The New Myth with Francesca Lia Block

Blend your personal experience with a traditional myth from any culture to create a story that is both timeless and uniquely yours.

Your Instructor: Francesca Lia Block (author of House of Hearts)

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $375

Class Description

This four-week class helps students create their own “new myth” based on an existing tale from any culture. By studying characterization, plot, setting, voice and theme, and exploring their personal experience, students rewrite an existing myth or create one of their own. 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 forthcoming novel House of Hearts, 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: Picking a myth, character and theme

What draws us to myths? They can be used to explain phenomena, establish and maintain order in society, and as expressions of human nature.

Assignment: Pick one myth that has affected you and give us a brief summary of the story and an explanation as to why it resonates thematically, or how you might want to change the meaning in your revision. Then write a brief description of a personal life event that in some way relates to this myth. Finally, create a character with a gift, flaw, want, need and potential to grow on an arc through conflict with an antagonist.

Week 2: Plot and setting

Many myths follow a basic three-act structure. For example:

Part I: Orpheus loves his wife Eurydice. She is bitten by a snake and dies. Part II: He goes into the underworld to rescue her. Part III: He is unable to do so and is killed by the maenads.

Joseph Campbell studied myths and created an overview of their structure--The Hero’s Journey. Maureen Murdock adapted this into a more “feminine” version, The Heroines Journey.

All structure employs setting in some way--often a character will start out in one setting and then leave in the second part of the story and return in the third. Even if the character stays in one place, their personal journey is often marked by internal change that in turn affects the space around them.

Assignment: Please write a brief outline of your story using some outside source, including, possibly, the original myth itself, as a guide. Pay attention to setting as well.

Week 3: Voice

Voice is important in any story. What voice will you use to tell your myth? How will the voice draw on aspects of traditional story telling? How will you make the voice, unique, original, your own?

Assignment: Write a scene from your story and then revise it to create the strongest voice possible.

Week 4: Putting it all together

Assignment: Write a 10-15 page new myth considering character, theme, plot, setting and voice.

Goals Of This Class

  • How to use ancient stories for inspiration
  • How to bring personal experience to their writing
  • How to create dimensional characters
  • How to create a plot based on traditional structure
  • How to use different settings to enhance plot
  • How to make myths relevant through voice and theme
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