In this six-week course, students will learn how to amplify the mundane and find details worth rendering in their daily lives.
How can we make the ordinary interesting? How can we shape and structure the passing of time and experience? How do we turn moments of stillness or even boredom into compelling stories? What makes an anecdote or story interesting or worth telling? This class will answer these questions and focus on some tools to help us notice the world around us, identify the forces that drive us and our days, and craft a successful “quiet story.”
Stories, novel excerpts, poems, and memoir will serve as blueprints to help us find the right structures to shape our narratives.
Beginners are welcome, and previous workshop experience is NOT required in this class. This is an open workshop, where writers are welcome to talk about their process, experiences, and literary tastes to help generate informed feedback, as seen in Matthew Salesses’ Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping.
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 page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the Zoom 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.
- Familiarity with story structures, plot, movement, pacing, tension, urgency, texture, emotion, voice, setting, dialogue, and more
- Regular discussions on the work of contemporary and classic writers
- Constructive, personalized feedback from peers and instructor on a workshop submission
- One-on-one conference with the instructor to discuss workshop submissions and address any questions
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students should expect to submit for the workshop a 5- to 15-page story, or the beginnings of a book-length project. Students should also be prepared to read 20-30 pages each week, do short writing exercises, and give written and verbal feedback on their classmates’ workshop submissions.
WEEK 1: Getting Started
WEEK 2: The Shape of a Story
WEEK 3: The Purpose of Drama
WEEK 4: The Purpose of Style
WEEK 5: Workshop #1
WEEK 6: Workshop #2
Bruna Dantas Lobato is a writer and literary translator based in St. Louis. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, The Common, and elsewhere, and has been recognized with fellowships from Yaddo, A Public Space, NYU, and Disquiet International. Her literary translations include Caio Fernando Abreu's Moldy Strawberries (Archipelago Books), Stênio Gardel’s The Words that Remain (New Vessel Press), and Giovana Madalosso's Tokyo Suite (Europa Editions).
"As a writer, Bruna Dantas Lobato fits whole worlds into careful, spare sentences. As a translator and reader, she can reverse engineer: finding the heart of a piece through her careful attention to detail and intent. Her work places her among the rare and multi-talented who approach reading and writing with insight, courage, and a healthy sense of fun."
"In Bruna Dantas Lobato’s translation, Caio Fernando Abreu’s MOLDY STRAWBERRIES passes the microphone to the people on the other side of power: the junkies, failed revolutionaries, beggars, and drag queens who, at times like these, have the most to lose. Told by one of Brazil’s greatest gay writers, this book unfurls in long, elegant sentences, evoking the inner lives of people this society—like so many others—too often prefers to forget."
“Dantas Lobato has masterfully transposed Caio Fernando Abreu’s writing into English like an art installation, carefully re-assembling the unbearably beautiful mess of it without attempting to tidy it up or erase what strays outside the lines of form, convention, or polite society. A heart-wrenching translation and a moving tribute to Abreu.”
"Bruna is a fantastic writer and editor with a sharp eye for detail and subtext. She has been a great editor of my work, always generous, kind, and attentive to what could best serve my prose."
"Bruna’s edits are excellent and I am so appreciative of her talent. I've learned the hard way that editing in itself is an art form and much time can be wasted engaging with those who can't edit. She has a gift for recognizing the strengths of a piece, and I feel like a better writer every time I engage with her."