The images and narratives brought to mind by the word “mythology” are, by and large, ancient: Icarus flying too close to the sun. Osiris’s murder at the hands of his brother Set. Inanna’s descent into the Underworld. Raven creating the Earth. We tend to think of myths as ample sources of inspiration for writers of urban fantasy, perhaps, but of little use to writers of space operas, secondary world fantasies, or near-future political thrillers. But that mindset forgets that mythmaking is a vital and ongoing human impulse. We have always used narratives to understand where we came from, who we are, and why we’re here.

This workshop will focus on defining the traditions and functions of myth in order to aid writers of all kinds of speculative fiction in the creation of their own narratives. We will begin with a discussion of a few of the different functions that myths serve in every society: foundation myths, culture heroes, metaphysical explanations, and establishment of hierarchies. We will then tackle how to use these concepts to generate compelling narratives, self-aware characters, and believable worlds, whether you’re writing about a galaxy far, far away or tomorrow right here on Earth.

Workshop Details:

This class will be held online via Zoom. Students should plan to test their video and microphone in advance. Click here for more information about our Zoom policies.

If you have questions about the accessibility of the workshop, format, or content, please contact oneday@clarionwest.org.


This workshop is available to anyone aged 18 or older for a $105 fee.

Unless otherwise stated, all times listed are US Pacific Time.

We offer a limited number of scholarships for each class to Black and Indigenous writers and writers from other marginalized backgrounds on a first come, first served basis. Please email us at workshop@clarionwest.org with a one-paragraph statement about your scholarship interest and need. Please include the name of the class you would like to apply the scholarship to.

By participating in any Clarion West activity, you are agreeing to our Code of Conduct, the Clarion West Harassment Policy, and our Zoom Guidelines.

Clarion West will refund all class fees if the request is made 30 days prior to the class date. Refund requests made within 30 days of the class will be honored if we can fill the seat. Any exceptions are subject to approval by our workshop staff.