Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Advanced Fiction Workshop

This advanced fiction workshop is for dedicated writers of literary fiction who are looking for feedback to help them get their work submission-ready. Both short stories and novel excerpts are welcome.

In this class, through our discussions of student work, we’ll examine the interdependent relationship between character and plot, challenging the notion that fiction should be either character- or plot-driven and deepening our understanding of how to create both narrative momentum and three-dimensional characters. We’ll also work to demystify writing pithy, characterizing dialogue. In addition to student submissions, we will read published stories by writers such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Lorrie Moore, ZZ Packer, and Wells Tower. We’ll use in-class exercises, such as writing a scene from different points of view or fictionalizing a “true” story, to help generate new ideas. Each writer will have the opportunity to submit their work twice for peer and instructor feedback, and to meet with the instructor once for an individual conference.


- Greater understanding of the relationship between character and plot

- Improved ability to write effective, natural-sounding dialogue

- More confidence as a writer and critic

- Detailed peer and instructor feedback on two submissions

- One individual conference with instructor to discuss work submitted and goals for the future

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

Joanna Cantor

Joanna Cantor holds an MFA from Brooklyn College and a BA from Colorado College. Her debut novel, Alternative Remedies for Loss, was an Amazon Best Book of the Month for May 2018 and has been highlighted in Vanity Fair, Real Simple, Nylon, and elsewhere. Her writing has appeared in Literary Hub, Electric Literature, Departures, Fodor's Travel, Greatist, and the Willamette Week. Joanna was the 2014 recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship. She is also a yoga teacher. She lives in Brooklyn.


"[A] stellar debut...Cantor’s novel is not only full of unexpected turns but hits all the right emotional notes."

Publishers Weekly

"A sharp and witty glimpse inside a functionally dysfunctional family, Cantor's first novel is heartbreakingly honest. Fans of Helen Fielding, Emma Straub, and Maggie Shipstead will appreciate Olivia's zest for life and capacity for personal growth. With a delightfully imperfect heroine, vibrant settings, and snappy dialogue, this is a whip-smart debut."


"Funny and sad, sharp and true, Alternative Remedies for Loss kept me reading late into the night, riveted by the unfolding of a life."

Maggie Shipstead author of bestselling novels SEATING ARRANGEMENTS and ASTONISH ME

"ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR LOSS is a tender, juicy novel about family, failures, and finding one's place in the world.... Get ready to fly through this book, and be prepared for Cantor's prose to charm and surprise you the whole way."

Molly Prentiss author of TUESDAY NIGHTS IN 1980

"Ms. Cantor is a dedicated and thoughtful teacher who invests in her students and really cares about helping them progress towards their goals. She helped us cultivate our individual writing styles and I loved our discussions in class."

former student

"Joanna is a perceptive reader who instinctively finds the heart of a piece and give suggestions that help my work become the best version of itself. I find that some feedback leaves me deflated, while other feedback inspires me to get back to work--Joanna's feedback always falls into the latter camp. She's my trusted first reader."

fellow writer and friend