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Monstrous Women

800px-John_William_Waterhouse_-_Magic_CircleMonstrous Women: A Feminist Approach to Myth and Magic

This intensive, online writing workshop explores the theme of monstrous women in literature and myth. Each module throughout the course focuses on 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 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 thirteen (13) weeks, participants will write a total of five (5) pieces of speculative fiction based on every other 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.

This immersive course is designed to accommodate flexible scheduling options with no more than six (6) 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. The five (5) modules in Monstrous Women are 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. 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.

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)

NOTE: Specific days and time for meetings will be set based on participant availability. In the past, meetings have typically occurred mid-morning during the week (this translates to early evening for students in Europe), and mid-afternoon or early evening during the week (accessible for participants working 17-18 hours ahead in Australian time zones).

In each section, participants will be reading five (5) modules, which will be available two (2) weeks PRIOR to the discussion for each module. Participants new to Storied Imaginarium workshops will be meeting the second week of September for orientation. After that, there will be one story due every other week based on the modules. The final two weeks are dedicated to revisions of two to three (2-3) stories, which will be presented in portfolio.

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 via Zoom, 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 2-3 stories generated in workshop, which will be presented during the final two meetings.

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 a maximum of five (5) participants in each session.

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 The fee to attend the workshop is $550, 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. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Registration packet includes detailed information on each module, expectations and etiquette, and educational materials. Space is limited.

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