Online | Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Online Fiction Coaching

This six-week 1-on-1 coaching course is for writers of all stages working on short stories or a novel.

Each of the last four weeks, writers will submit up to ten pages for instructor review, which will be discussed in 1-on-1 conferences held in the Salon. Writers will learn how to use specific language and clarity to construct ambiguity and mystery within their work—important components to keep your reader interested. Methods of generating new work, revision, and reading in ways that helps your writing will be discussed. 

We will look at short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh, Brad Watson, Alice Munro, Kazuo Ishiguro, and James Salter, among others, and analyze the small, important moves and techniques these writers employ to create a sense of the uncanny within their fiction. By the end of the course, writers will have developed a deeper understanding of the craft techniques required to write clear and compelling short fiction.


- In-depth instructor feedback

- A better grasp of the key building blocks of fiction, and how to apply them in your own writing

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


- One-on-one individualized feedback and coaching on your fiction project, as well as advice on where to get published

- 30 minute weekly meetings with Alex (via phone, video conference, or text in our Salon)

- Weekly readings, lectures, and prompts to help you generate new work (and refine old work)

- Feedback on four writing submissions (up to 15 pages per submission)


Week 1: Clear Openings/Reading: Watson

Week 2: Making Familiar Unfamiliar/Reading: Moshfegh

Week 3: Specificity with Movement/Reading: Ishiguro

Week 4: Clarity and Building Mystery/Reading: Salter

Week 5: Dense and Strange, Still Clear/Reading: Munro

Week 6: Revision/Starting New/Reading: Alling

Alex Higley

Alex Higley is the author of Cardinal (longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction) and Old Open. He has been previously published by Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, New World Writing, PANK, Fanzine, and elsewhere. He lives in Evanston, Illinois with his wife and daughter. 


“I love the mind at work in these wonderfully strange stories about so-called ordinary life. They go right to the heart of how uncanny, even bizarre, ordinary life really is, if you’re paying attention. This is not ‘absurdist’ work. It’s ultra-realism. It’s evidence of a new, fresh voice— intelligent, strange, deeply familiar, oddly funny, pleasantly disturbing. Add Higley’s stories to my favorites.”


“Alex Higley’s OLD OPEN is an adventure and a riddle; a winding tale that’s equal parts Coen Brothers and Denis Johnson. A gruff, generous, insightful, very funny book, and I simply loved it.”

Lindsay Hunter author of EAT ONLY WHEN YOU'RE HUNGRY

“With echoes of DeLillo, OLD OPEN is a deceptively simple novel that rebels against modern disillusionment, capturing nothing less than the texture and flux of life. Higley’s subjects include the gap between information and meaning, aliens and alienation, the desire to communicate and the need to feel understood. The result is a funny, moving, and hopeful novel.”

Gabe Habash author of STEPHEN FLORIDA