Online | Fiction | Seminar

6-Week Generative Fiction Seminar: Building the Writing Muscle

This six-week guided, generative fiction class is intended for those new to fiction or anyone who needs an infusion of energy in their current practice or an existing fiction project of any length.

I’ll guide you through thoughtfully designed (and fun!) exercises developed to open doors and windows that get the ideas you’ve been holding out of your head and onto the page. (I’ll happily take exercise requests if there’s anything you want practice on.) Over the six weeks, you’ll gain practice in accessing the generative impulse as well as concrete strategies for spotting the opportunities in your earliest drafts.

The bulk of this course is writing during the live sessions, so you don’t need to worry about finding writing time outside of these hours. These six weeks provide a regular, accountable writing practice during which you’ll build up (or build back up) a writing muscle. We’ll discuss what makes a scene a scene—as well as how to turn your starts into scenes, and then into the building blocks of larger works. We’ll devote time to working through any fears or reticence you may have about generating new writing so that you can access the magic of writing without the unnecessary and paralyzing preoccupation of where it’s going, if it’s any good, or what it means (yet!).

Though we will talk through our process, there’s no workshop or formal work-sharing component in this class; the primary goal here is to build up your relationship with starting new work, as well as generating actual pages that can grow into viable projects. 

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 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.  


- Six weeks of hands-on writing practice—the live sessions are your writing time, and don’t need to be built into your life anywhere else

- Strategies for finding opportunities for expansion in your early drafts

- Understanding of what constitutes a scene in fiction

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students will be writing while in live sessions. There will be opportunities to share some work in class but for the purpose of process, not feedback. There is no workshop component to this course.


WEEK 1: Casting off blocks, generative writing exercises

WEEK 2: Defining scenes, generative writing exercises

WEEK 3: Generative writing exercises

WEEK 4: Generative writing exercises

WEEK 5: Generative writing exercises

WEEK 6: Generative writing exercises + now what? 

Danielle Lazarin

Danielle Lazarin is the author of Back Talk: Stories (Penguin Books, 2018). She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where her stories and essays won Hopwood Awards. Her fiction has won awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and Glimmer Train and can be found in The Southern Review, Colorado Review, Boston Review, and elsewhere. 


"Although Lazarin’s work has the tone and style of traditional mainstream short fiction, it joins a growing canon of quietly realist stories that establish women’s experiences as worthy of literary attention. And not just women’s experiences: These stories also explore the exhausting, slow poison of masculine power, the grind of the patriarchy on even the most privileged of women, the subtle ways in which men have trained women to minimize themselves."

Carmen Maria Machado for THE NEW YORK TIMES

"I absolutely loved this book—from the first page to the last, this collection is stunning for its insight into the lives of young women, revelatory for its finely tuned prose, and unforgettable for its humor and tenderness. I will return to these stories again and again. I envy the reader who gets to discover Danielle Lazarin's work."

Julie Buntin author of MARLENA

"The stories in BACK TALK are not only fierce and unflinching in their clear-eyed portrayal of women and girls, they are also tender and compassionate, imbued with a deep longing. Lazarin is a sophisticated writer and her remarkable debut offers us subtle but profound truths about growing up, moving forward, and finding ourselves."

Edan Lepucki NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of CALIFORNIA

"Danielle is an incredibly generous and encouraging instructor. Her close reading of my work allowed me to see my writing from new angles. Her thoughtful, incisive feedback helped me become a better storyteller."

former student

"Danielle is a terrific teacher, and I say that as someone who has chosen to study with her twice. Her classroom exercises have led to stories of my own. Her comments on my submissions have driven me to take pieces to full fruition, months after the final assignment. I have completed short stories now that exist solely because I was in her class. Beyond a doubt, working with Danielle has made me a better writer.  Highly recommended."

former student

"Danielle is an amazing instructor, and far exceeded any and all expectations I had for this class. She was incredibly thoughtful, well-organized, and knowledgeable, and was always prepared with hand-outs of work we'd need to read, and she provided thoughtful comments each week on our assignments. She was clear that she had high expectations for us -- she asked us to write a lot, but I liked that intensity! Plus -- and, I think this counts for a lot -- she took the time to get to know us. She remembered all of our names immediately, would reference questions we'd asked weeks ago, and just genuinely seemed to care about our growth as writers. I would highly recommend any class by her, and I hope that she has the chance to teach many, many more classes at Catapult."

former student

"Danielle's instruction on revision reoriented my writing life. I've always struggled with making sweeping changes, but Danielle made it easy. Her exercises and feedback demystified revision and made the process from first draft to final draft so much clearer. I no longer dread drafting, but see each iteration as an opportunity with an obvious goal."

former Catapult student

"Danielle’s class didn’t just teach me the most important revision technique ever (take her course and you’ll discover it, too!). She also introduced me to a variety of writers and tools for my story type, all of which have changed my revision process for the better."

former Catapult student

"Danielle Lazarin was a thoughtful and encouraging instructor. In the short story class I took, the students had a wide range of experience and comfort levels, and Danielle met each of us where we were. As a teacher, she was incredibly organized, patient and great at providing examples of whatever writing device we were discussing that week, and was a joy to learn from. She’s also a sharp editor who asks the right, probing questions, and knows how to push her students to write the best they can. I highly recommend Danielle for any of your writing needs."

former Catapult student

"Working with Danielle has changed my writing life. Not only does she bring with her the knowledge and wisdom of someone who has been writing and deeply thinking about writing for over two decades, but she brings the empathy of those years of experience too. As well as her craft expertise, I have been additionally grateful for her ability to shine light on deeper, longer-term issues that might be holding me back in my work, and to offer methods of successfully moving through those kinds of blocks. The results are real; learning from her is truly a gift that keeps on giving."

coaching client