Open-Genre | Master Class

1-Day Master Class: Writing and Publishing Your Personal Stories

“Katie's input has greatly improved my own work, from draft to publication, and any student would do very well to benefit from her keen eye for edits.” - Jessica Misener, managing editor at TuneIn and former deputy editorial director at BuzzFeed

Catapult and Novella, a writing club for all women, are coming together to host a one-day master class for female-identifying students who are interested in learning how to better tell their own stories, those who have already begun essays or longer nonfiction projects, as well as those just beginning their writing lives. Together, we’ll focus on what it means to build a strong, personal story told in the writer’s most honest, captivating voice. 

Writing about one’s personal life can be both overwhelming (where to begin?) and profoundly cathartic—this class aims to create a safe, welcoming atmosphere in which to dive deeper into oneself, and to find those stories and experiences which translate best onto the page. We’ll talk about balancing scenes with introspection, establishing a narrative arc, finding one’s voice, and how to make your readers laugh (and cry) along with you. We'll also spend some time on in-class writing and sharing. A large portion of the class will be devoted to a practical and clear-eyed exploration of the publishing opportunities available to nonfiction writers, and how beginning writers can start to navigate that industry.

Writers will leave this course with a better understanding of their own voice, as well as a sense of the publication channels available to them, and how they might take the next step in their writing careers.

This class is co-sponsored by Novella.


- a clearer plan of attack and sense of direction for one’s personal writing project

- practical strategies for getting and keeping your butt in the writing chair

- a greater familiarity with what it means to write about one’s private life for the public, and the potential risks (and rewards) to consider when doing so

-a deeper understanding of publication (where, when, how)

- the support of a nurturing community of writers and readers and access to an engaged mentor

Katie Heaney

Katie Heaney is the author of two memoirs, Would You Rather? (out March 2018) and Never Have I Ever, a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Humor (2014), as well as two novels, Public Relations and Dear Emma. She lives and works as a freelance writer in Brooklyn. 


“I've worked with Katie in a variety of capacities: I've edited her, been edited by her, and worked alongside her when she oversaw a group of writers at BuzzFeed. She's patient and thorough, always able to cut through to the real heart of a piece while preserving its original voice. She's often been someone I send a draft to when I'm still in the 'WHAT IS THIS, IS THIS ANYTHING?????' phase, and she is very good at responding with a kind, firm "Yes, and here's how to make it better.”

Alanna Okun author of THE CURSE OF THE BOYFRIEND SWEATER and senior editor at Racked

“Katie has been the number one person I've approached to edit my personal writing for years. She's not only prompt and gracious, but she reads deeply where others might skim and gives helpful critical insight where others might shy away from telling you where your essay is, frankly, dragging. Katie's input has greatly improved my own work, from draft to publication, and any student would do very well to benefit from her keen eye for edits.”

Jessica Misener managing editor at TuneIn and former deputy editorial director at BuzzFeed

"What does it mean to find yourself, to know who you are and walk boldly in that truth? WOULD YOU RATHER? takes readers on that journey along with Katie, reveling in the relief and glee of finding your tribe and frolics in the exquisite joy of being a woman who loves women."

Jenna Wortham staff writer at the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE and co-host of the podcast "Still Processing"

"WOULD YOU RATHER? is an extraordinarily generous and affecting book. Katie Heaney has written something with a remarkable amount of room in it—enough for anyone to spread out and connect with. It's deeply felt, clear-eyed, joyful and illuminating. It's a beautiful and worthy companion to her first memoir, and I can't wait to see what happens next."

Mallory Ortberg author of TEXTS FROM JANE EYRE

“Katie Heaney is so hilariously fun to read that you may not notice right away how insightful she is about friendship, romance, and the essential weirdness of human relationships."