Online | Fiction | Workshop

4-Week Open-Genre Generative Workshop: Writing Your Way Through the Pandemic

We’ve been living through a pandemic over two years: what has your experience of the pandemic been? This is your opportunity to get that out of your head and onto the page.

This will be a mixed genre course: you can either work on a personal essay or a short story (flash fiction or prose poetry are also great). This will be a generative class: writers will produce at least a first draft of a short story, piece of flash, prose poem, or personal essay during the four week course. Each student will have the opportunity to workshop at least once and the instructor will provide feedback each week on submitted work. There will also be readings each week, short stories and personal essays that were written about the pandemic, which will be discussed during class.

This class is for all levels of writers, but some workshop experience is preferred.

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.  


- You will complete a full draft of a personal essay or short story around your individual pandemic experience and receive written feedback on it from the instructor and verbal feedback on it from the instructor and classmates

- You will read and comment on multiple published pandemic-related personal essays and short stories

- You will gain an understanding of what is next for your personal essay or short story: comments for a revised draft or readiness for submitting to publications

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


During the four weeks together, I would like students to produce either a completed first draft of a personal essay or a short story. Before each meeting, I will provide students with approximately ten pages of readings (short stories and personal essays) that we will discuss in class. I would like you to come to our second class with either a cohesive outline or a draft of a short story or personal essay. Students will be expected to read and provide written and verbal feedback on classmates’ work, and students can expect to receive written and verbal feedback on their workshopped pieces, as well as written feedback from the instructor each week on written work.


Week1: Introductions and discussion around what students would like to work on during the next few weeks, talk about outlining and getting started; discourse on readings

Week2: Check ins, discourse on readings, workshopping/next steps

Week3: Check ins, discourse on readings, workshopping/next steps

Week4: Check ins, discourse on readings, workshopping/next steps

Frances Badalamenti

Frances is the author of the novels, I Don't Blame You (2019) and Salad Days (2021). Some of her shorter work can be found at The Believer Magazine, BOMB Magazine, Longreads, Vol.1 Brooklyn and elsewhere. She teaches writing workshops and also works individually as a counselor and mentor for writers. Frances lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son.  


"Frances Badalamenti proves to be a talented and evocative writer. I DON'T BLAME YOU is a powerful, heady, debut novel, gorgeously interweaving the story of grief, acceptance, and love. A must read."

Chloe Caldwell Author of I'LL TELL YOU IN PERSON and WOMEN

"SALAD DAYS is the gritty, moving portrait of a young woman who completely upends her life trying to figure out who she is and what she wants, set against the gray, grungy background of Portland, Oregon, at a time when the city was also in flux. Badalamenti perfectly captures the alluring and maddening impenetrability of Portland for the East Coast transplant."


"I DON'T BLAME YOU is a raw, irreverent, wrenching exploration of the trauma and joy of being a daughter and a mother."


"Frances Badalementi is the best writing instructor I didn’t know I needed. Workshop was masterfully facilitated and, as a fellow facilitator and instructor, I recognized how Frances deftly and neatly encouraged and pushed us to improve while always making sure we felt encouraged, empowered, and enthused. This class – and several of the relationships formed in it – will have an enduring effect on me as a writer and a person. "

Steve P. former Catapult Workshop Student

"Frances is a fantastic writing instructor—she offers specific, insightful feedback and does so in a way that is incredibly supportive. I appreciated how she prioritized making the workshop a safe and positive environment, and how she encouraged us to submit work each week. The generative nature of her course inspired me to produce more new writing than I have in a very long time!"

Steph former Catapult student

"Frances was an excellent, generous and fun workshop facilitator and teacher, offering just the right mix of encouragement, constructive criticism, and reading recommendations. Over the 8-week course, her student-centered workshops were the highlight of my week, giving me the framework and encouragement I needed to complete a first draft of a longform piece."

Rebecca P. former Catapult Workshop Student