This class is for writers of funny fiction, and takes a practical as well as theoretical approach. In addition to workshopping one another's original work, we will ask the very basic question: "What makes writing funny?" and break down scenes from humorous works of published literary fiction to better understand how writers make us laugh, and how we can use these lessons to infuse our work with our own, unique comic sensibilities.
If you'd like to polish and improve your humorous tone, dialogue, and characters, and/or you hope to use humor or comedy to add tension and further plot in your work, this workshop will be a safe and friendly space to find feedback and gain ideas and tools for revision, and for refining your own voice on the page in everything you write going forward.
In addition to examining our own pieces through our workshop's group discussions and feedback, we'll read and discuss excerpts and short stories from published works by a diverse group of modern and contemporary writers like Ian Frazier, Mateo Askaripour, Miriam Toews, and Ottessa Moshfegh to strengthen our understanding of how writers make their fiction funny. Our readings will serve as examples of different sub-genres under the umbrella of humorous fiction, from satire to slapstick, and we will discuss all work in the context of key terms and themes.
This class is best for writers with previous workshop experience. Students who have already taken this class are welcome to repeat; concepts will remain the same but readings and approaches will be varied.
Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility.
Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.
- 2 (two) 40-minute workshops of their original fiction (short stories or novels excerpts, each submission ranging from 20-30 pages)
- More robust understanding of how humor works in fiction, and how you can employ this understanding in your own work
- The opportunity to meet with the instructor for a one-on-one conference of 45 minutes to an hour to discuss their work.
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Each week, students will read two workshop submissions, providing written and verbal feedback, and one piece of published writing. In addition, each student will turn in two pieces of their own fiction for workshop. No nonfiction may be submitted.
WEEK ONE: SATIRE
WEEK TWO: SATIRE PART 2; workshop
WEEK THREE: SATIRE PART 3; workshop
WEEK FOUR: TRAGEDY + TIME; workshop
WEEK FIVE: WIT; workshop
WEEK SIX: BLACK HUMOR; workshop
WEEK SEVEN: BLUE HUMOR; workshop
WEEK EIGHT: UNDERSTATEMENT AND DEADPAN; workshop
WEEK NINE: ANTIHEROES/UNLIKABLE NARRATORS; workshop
WEEK TEN: COURSE GLOSSARY; workshop
Liv Stratman is a writer and humorist whose first novel, Cheat Day, was published by Scribner in 2021. She writes and hosts the newsletter/podcast A REASON TO LIVE. A few days a week, Liv serves up drinks and book recommendations at the East Village’s Book Club Bar. She is at work on her second novel.
photo credit: Savannah Lauren
"Sexy, witty and down-to-earth, Cheat Day tackles the truths about our modern occupations with wellness, relationships and what it means to be happy. What a pleasure it was to be introduced to the wholly original comic voice of Liv Stratman in this engaging debut."
"An absorbing, humorous, and nuanced exploration of the human desire for variety, the wellness industrial complex, and the overlapping cravings for sustenance in our lives: comestible, amorous, and lustful."
"Along with stellar characterization, Stratman beautifully (and often with humor) captures the complexities of long-term relationships and the ways deprivation and indulgence are intricately intertwined. . . . A funny, wise, and winning debut."
"I wish I could take Liv's class again. This was the most fun I had in a college course so far, and I learned a lot too."
"Liv is a really great teacher and always made everyone feel like our opinion mattered."
"Great teacher! The class had hard assignments, but she explains everything as much as she can, she even pushed our paper back to make sure we understood everything. Oh, and she's hilarious! Fun class!! "
"I love liv! As much as I hate English, I'm sad that I can't have her for my teacher anymore. I've never had a teacher so invested in her students and their understanding of the material. She's incredibly easy to meet with outside of class as well. It was easy going to class every day bc she makes them fun. Take her class! You won't be sorry!!"