In Bleak Midwinter: Writing the Ghost Story

Saturday, February 8th, from 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

In a sense, all stories are ghost stories. They memorialize the past and resurrect people, moments, and things already departed. A published story will inevitably outlive its author. Most great writers have tried their hands at ghost stories, several with legendary success—Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, William Faulkner, Muriel Spark, Angela Carter, and A.S. Byatt. Some have gained fame by frightening readers—Edgar Allen Poe, Sheridan Le Fanu, M.R. James, Stephen King—while many minor authors of literary fiction—Rosemary Timperley, Algernon Blackwood, and Robert Aickman, to name just a few— have written great tales of the supernatural which have become immortal in their own right.

In this one-day workshop we will discuss the tradition of the ghost story and its manifestations in gothic horror, Victorian mystery, technological alienation, and madness. We will anatomize the elements of the good ghost story—atmosphere, plot, pacing, deft characterization, psychological suspense, and the red herring detail. The workshop will give us time to read and discuss some quintessential short fiction in this genre, share the phantom lore of New England, and begin writing ghost stories of our own in class. At the end of the day, I will furnish suggestions for further reading and criticism as well as a list of magazines that welcome ghost story submissions. For my short article on the evolution of the contemporary ghost story, see

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Nicole Elizabeth Miller

Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • Generate New Work
  • Study Published Writing
  • In-Class Writing
  • Class Discussion


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Poetry

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