Online | Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Online Fiction Workshop: Weirder, Bigger, Messier—& Trans

Altered bodies. Cybernetic doubles. Awkward disclosures. Delayed rites of passage. Dark humor. Wordplay and intersecting pop cultural references. These are just some of characteristics of recent fiction that focuses a trans or gender-queering lens onto the well-worn shapes of fairy tales, sex-in-the-city rom-coms, sci-fi, the roadtrip story, and quiet domestic fiction.

In this workshop for trans and queer-identifying writers with all levels of writing experience, we will engage in close readings of contemporary, trans and non-binary authors of character- and voice-driven fiction, including Daniel Lavery, Bishakh Som, Neon Yang, Rivers Solomon, Calvin Kasulke, Chana Porter, and Torrey Peters. We will observe how these writers repurpose fun or played-out commercial hooks and transform them into vessels for queer truths about gender, social roles, identity, and embodiment. Drawing inspiration from Slack-channel identity-swaps, dysphoric talking bears, and a trans woman’s incipient “father”-hood, workshop participants will try on new POVs, structures, and styles to find the stories they want to tell. Together, we will examine our assumptions about what is “allowed” for trans and queer writers and lean into the mysteries of our works-in-progress.

Each writer will submit one first draft of a short story. Through reading, discussion, and genre-hopping writing exercises, participants will work toward development of their submission. After five weeks, each writer will submit a final revision for feedback from the entire class.

By the end of this class, writers will have gained a sky’s-the-limit sense of possibility of subject matter, structure, style, and audience in their own work. They will leave class with 6+ pages of new beginnings, a sense of the questions and aesthetics that lie within their work, and concrete next steps for their revised story or novel excerpt.

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.


- Peer and instructor feedback on a draft and full revision of one story or novel excerpt

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

- 1:1 instructor meeting over phone or Zoom

- 6-12 pages of new writing for future projects

- Familiarity with diverse range of contemporary fiction engaged with themes of trans-ness, dysphoria, and gender-code switching.

- Sophisticated skills for articulating their questions and insights about a work in progress

- Familiarity with basic craft elements, including plot

- Practice in a writer-centered workshop format that supports the development of work in many genres and styles


Each week, students will be expected to complete:

- Readings and discussion board responses to published excerpts up to 10 pages

- 1-2 page weekly writing exercise

- Response to 1-2 workshop submissions


Week 1 - What Is Possible? - Self-imposed limitations; Dare thyself; Writer-centered workshop. Tales of Magic and Transformation

Week 2 - Cultural and Religious Stories - Stealing from (or stealing back) your ancestral past; Artful, comedy vengeance; Remaking familiar tales in your own images

Week 3 - Childhood Favorites - Fan-fic it up; Sincerity vs. Humor; What was missing for you then?

Week 4 - Straight Married Bliss - Satire, domestic realism; queer and trans insight; your childhood home(s) as you see fit

Week 5 - Queer 'topias - Outer space, inner landscapes, what happens when you choose the wrong family

Week 6 - Revision Workshop and Final Thoughts

Luke Dani Blue

Originally from Michigan, Luke Dani Blue holds an MFA from San Francisco State University, where they were honored with a Distinguished Achievement award. Luke's short fiction has won prizes from Colorado Review and Crab Orchard Review, and a note of distinction from Best American Short Stories 2016. Luke has taught creative writing at universities, public libraries, rural high schools, and major urban writing centers and was recently a Tin House Scholar and member of the Tin House Summer Workshop scholarship committee. Their debut short story collection, Pretend It's My Body, is coming in September 2022 from Feminist Press.


“In prose that is spiky and precise and energetic, Luke Dani Blue writes about two friends trying to make sense of their world as it hurtles toward the sun. ‘[End of the World Pussy]’ is a tense exploration of what can change between two people when there’s no longer time for change, and of how, when oblivion is moments away, we continue to reach for what we most desire.”

Kirsten Valdez Quade author of NIGHT AT THE FIESTAS

“The magic in [‘Bad Things That Happen To Girls’] is so subtle and slow-building and so unprepossessing that, while reading it, I understood I was holding my breath only when the story started to swim before me...It’s a story that aches with truth and desperation, and I marvel at the way Blue ratchets up the motion, breath by breath, to the story’s logical but stunning end.”

Lauren Groff author of FATE AND FURIES

"PRETEND IT'S MY BODY is a wonderful collection, capable and sure-footed as a pace-setter, and at once funny, jarring, disorienting, and bracing in turn, like trying to use a credit card at a carnival. Unrushed, but with a real center; each story distinct yet kin, afraid neither of ugliness nor loveliness. I liked it marvellously well."

Daniel Lavery

"You are a wonderful teacher, reader and writer, and I really, really enjoyed working with you."

former student

"I have take a lot of writing classes over the years and you are one of the best teachers I've had. You are generous with your knowledge and you care about your students."

former student

“One of the best writing classes I have ever taken."

former student