Craft a contemporary fairy tale using classical inspirations: multifaceted characters, enthralling plot twists, mesmerizing otherworlds, and timeless themes.
Your Instructor: Francesca Lia Block, author of the Weetzie Bat Books and The Thorn Necklace
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: April 14, 2020 - May 12, 2020
Everyone loves a good fairy tale; there's a reason they're classic. But how do you blend those elements into a modern story?
This four-week class looks at the way traditional fairy and folk tales can inspire contemporary literature through characterization, plot, setting, style and theme. Students will create and/or revise their own fairy or folk tales (a contemporary retelling of an existing tale or a story containing certain elements of the original), either starting from scratch in response to the assignments or developing a work in progress. Each week you will receive a brief lecture, a discussion topic and an assignment.
Your instructor, Francesca Lia Block, is the author of over twenty-five acclaimed and award-winning works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, including the memoir/writing guide The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process and the cult classic Dangerous Angels: Weetzie Bat Books.
What This Class Covers
Week 1: Introduction and Character
After defining the fairy tale, picking one as inspiration and sharing it with the class, we will begin to look at character. In traditional fairy tales, the main character is often inherently “good” or “gifted” while the contemporary hero/ine is both gifted and flawed, with room to grow on their arc. Traditional characters can be “stock types” while contemporary characters are usually more nuanced. We will discuss ways to create dimensional protagonists (and antagonists) based on the traditional characters in the original tales.
Week 2: Plot
The scholar Vladimir Propp categorized thirty-one elements of the traditional tale. We will look at these elements as a way to inspire or expand plot through conflict.
Week 3: Setting
Many traditional tales take the protagonist into an “otherworld” in the middle of the story. We will look at how to utilize a literal or figurative otherworld to expand the story and challenge the protagonist.
Week 4: Voice and Theme
For our final assignment, we will discuss the traditional fairy tale voice versus the contemporary voice. We will also look at the themes that attracted us to the original stories in the first place and examine the personal themes we want to add or emphasize.
Goals Of This Class
You will learn:
- Definitions of fairy tales
- How to create dimensional characters based on traditional tropes
- How to create a complex plot using the fairy tale and the work of Vladimir Propp as inspiration.
- How to create an “otherworld” to test the character
- How to create magic through voice
- How to develop themes that are of most relevance to the writer
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
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