing prompts, and discussion questions.

Participants will have access to a private Facebook forum and will be expected to submit stories 2-3 days prior to workshop in order to allow other participants the time to read and comment on each piece. This should be viewed as a generative process. There are no expectations for polished drafts at this stage. During the workshop, which is held online, writers will be reading their stories and then receiving roundtable feedback. Writers will be assigned a weekly meeting time according to scheduling preferences and are expected to participate in the critique process. At the end of the course, participants will work on the revision of 2-4 portfolio pieces, which will be discussed at the end of the semester.

Participants are expected to have access to a computer with Internet connections and a webcam. (Headphones are suggested.) Other requirements include the ability to access Google Docs and basic programs including Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader. (Access to Pinterest and YouTube are suggested, but not required for this course.) Workshops are limited to 5 participants in each session.

Session I: Meets Wednesdays; 10 am-12:30 pm PST, 11 am-1:30 pm MST, 1-3:30 pm EST, via Skype; 8/2-11/29; Class does NOT meet on 8/9 (WorldCon) or on 11/22 (Thanksgiving Break). Full.

Session II: Meets Fridays; 2:30-5 pm PST, 3:30-6 pm MST, 5:30-8 pm EST, via Skype; 8/4-12/1; Class does NOT meet on 8/11 (WorldCon) or on 11/24 (Thanksgiving Break). One (1) seat remaining.

Session III: Meets Thursdays; 5-7:30 PST, 6-8:30 MST, 8-10:30 EST, via Skype; 8/17-12/14; Class does NOT meet on 9/28 or 11/23 (Thanksgiving Break). Four (4) seats remaining.

Circe_Invidiosa_-_John_William_WaterhouseFall Schedule 2017 — Monstrous Women Section I  (Registration: $450)

Week One — Introductions and Instructions

Week Two — Module One Discussion: Great Goddesses of Death and Destruction

Week Three — Module One Workshop: Great Goddesses of Death and Destruction

Week Four  –Module Two Discussion: Matriarchal Monsters and First Females

Week Five — Module Two Workshop: Matriarchal Monsters and First Females

Week Six — Module Three Discussion: Wicked Queens and Bloody Crowns

Week Seven — Module Three Workshop: Wicked Queens and Bloody Crowns

Week Eight — Module Four Discussion: Witchy Women and Enchanted Attacks

Week Nine — Module Four Workshop: Witchy Women and Enchanted Attacks

Week Ten — Module Five Discussion: The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale

Week Eleven — Module Five Workshop: The Seductive Allure of the Femme Fatale

Week Twelve — Module Six Discussion: Lesbian Vampires and Lost Souls

Week Thirteen — Module Six Workshop: Lesbian Vampires and Lost Souls

Week Fourteen — Revision Exercises

Week Fifteen — Critique Etiquette and Methods (Portfolio Presentations)

Week Sixteen — Submission Strategies (Portfolio Presentations)

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Monstrous Women I: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Myth, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at The fee to attend the workshop is $450, payable to via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. (Payment plans available upon request.) Returning students receive a 10% discount. Registration packet includes detailed information on each module, expectations and etiquette, and educational materials. Space is limited.

“The monster always escapes because it refuses easy categorization… This refusal to participate in the classificatory ‘order of things’ is true of Monsters generally: they are disturbing hybrids whose externally incoherent bodies resist attempts to include them in any systematic structuration. And so the monster is dangerous, a form suspended between forms that threatens to smash distinctions.” — Jeffrey Jerome Cohen

NOTE: Monstrous Women II will be offered in Spring 2018 and will include the following modules: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides, The Monstrous Female Unveiled, Weeping Women and Tearful Prophecies, The Female Descent into Hysteria and Madness, Women’s Vengeance Unleashed, and Mayhem in Numbers and the Sacred Three. No prerequisites. (Participants do NOT need to take Monstrous Women I to be eligible for Monstrous Women II.)Registration will open in September.  Space is limited.



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