The best writing is like a spell.
The words draw you in, bewitch you until you're living inside them. Sometimes, that’s because they’re built to sound like spells - to evoke that cadence and magic. Think, Shakespeare’s iconic Weird Sisters or the everyday enchantment of Theodora Goss’s “Why You Might Be a Witch.” They’re incantations with ingredients, a road map.
But sometimes, writing feels like a spell because both are agents of change. They make something happen. Even if that’s just creating a new emotion, a new picture, a welling-up in the heart of the reader.
The best writing - the words that sparkle and stun, that jump off the page and grab you - is also like a conversation.
Ten years ago, we wrote our first poem together, passing a spiral notebook back and forth as we sat roasting in the heat of a Virginia summer, fingers sticky with chlorine. It was about the Snow Queen (a rather desperate counterpoint to the weather), and the poem...unfolded, step by step, stanza by stanza as we traded off the notebook.
(The poem was published and nominated for the Pushcart Prize a few months later, and we’ve been writing together ever since.)
Of course, conversation doesn’t always have to be so literal. You don’t have to sit there and dialogue in real-time with a co-writer. But conversations are always simmering below the surface, especially in writing steeped in fairy tales and folklore. A Cinderella retelling is in conversation with all the versions that came first, circling Perrault, flirting with the Grimms, waving at D’Aulnoy. A Persephone poem is talking back to the myth, and to the trove of poems and songs and stories that came before it.
The deeper the conversation, the richer the writing grows.
And when you have a community who gets it, who wants to talk with you, write with you, go deep into the stories with you...you can really make some magic.
Write your words. Cast your spell.
Welcome to Carmina.
~ July 31st, 2021 ~
Okay wait, so what is this exactly?
CARMINA is a writing workshop that will take place on July 31st, 2021. The word Carmina means multiple things in Latin - song, poem, chant, AND spell. It's the perfect word to welcome fairy-tale poets and fantastical prose witches to our virtual workshop!
As with Spellcraft, our first workshop last year, wanted to make this as accessible as possible - for different experience and comfort levels, for how much time the workshop requires, and for different price points (because 2021 continues to be... a bit difficult.)
Our solution once again is to provide different doors. (If you’ve been around Carterhaugh for a while, you know Sara and Brittany are complete suckers for magic doors.)
Carmina has three doors that lead to three different experiences. If you’re looking for a chill, low-intensity experience (that’s still packed with resources and writing exercises), we’ve got you. If you’re ready to have your own writing discussed, we are here for it! And if you want hands-on, personalized critiques and consultations from Sara and Brittany, BRING IT. Whatever experience you choose, we’re thrilled to have you.
We’ll warn you upfront though - while unlimited writers may go through the Door of the Curious, we’re committed to providing an intimate, high-impact critiquing session. This means that options #2 and #3 are are very limited : 12, to be exact!! If you want our eyes on your work, you’ve got to move fast before those 12 seats are gone! SOLD OUT! But you can still join us through the Door of the Curious!
We can’t wait to see which door you choose... and to meet you on the other side!
Choose your door...
(and then click on it to enroll!)
The Door of the Word Witch
Live Lecture #1 - "How to Retell a Fairy Tale"
Live Lecture #2 - "How to Write an Ekphrastic Art Poem"
A Retelling Fairy Tales
An Art Poetry
5 Writing Quests Access to Our Private Workshop Group on Facebook
Live Critique Session on August 1st
+ A Personal ConsultSOLD OUT
Enrollment is OPEN Until 7/23 at MIDNIGHT EDT
More details about everything behind each door...
Live Lecture #1 - "How To Retell a Fairy Tale" - In our last workshop, we talked about retelling fairy tales... what works, what doesn't... but this time, we're actually going to give you strategies and techniques for starting to write one of your very own!
Live Lecture #2 - "How to Write an Ekphrastic Art Poem" - This second live video lecture will be a practical guide to writing your own ekphrastic poems - poems based on another piece of art. Plus we'll create one together LIVE!
A Retelling Fairy Tales PDF Guide AND An Art Poetry PDF Guide - Two beautifully designed guides full of resources!
A Booklet of 5 Writing Quests - A PDF booklet containing 5 writing quests that you'll get access to immediately upon signing up. These quests will get you excited and thinking about folklore and writing while you wait for the workshop on the 31st!
Access to Our Private Workshop Group on Facebook - Join your classmates in discussing the lectures, sharing quests, and making friends!
