Subvert the Trope! Storytelling Workshop with Haley Isleib

My Account
List Price: $199.00
This item is currently unavailable or out of stock.

Get ready to write! This course will take you from freewriting to peer-reviewed pages of a new story. Along the way, we’ll be intentionally using, subverting and smashing common tropes to generate and revise our work.

The course is intended for all writers. Many of the published stories we will examine will be from genres such as fantasy, fairytale and science fiction. We will also use film and television references in our discussions. However, tropes and archetypes are identifiable across all genres and the class will be useful whether you write contemporary literary fiction or epic undersea dystopias set on far away planets.


February 18 - March 18, 2019               


  • Write and receive feedback on up to 10 pages of prose.
  • Explore archetypes, tropes and clichés to discover ways to use these concepts to spark ideas for stories, build and structure stories, and create delight and surprise for readers.
  • Build skills to identify story tropes in stories you read and in your own writing.
  • Receive and provide useful feedback on writing assignments, which will help you revise work.
  • By the end of this course, you will be able to identify tropes that resonate for you, and have tools to use this knowledge to create new fiction.


Week 1 - We will develop a solid definition of a story trope (and cousin concepts like archetype and cliché) through reading assignments and discussion. Our writing this week will be informal freewriting to loosen up our trope-muscles and explore which tropes you might use for future assignments.

Week 2 - In our readings, we’ll examine methods for subverting tropes and upending expectation. Our writing this week will be up to ten pages of new fiction using a trope as a starting point. Write a short story or start something longer!

Week 3 - We’ll take a closer look at how story tropes arise from their cultural context and storytelling milieu. We’ll read and give feedback on each other’s pages and work on revising our own pages. You may be given personalized exercises tailored to your story.

Week 4 - We will explore a case study of one recent trope and how it evolved. We will turn in our revised pages and discuss what’s next for your story.


Haley Isleib writes in Portland, Oregon. She’s a fan of Story, all kinds in any format--books, movies, games, graphic novels, poems, miscellany found abandoned at bus stops, etc. Her writing has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Every Day Fiction, Plasm and Fireweed: Poetry of Western Oregon, and she is the recipient of a fellowship in poetry from Literary Arts of Oregon. Her script Drones & Drivers won the Feature Script category at the Other Worlds Austin screenwriting competition in 2015 and her short films have screened in festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. She is currently a judge for the NYC Midnight Writing competitions.


She holds an MFA in Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, with a focus on Writing for Young People. She’s the Programming Coordinator for the Oregon Writers Colony Annual Conference and volunteers with the Cascade Writers Workshop. Find more at




Interested in this course? Let us know.

* indicates required

Interested in this course? Let us know.

* indicates required

Interested in this course? Let us know.

* indicates required