WHAT IS IT
“I recognise terror as the finest emotion… and so I will try to terrorise the reader”, says Stephen King in Danse macabre, a bizarre digressive essay in the literary genre known as “the supernatural”. If you set great store by terror and want to learn how to make your audience shiver, this is the right course for you.
However, if you want to be able to frighten as a writer, first you need to have been astonished as a reader. This is why you are going to learn from great writers how to immerse yourself in the unsettling aspect of everyday life, where rational explanations limp along and you enter into “the twilight zone”, just as the title of the legendary TV series created by Rod Serling at the end of the ’50s used to say.
To start with, you are going to try to understand what fantasy in literature is. Your bearings will be set by the definition of Tzvetan Todorov in the essay Introduction à la littérature fantastique (The Fantastic): the fantastic is that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature, confronting an apparently supernatural event.
You are going to read texts which will lead you into exploring four areas of the unsettling:
- – the impossible in everyday life. The surrendering of rational explanations to an event which seems to defy logic (you are going to read the beautiful short story by Ambrose Bierce Charles Ashmore’s Trail)
- – the life of objects, in other words stories of robots, statues, dolls and even cars which seem to become animated (you are going to focus on texts taken from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Sandman in particular)
- – phantoms, ghosts and vampires: how blurring can the borderline of the world of the alive and that of the dead be? (you are going to hear about The Fall of the House of Usher by E.A. Poe)
- – the link that does not withstand. When a misplaced detail indicates the inexplicable (here you are going to deal with the strange fate of Jim Norman, the young teacher in Stephen King’s Sometimes They Come Back).
You are not just going to read, though. Your final objective is to write a fantasy story of about 15.000 – 20.000 characters. To manage to do that, the first thing you will have to do is to answer an apparently simple question in all honesty: what are you afraid of? This is going to be your starting point, around which you are going to build your story, while keeping your balance between technical mechanisms and the fears hidden deep down in your soul. The more your inspiration will pick up from your own true personal distress, the more your story will be able to upset the reader.
Lessons will start in April and will go on for three months.
I’d like to enroll, how can I pay?
If you want to make a bank transfer, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you the details. If you want to pay online with PayPal, add the course to your cart and follow the instructions.
How does Classi-fy work?
You’ll have to follow a weekly timetable of appointments, which can be video lessons or notes to read. You’ll have deadlines to write and share your homework on Classi-fy website. You’ll read what your classmates write and you’ll be able to comment or receive feedback on what you write. You’ll be able to meet each other and talk about the lessons on the forum – ok, we already know you won’t only talk about that, but that’s part of the fun. Sometimes your teacher will post a video in which he publicly analyses the work of the class, but you’ll receive your personal evaluation also from your classmates, during the debate.
What are the technical skill necessary to take part to the course? Do I have to install a special program on my computer?
You’ll mainly work online, therefore all you need is the internet connection. On classi-fy.it website you can share your documents, watch the video lessons, download teaching material and text your classmates.
What does it happen at the end of the course?
The class will come to Scuola Holden, in Turin, in order to attend the final lesson and collect your diploma. Eventually you’ll meet everyone and, if everything is right, you’ll have a beer together in Borgo Dora to celebrate.