Intimate, Live Critique (MAX 12) - In two live sessions on August 1st, the day after the main workshop, you’ll gather with Sara, Brittany, and your classmates to discuss your own work in a guided critique session. You’ll leave armed with feedback to take your work to the next level, plus useful insights from hearing other pieces discussed. There is nothing quite like a live critique session, and if you haven't experienced one before you're in for a treat - but hurry, this option sold out last time!! SOLD OUT Personal Consult with Sara and Brittany - Want Sara and Brittany’s personal attention? Through the door of the word witch, you’ll access an hour-long two-on-one consultation where we dig deep into your manuscript, listen to your questions and concerns, and offer insights, suggestions, and encouragement! We’ll help you polish your work until it shines. SOLD OUT
If you’re wondering if this workshop is for you, the simple answer is this: if you weave fairy tales and folklore into your writing (or you want to learn more about how to do so!) then CARMINA is for you. Whether you’re dipping your toes into creative writing for the first time or you’re a published author, you’ll get access to tools that will support you in your craft, exercises to help you grow, and inspiration to keep you moving forward.
Time for Some Real Talk
You might be pretty freaked out at the idea of sharing your writing. The word “critique” might make you curl up and die a little on the inside. But what you’re going to get here is constructive criticism and kindness. We want you to tell us what kind of feedback is most useful to you right now, and Sara and Brittany and the community will deliver.
We're constantly saying how amazing the Carterhaugh community is, but we don't think we've ever managed to explain what that actually means. "Community" sounds pretty vague, and you might be wondering what this is really like in practice.
Here's the deal. Our community - the students and friends and magic seekers that have found their way into our courses - have been the biggest surprise and the best part of Carterhaugh. It's not something we anticipated, but it's not an exaggeration to say that it's why we're still here, teaching courses online in a job that's better than anything we could have imagined. It's because of YOU.
If you want connection, if you want to hang out and learn and hone your craft in a low-key way with other wonderful people, this workshop, and this community, is for you. If folklore infuses your writing, and you're looking for others who are enthusiastic, creative, imaginative, and kind, welcome home.
Carterhaugh grew from our love of fairy tales and our own friendship with each other. Carterhaugh is still here and thriving because of the what came after: our community.
We are feminists and disability scholars who support
the LGBTQ+ community
and believe that Black lives matter.
We, Dr. Sara Cleto and Dr. Brittany Warman, are award-winning folklorists, teachers, and writers with a combined 26 years in higher education and over three dozen publications. Together, we founded The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic, teaching creative souls how to re-enchant their lives through folklore and fairy tales. In 2019, Carterhaugh won the Dorothy Howard Award from the American Folklore Society.
When we aren’t teaching at Carterhaugh, we're scholars, writers and best friends who have published peer-reviewed articles, appeared on podcasts, sold stories and poems, written book introductions and encyclopedia entries, and written for magazines and blogs. (We’ve also been known to crush “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at karaoke.) We're regular writers for Enchanted Living Magazine, and we also deliver sold-out lectures at venues like the Smithsonian, the Profs & Pints series, the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the Contemporary American Theater Festival, and FaerieCon.
We write compulsively and have since we were kids. The number of terrible manuscripts written in our teens are many, and they will never see the light of day. But we gleefully bullied each other into publishing our poetry and prose when we met a decade ago, and we’ve never looked back. We've been published by Uncanny Magazine, Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, Apex Magazine, Liminality, Corvid Queen, Sycorax Journal, Polu Texni, Mirror Dance, Jabberwocky, Cabinet des Fees, and many more. We have been nominated for numerous awards, and you can find links to some of our work here and here. We also taught writing and composition for a combined 10 years at the Ohio State University, and we’re so ridiculously excited to bring it to our Carterhaugh community for the first time with this workshop.
Check out some of the wonderful things that have been said
about our classes!
Video on Working with Us on Creative Writing from Claire Thomas!!
