Online | Fiction | Intensive

6-Week Online Fiction Intensive: 40,000 Words in 40 Days

Clocking in at around 56,000 words, As I Lay Dying, one of William Faulkner’s greatest novels, was written in six weeks between the hours of midnight and 4:00 a.m. while the author worked night shift at a power plant.

This strategy-based class is designed for writers with extreme time constraints—writers who are parents, writers who have demanding jobs and schedules—who have a manuscript they deeply desire to produce nonetheless.

Whether you are working on a novel, memoir, short story collection, or simply need to make time to write something, this class will help you create and work a fail-proof strategy to produce a solid first draft. All you need to begin is an idea.

In these six weeks, students will devise an outline for and complete a first draft of their project while learning the freedom of constraints: methods of expanding their available space and time to create maximum output. Alongside this work, we will discuss methods of writing from an outline without feeling confined by it; creating image-driven plot; generation and revision; setting personal deadlines; and managing fear and creative paralysis while staying true to your voice and vision.

By the end of the course, writers will have completed a solid outline of their project, as well as the first full draft. During the course, writers will have the opportunity to submit a short section of their work-in-progress for peer and instructor feedback as in a traditional workshop; otherwise, each student will receive a full project critique from the instructor at the end. In addition to this, students will leave with a greater understanding and appreciation of their individual style and voice, and deeper confidence in themselves as writers, readers, and observers.

This class will meet over our video chat platform. You will need to use Google Chrome and a computer to join your class meetings.


- Intensive instructor feedback on the completed manuscript, plus intensive instructor and peer feedback on one short submission

- One private conference (via phone or Skype) with the instructor to discuss your project, goals, and areas for improvement

- Methods for building a solid writing practice and supportive literary diet, as well as time, space, and guidance to focus on and complete a first draft

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


Week 1: Intros, overview, discuss writing process, projects, and goals

Week 2: Building and working your outline, workshop 1

Week 3: Making time to write when there is no time, workshop 2

Week 3: Owning your voice and getting past self-doubt, workshop 3

Week 4: What to do when you’re stuck, workshop 4

Week 5: Generative rest and the importance of not writing, workshop 5

Week 6: Wrap up, final manuscript submissions, looking forward

Mila Jaroniec

Mila Jaroniec is the author of two novels, including Plastic Vodka Bottle Sleepover (Split Lip Press). Her work has appeared in Playgirl, Playboy, Ninth Letter, Joyland, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, PANK, Hobart, X-R-A-Y, The Millions, NYLON and Teen Vogue, among others. Her popular Catapult workshop, 40,000 Words in 40 Days, was featured in New York Magazine.


“To be edited by Mila Jaroniec is to have the inside of your head turned inside out to ring inside your reader’s head the same as you first heard your insights in your head—hear them again from your ringside seats to her head bringing your insights out from your head to the art in your heart in your art.”

Sam Farahmand drDOCTOR editor in chief and MFA colleague

“As an editor, Mila was able to tap into the undercurrent of my writing. She discerned the universal issues I was grasping at in my work and helped me bring them to the forefront in immediate and visceral ways, making my piece more organized and so much stronger. Her guidance helped me take my writing from ‘essay’ to ‘work of art.’”

Elle Nash author of ANIMALS EAT EACH OTHER

“Mila Jaroniec is a strong and sensitive writer who knows how to cut to the heart of any story. I’d trust her completely with my words.”

Chloe Caldwell author of I'LL NEVER TELL YOU IN PERSON

“Mila Jaroniec’s editorial direction was extraordinarily helpful to me. She shaped my writing toward a greater purpose and effect with an assured but gentle hand. I’m very grateful for her guidance and generosity toward my work.”

Jac Jemc author of THE GRIP OF IT

“PLASTIC VODKA BOTTLE SLEEPOVER is a razor-sharp meditation on loneliness in sex, under capitalism, in the face of mortality, even in the arms of those we claim to love. Not literature, philosophy, alcohol, or commodities fill the hole, and Jaroniec's triumph is that she doesn’t cop to any easy solutions. This isn’t a book for the winners of the world, but one that celebrates the Worst Of list, the losers, the ‘kindhearted satanists and drug addicts who are not sorry.’ Those who accept the world as-is with all its fucked up characters, each more gloriously doomed than the last.”

Sarah Gerard author of SUNSHINE STATE and BINARY STAR

"This is a book that wasn't just typed, but carved into a mirror with a razor blade. An adventure of errors through a maze where the walls move and the floor does too, PLASTIC VODKA BOTTLE SLEEPOVER pulses with vivid neon light; if Joan Didion and Courtney Love had to band together to save the world from itself on a Saturday night. Mila Jaroniec is part leader of a punk rock cult, part soothsayer of substance abuse, part art slick angel, all genius."

Bud Smith author of WORK

"In PLASTIC VODKA BOTTLE SLEEPOVER, Mila Jaroniec writes with a seer's wisdom and a poet's touch. Emotions are evoked in language both lovely and dangerous. I love the honesty and the beauty."

Darcey Steinke author of SISTER GOLDEN HAIR