Online | Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Fiction Workshop: Navigating Groups, Teams, & Ensembles on the Page

This workshop will explore methods of navigating stories with many different characters, group dynamics, and multiple points of view. Who do we need to know and when? How well do we need to know them? What methods might the writer take to build character and community on the page?

As a group, we will discuss narratives with multiple points of view, woven and omniscient narratives, the use of the "We" in fiction, and ways of getting outside of a central protagonist when inhabiting a larger community (i.e. a large family, a sports team, a cult...). We will look at excerpts from The Atmospherians by Isle McElroy; Real Life by Brandon Taylor; We the Animals by Justin Torres; Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward; and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff to create a kind of spectrum of craft techniques and practices we will work on together over the course of the workshop.

Workshop participants will submit pages of their own—short stories and novel excerpts are welcome—while we read and discuss course readings as a way of delving deeper into craft examples. This class is open to those with ongoing projects as well as newer works of fiction, but writers are encouraged to come prepared with an idea of what they would like to work on. This class is best geared towards writers with previous workshop experience.

Writers will leave this course with detailed feedback on a workshop submission as well as a deeper understanding of the tools and techniques available to them as they work with groups, teams, and ensembles on the page.

Depending on the class size, writers will be workshopped by the group at least one time over the course of the workshop and will have the opportunity to hand in a final, revised version of their piece at the end of the course for additional comments from the instructor.

*No class August 29th or September 5

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.  

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- There are so many ways to create community on the page!

- Reading is writing

- Don't be afraid to take a risk/break a "rule"/or try something different

- Written and verbal feedback from peers and instructor on at least one workshop submission and written feedback from the instructor on a revised draft

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

COURSE EXPECTATIONS:

Students should expect to read and offer a page of written feedback on one another's work on a weekly basis, reading 2 excerpts of manuscripts or short stories (max. 5,000 words) per week .

Students should also anticipate a weekly outside reading or excerpt from a published work. I will try to keep these on the shorter end, but hope to offer enough in the text to fully demonstrate how each writer is navigating POV/group dynamics on the page.

COURSE SKELETON:

Week One:

- Intro to workshop and flex workshop model, expectations, etc.; Hand in first two workshop pieces

Week Two: The Dinner Party…

- Discussion of POV, Group Dynamics, etc.; Workshop 1 & 2

Week Three: Who’s Side Are You On?

- Discuss the Dual POV novel; Workshop 3 & 4

Week Four: Let’s Get Cult-y!

- Discussion of Cults, Integrating formal Texts in fiction, creating a rolodex of characters, and narrative efficiency; Workshop 5 & 6

Week Five: We, We, We

- Discussion of using “We,” what this choice does to our sense of place and character; Workshop 7 & 8

Week Six: The Know-It-All

- Discussion of the Omniscient, even the occasional cast outward, and how that can help distinguish a group the writer is otherwise making the reader a part of/pulling the reader into; Workshop 9 & 10

Devon Capizzi

Devon Capizzi is the author of the story collection My Share of the Body (Split/Lip Press). Their work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Tin House Workshop, and a fellowship from Emerson College. Their writing has appeared or will appear in Pigeon Pages, Foglifter Journal, Alien Magazine and elsewhere, and their micro-chapbook about gender and transition is forthcoming from Ghost City Press (summer 2022). They currently live in Boston with their wife and their two cats.

Testimonials

“In these uncertain times, I’m grateful for the work of Devon Capizzi. MY SHARE OF THE BODY is a wondrous, raw, and deeply felt collection of stories. This is a beautiful debut that sings true and mighty; and a beautiful portrait of love and hope as we navigate this flawed, bright world.”

Paul Yoon, author of ONCE THE SHORE and RUN ME TO EARTH

"An incandescent debut. In these seven stories, Devon Capizzi brilliantly limns grief, love, queerness, and the infuriating, irresolvable conundrum known as the human condition. Tender, wise, and often wickedly funny and surprising, this collection will break your heart and put it back together again."

Mako Yoshikawa author of ONE HUNDRED AND ONE WAYS and ONCE REMOVED

"As I read these wise and radiant stories, I kept wondering: How can someone so young understand the human heart, the many ways it breaks and mends, so well? Each one is a gem, and I can't wait to see where Devon Capizzi takes us next."

Julia Glass author of National Book Award Winner THREE JUNES and VIGIL HARBOR

"I wasn't expecting such an in-depth critique and really appreciate Devon's thoughtfulness and time. The group was great and a lot of fun. I also really appreciate Devon passing on such great readings and reading recommendations. They pulled out some great points and themes in my writing that I hadn't realized I was exploring."

Former Student

"Devon makes every writer feel valued. They take a writer's style and project into consideration as they lead discussions, never trying to force a student or writer to make their work something it's not. This, I think, epitomizes what sets Devon apart as an instructor in any circumstance: they respect people, and they respect writing. It makes students want to learn from them and writers want to take notes from them."

Writer, Workshop Participant

"With a keen eye aided by an astute instinct for craft and style, Devon provides feedback that not only uplifts the writer, but also opens their mind to what might be holding their writing back in a story. This ability to instruct and edit with an empathetic clarity of vision makes Devon an ideal reader, editor, and teacher. They do not hesitate to delight in the successes of their students, and this desire for their students' success makes Devon's feedback even more impactful."

Writer, Workshop Participant