“Finding Carterhaugh School is like stumbling into Rivendell. It's a magical place where learning, enchantment, creativity, joy, and community flourish. Sara and Brittany's expertise and infectious love of fairy tales creates a beautiful and supportive environment. I would highly recommend their courses to anyone with a heartfelt love of learning, connecting, and enchantment in everyday life.” - Keziah Baltz
“My day job is frustrating at best and has very little room for creativity or imagination or connection with like-minded humans. The course I participated in brought magic and inspiration and human connection into my world during a time of stress and uncertainty. I love stories and I love learning more about cultures and histories around the world. This course was delightful and worth every penny!” - Genevieve Oryan
“Carterhaugh is an amazing, enchanted place. Sara and Brittany are the best teachers - full of knowledge, intelligence, warmth, insight, playfulness and creativity. The community they have created has attracted students with those same wonderful qualities. I'm constantly amazed, and deeply touched, by the love, support and acceptance I have found here, and am stimulated intellectually and creatively by the lessons, and from what everyone shares and creates. I feel truly blessed to have found such a magical place, and such magical people.” - Debi Cady
"If, in childhood, you ever checked for wolves lurking behind trees; or planted "magic" seeds, then watched for a beanstalk; or rubbed Grandmother's antique brass lamp, wishing... wishing.... then, The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic is for you. Brittany and Sara expertly lead us to the gate whereby grown-ups may enter that Enchanted Realm ~ and then, literally, share with us "the Key." Beautiful and entertaining, the Long Course on The Fairy Tale fulfilled in me both the scholarly adult and the little girl still longing for enchantment. Please let me know how soon we may enroll in the next course from the Carterhaugh School." - Connie Todd Lila
“Brittany and Sara are masters of their craft. Not only are they both extremely knowledgeable about what they teach. They are also GOOD teachers. They are warm, friendly, and funny. They give just the right amount of work. They encourage GENTLENESS. They foster an environment of true communication and trust. I felt uplifted and held by the people in the class and I think that's the people they attract to them energetically but also the way the course is designed gives people permission to share and connect in a deeper way. Thank you for this wonderful experience. I am pretty sure the course was discounted? I would gladly pay double.” - Emily Newhouse
“I am so thrilled to enjoy our Carterhaugh community. You are both creating something that sparkles with genuineness and a love for sharing truth. The openness and generosity of both of you inspires this whole community.” - Kristin Baum
“Carterhaugh courses feed my mind and soul, make me a better version of me.” - Marsha A. Moore
"Carterhaugh is more than a school it's your very own fairy tale family.” - Karen Ravenscroft-Wheeler
"What kind of writing is a good fit for the critique session?" - Any writing that draws on folklore is a welcome addition! We want to see fairy-tale retellings, selkie poems, memoirs that intertwine with Hades and Persephone, creative non-fiction shaped by urban legends or family folklore. If you’re not sure if you’re a good fit, email us and we can answer your questions!
“What length should my submission for the critique session be?” - This will vary depending on what kind of writing you’re submitting, but we welcome up to 3 poems OR 1 short story OR 1 chapter OR 1 article. We ask that you limit yourself to 7000 words or less.
"Is this different from Spellcraft?" - YES! If you purchased our Spellcraft workbook and/or participated in our initial Spellcraft workshop last year, this will be a totally different experience with brand new materials and lectures. If you enjoyed Spellcraft, we think you'll love Carmina too!
"Um, what exactly IS Carterhaugh?" - The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic is an award-winning online school dedicated to classes on fairy tales, folklore, and all things fantastic. It was created by Sara and Brittany in 2016 as a place for those who dreamed of elven battles while studying economics, those who have always sworn they could see ghosts, and those who longed for a school of magic to send them an unexpected acceptance letter. We aim to use our knowledge and passion for these subjects to share their wonder, solidify their importance in society, and spread a bit of magic into the world. Want to know more? Check out our "About" page by clicking here!
"When will I hear from you/get access to everything?" - You will receive an email from us right after you enroll, and then another at 10AM on July 31st with a link to the workshop materials. The workshop will take place live on July 31st starting with the first lecture at 12PM EDT. The two live critique sessions will take place the following day, August 1st.
"What if I can’t be there live on the 31st/1st?" - The PDFs and live video lectures will stay up at least for the next year. If you are participating in the critique session on August 1st, however, you must be there live, or your piece will not be discussed. We also expect you to attend both sections of the critique session - not only is it the right thing to do (help those who help you!), but listening to critiques and providing your own critiques of others' work can help your own writing immeasurably!
“Guys, I love this, but money is SO tight right now….” - We understand this feel so hard. Money is tight for so many. This is why we’ve made multiple doors and price points for this workshop. We're also offering payment plans to help you find an option that works. Our school is an investment, and it’s one that you deserve - we know our community and the magic we make together is worth it, and we would love for you to join us.
"Do you have a refund policy?" - Due to the small scale of this event, we cannot offer refunds for this workshop. We are very happy to talk with you before you sign up to make sure that you feel confident about your investment, and we’re working like mad to make this a stellar and useful experience for you. Please reach out if you have any concerns!
As always, if you have additional questions at any time, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Open your mind to tales and your heart to magic.
The doors are open...
but only until July 23rd at Midnight EDT!
Click a Door to Purchase!
(The Door of the Seeker and the Door of the Word Witch are sold out and locked!
The Door of the Curious option, however, has unlimited spots!)
If You've Read This Far...
If you've read this far, there is something about this workshop that resonates for you.
You can be the magical writer you want to be.
Join us at Carterhaugh - you won't regret it.
© Carterhaugh LLC