People are natural storytellers, yet writing a compelling story isn’t always intuitive. This four-week course recognizes that a good story requires technical skill, but that finding that organic and individual story also requires reflection, practice, and conversation.
This course—open to those who have yet to start writing, and those who are revising full-length drafts—guides you in developing a complete story structure for your novel. It provides tools for outlining new projects and finding fresh insight into stalled projects.
In this course, we will use written guides, writing exercises, assigned stories, and discussions to move from premise to detailed synopsis, identifying universal principles that will make your distinct story a satisfying read. Writers will leave with outlines for their works-in-progress and a toolkit of strategies for future projects.
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 Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Understanding of the fundamentals of plot and character arcs
- Tools for developing satisfying stories
- A clear and compelling premise for your novel
- Detailed outline or plan for completing your first draft or next revision
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Week 1: Your Protagonist: Identify the dramatic potential in your character’s desires and weaknesses
Week 2: Action: Generate and categorize the challenges your character faces and the choices they make in order to reach their ultimate moment of transformation.
Week 3: Plot structure: Delineate the five major turning points in your character’s journey.
Week 4: Outline: Expand your story plan into a detailed synopsis or plot outline.
Stephanie Feldman is the author of the novel The Angel of Losses (Ecco), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, and co-editor of the multi-genre anthology Who Will Speak for America? (Temple University Press). Her stories and essays have appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Electric Literature, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Maine Review, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. She teaches creative writing in the Arcadia University MFA Program.
“Stephanie Feldman is a passionate and thoughtful instructor. Her feedback is engaged, personal, and encourages writers to keep an open mind and to push the boundaries of their work. It felt like she took the time to understood my goals and then taught me the best ways for me to go about achieving them.”
“Stephanie Feldman, acting in her capacity as my editor for a recent anthology, as well as a beta reader for several works, has provided insightful and resonant advice for several years. Her understanding of novel structure as well as the strengthening of thematic notes is a powerful tool that I am grateful to have the ability to access.”
“Stephanie Feldman is not only a smart, perceptive, and spell-binding writer, she brings all of that to her approach as an editor. She's a generous yet astute reader who offers invaluable insight into language, character, tone, plot, and the overall structure of a novel. Her elegant, concrete suggestions will make you wonder Why didn't I think of that? and help you get where you want to go.”
"[A] breathtakingly accomplished debut … a story of magic and bold imagining… .Every once in a while a book comes along that reminds us that even though a horror was visited upon a particular people, in a particular place and at particular moment in history, the story told is really about all of us, everywhere and for all time. It takes an extraordinary writer like Stephanie Feldman to bring that story to life.”
“Lucid, tender and masterfully portrayed, The Angel of Losses is an intergenerational story of perseverance and love in a changing world. Rich with Jewish lore and history, there is magic at play here in more than one sense. A must-read.”
“THE ANGEL OF LOSSES is a lovely, complex family story about inheritance, immigration, and faith, with strong Jewish folklore influences and an academic treasure hunt! I tore through it almost in one sitting.”
“Stephanie Feldman is one of the smartest and most original young writers at work today. Here she re-imagines the eternally exiled Wandering Jew as a wonderworker, a frightened boy in the Vilna ghetto, a feminist scholar in Coney Island. With a deft understanding of the irreducibility of human relationships, Stephanie leads us through love and loss and back to love again. Watch out for her. She is here to stay.”
“THE ANGEL OF LOSSES feels spun out of myth and legend, but what anchors it so sweetly to the human condition is its profound love, demonstrated between two sisters. This is an amazing, wonderful read.”
“Stephanie Feldman writes with tremendous warmth, tenderness and insight, and THE ANGEL OF LOSSES is a smart and beautiful novel that is all at once a literary thriller, a multigenerational family saga and a stunning exploration of Jewish mysticism. I loved this book.”