Online | Open-Genre | Workshop

2-Week Open-Genre Generative Workshop: Manipulating Time

How do writers make use of recurrent time, flashbacks, flash forwards, compressed time, summary, fragmented time, stuck time, and more?

In this two-day generative workshop, we will investigate some of the many creative ways to play with time in your writing. We'll look at examples from writers like Ross Gay, Dawn Davies, and Robin Wall Kimmerer to help understand how other writers effectively manipulate time, and then we’ll use a variety of writing exercises to practice these moves in our own work.

This course is appropriate for nonfiction or fiction writers at any stage of the writing process. Writers will leave this class with tools for manipulating the passage of time, and newly generated writing that plays with these tools either as part of an ongoing writing project or something wholly new.

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.  


- Manipulating time can be one of the most effective tools to focus your reader in on what's important, to change the narrative pace, and to effectively mirror the strange non-linearity of lived experience

- Generate new, exciting writing during class time

- Read examples and engage in lively conversations with other students

- Have the option to share work-in-progress during class and receive quick feedback

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students will write in both class sessions and will have a writing prompt and reading to complete between sessions. Students will have the option to share work-in-progress during class and receive on-the-spot feedback from the instructor and other students.


Week 1: Introductions, techniques for manipulating time, examples, writing prompts

Week 2: sharing works in progress, more techniques, examples, writing prompts, putting it all together, final sharing

Tessa Fontaine

Tessa Fontaine is the author of The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts, a New York Times Editors' Choice, finalist for the Utah Book Award, and best book of 2018 from Southern Living, Amazon Editors', Refinery29, PopMatters, and the New York Post. Other writing can be found in Outside, The New York Times Book Review, Glamour, The Believer, and Creative Nonfiction. Tessa won the 2016 AWP Intro Award in Nonfiction, founded Salt Lake City's Writers in the Schools program, has taught in prisons and jails around the country and was a professor of creative writing at Warren Wilson College. She currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Her debut novel is forthcoming from FSG. Author photo credit: Max Cooper


“Tessa provided lots of material very well organized within a framework that made for a supportive collaboration among a small group (three) of writers. When she asked for feedback on what else she could do, my reply -- teach another course!”

former student

“This is the best writing workshop I have taken.”

former student

“Tessa is outstanding. Her knowledge and resources were superb. I learned so much!”

former student

“This was more than I thought possible in six weeks. VERY glad I did it.”

former student

“In a word: wow. I read THE ELECTRIC WOMAN in a hallucinatory fever filled with hospital beds and carnival rides, gray eyes and biting boa constrictors, brain bleeds and headless bodies, fire eaters and electrified women. Tessa Fontaine is a real-life snake charmer―her writing hooked and hypnotized me from page one. I had to read just one more chapter, just one more until I reached the end of her extraordinary memoir, dismayed that it was over but so grateful for the unforgettable ride.”

Susannah Cahalan author of BRAIN ON FIRE

"While caring for her mother following a stroke, Tessa Fontaine became enchanted by the world of the carnival sideshow, learning to charm snakes, swallow swords, and escape handcuffs. What Fontaine finds, as she recounts in her fascinating memoir, THE ELECTRIC WOMAN (FSG), is that there's no trick to overcoming one's deepest fears."


"An assured debut that doesn’t shy away from the task of holding the ordinary and otherworldly in its hand, at once. It’s herein that the book’s power lies . . . Throughout this narrative is the story of [Fontaine's] relationship with her mother, a story that is sometimes its own hard-to-watch sideshow act. Fontaine is unafraid to write the ugliness ― the imperfect care and love ― that takes place between people, and the memoir is most 'electric' when it doesn’t shy from that imperfection . . . I’m stunned by the beauty of Fontaine’s rhythms and images."

Rachel Khong The New York Times Book Review