In this four-part workshop, develop the skills to cover nontraditional stories touching on folklore and urban legends through a research-based lens.
Have you always wondered how to seriously research and write about the mythical, mystical, or paranormal? While these topics still remain taboo in some writing circles, this workshop invites you to bring a journalistic rigor and curiosity to the myths, ghost and UFO sightings, and urban legends long woven into our culture and media.
In this course led by author and mythical writing expert Colin Dickey, you’ll learn how to cover the impossible in an essay grounded in research. Colin will equip you with the tools to do scholarly, historical research on parts of fringe culture that may be fragmented or forgotten. Through exercises and direct feedback, you’ll learn to avoid clichés and ask the kinds of questions that will lead to answers that set your story apart. By the end of the course, you’ll have written a serious, sustained, and competent essay that brings an urban legend, folktale, or cultural history to life.
Syllabus at a Glance
This course includes four total sessions, each lasting 1.5 hours on four consecutive Thursdays beginning May 9.
Session 1 (Thursday, 5/9, 7–8:30 PM ET) | Identifying your story
We’ll discuss our topics and brainstorm for those without one.
Session 2 (Thursday, 5/16, 7–8:30 PM ET) | Doing the research
We'll delve into your chosen topics using both traditional and some more unconventional research methods.
Session 3 (Thursday, 5/23, 7–8:30 PM ET) | Writing, writing, and more writing!
We'll take the plunge of getting our pens to paper and keyboards to screen.
Session 4 (Thursday, 5/30, 7-8:30 PM ET) | Sharing, revising, and pitching
In our final session, we'll share our work, talk through some revision possibilities, and explore how to pitch your piece for publishing.
No supplies are required; students will be given optional reading assignments, which will be easily accessible via the web or pdf handouts.
Students will be given optional assignments between sessions, including short reading assignments (all of which will be easily accessible via the web or pdf handouts). There will also be writing prompts and exercises to help aid in research and writing. You can spend as much or as little time on assignments as you'd like—this class is what you make of it!
In addition to full-price tickets, a limited number of no-pay spots are available for this course. Please note that these tickets are reserved for those who would not otherwise be able to take this course and who expect to attend all sessions. No-pay spots are distributed via a randomized drawing two weeks before each course begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.
Community Guidelines for Students
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Atlas Obscura Online Courses
Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.
Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.
Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.
Colin Dickey is the author of five books of nonfiction, including Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places; The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained; and, most recently, Under the Eye of Power: How Fear of Secret Societies Shapes American Democracy. He has written extensively on urban legends, hoaxes and conspiracy theories, cryptids and ghosts, and he hosts a monthly talk for Atlas Obscura titled Monster of the Month.
This is an interactive, small-group seminar that meets over Zoom. Students may be encouraged to participate in discussions, work on assignments outside of class, and workshop projects with their instructor or classmates. Due to the interactive nature of this course, we strongly recommend students attend as many live sessions as possible. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.
Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.
We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.
There are 30 spots available on this experience.
Thu, May 9, 20247:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.$215