Online | Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Fiction Workshop: The Craft of the Short Story

Could I teach you what story to tell? No, but I could help you tell the story that you want to tell.

In this creative writing workshop, we will focus on some of the craft elements it takes to write a short story, such as POV, tone, setting, time, structure, etc., so we can help you write your story. Though this workshop is best suited to those who have some experience workshopping short stories, writers of all levels and all stylistic-inclinations are welcome. Let's think of this writing class like we would an engineering class (but with more magical elements, maybe even a talking animal or two...). We'll try to identify the problems that come up in storytelling and discuss the best techniques to solve them. Through our generative writing prompts we might even design and conduct an experiment or two.

Even though creative writing is not "formulaic", we’ll close-read stories to see how writers have been successfully able to craft theirs. Through readings of short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh, Ling Ma, ZZ Packer, Senaa Ahmed, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Mariana Enríquez and more, as well your fellow classmates' work, we will discuss craft elements such as voice, dialogue, plot, pacing, character, beginnings and endings, and sharpen our writing skill sets.

At the end of six-weeks, writers will leave this class with a deeper understanding of how to read like a writer and be able to edit their own work more confidently.

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 pageClass 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.  


- Extensive feedback on your work by both your instructor and fellow classmates.

- Gaining a better understanding of the techniques behind writing a short story.

- A small community of writers to keep in communication with.

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


- To read at least 1 short story each week for class craft discussions.

- To submit 1 (15-page maximum) short story for workshop critique.

- To carefully read and thoughtfully provide feedback for 2 fellow classmate stories each week. Feedback should include a 1-page (single-spaced) Workshop Letter and line-edits.


Week 1: Beginnings.

Introductions. Generative writing exercises.

Week 2: POV, Voice, and Dialogue.

Student 1 workshop

Student 2 workshop

Week 3: Tone, Setting, and Time.

Student 3 workshop

Student 4 workshop

Week 4: Plot, Story, Formal Structure, and Pacing.

Student 5 workshop

Student 6 workshop

Week 5: Character.

Student 7 workshop

Student 8 workshop

Week 6: Endings.

Zeynep Özakat

Zeynep Özakat was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. Her writing has appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, where she won the Fiction Open Contest, in Black Warrior Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and in Gulf Coast Online. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, where she received The Shirley Jackson Prize in Fiction, The Leonard Brown Prize in Poetry, and a Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work. She has received scholarships and support from The Disquiet Conference in Lisbon, The Bread Loaf Environmental Writing Conference, The Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown where she was a 2021-2022 Writing Fellow.


"The hallmark of Zeynep Özakat's writing is the deep empathy with which she creates her characters; from the lead characters to the minor ones—all of them are created with such specificity that exemplify the care she brings to the enterprise of storytelling. That, along with Özakat's ability to skillfully navigate time in fiction, write crisp dialogue, and strike a balance between the humorous and the melancholic makes her prose intelligent, moving, and exciting. This is a great opportunity to learn from an excellent storyteller."

Shastri Akella author of “The Sea Elephants”

"Zeynep’s passion and commitment to helping writers tell their stories is absolutely unmatched. She possesses the spirit, skill, and sheer electricity that we need so desperately injected into the world again. "

Mina Hamedi agent at Janklow & Nesbit