This October, PBL had our first writing intensive, led by our prose editor, Zoe Darazsdi (pictured below)
Writing the Horror Story ran for four Saturdays in October. Five participants, one instructor, and four authors created an intimate space. Zoe is pictured holding collections from acclaimed speculative writers such as Karen Russell and Carmen Maria Machado.
"For the workshop aspect, I was inspired to acknowledge some of the tropes of writing and then fragment them for my own purposes. I was also inspired by the vivid stories we read, which were often written by women," says Sam Levson.
Naturally they looked at classical stories such as "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, as well as "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Conner. But contemporary stories such as Machado's "The Husband Stitch" , and Karen Russell's "Reeling for the Empire" also held their weight in the discussion of craft.
Bee Fanty describes the intensive as "the perfect mix of craft and content analysis", with Erin Leso noting that "the conversations and writing exercises always kept my interest while learning about a genre that was very new for me."
As an instructor, Zoe is not afraid to dive into the context that each writer's experience brings to the construction of these stories. As you can see with the range of the fiction included, there is always more to be added to make a canon serve as more of a dialogue. We want to thank everyone (Bee Fanty, Erin Leso, Sam Levson, and Kelly Vulfolaic) who took the time to engage with this intensive, and are excited to expand for the next one!