Throughout this six-week course, we will read short works—prose poems, essays, stories, and hybrid pieces—and reflect on shared approaches between forms to spark fresh, unexpected writing. We’ll elaborate on previously held genre concerns with those raised by the reading and writing assignments, and we’ll adapt a few select approaches to short writing, in which image, language, sentence, lyric momentum, and voice drive the work. Our focus on shorter work will emphasize crystallized standalone pieces, as well as prepare us to write longer work. A “start small” approach should also encourage you to follow your instincts to write new pieces with relaxed expectations for genre and early drafts.
This course is open to writers of all experience levels who wish to bend and braid the expectations they bring to their writing, those who want to explore craft on a small scale and follow those impulses to propel their writing.
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.
- Sense of shared craft elements across form and how to weave these approaches into your own work
- Supportive environment in which to explore genre and postpone concerns about quality and intention until revision
- Six new pieces of short writing, one of which will be workshopped by the whole class
- A one-on-one Zoom conference with the instructor to discuss your expanded piece
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Weekly assignments will include reading several short pieces of writing (less than 30 pgs/week) that share a craft approach and a writing exercise that blends this approach into your own writing. Students will write a total of six new short pieces. When we explore expansion in later weeks, you’ll have the option to either (1) select an earlier piece as a seed to expand into a longer piece (~2500 words); (2) braid and expand earlier short pieces into one longer piece; or (3) draft an entirely new longer piece that draws on course elements.
One of your six new short pieces will be workshopped by the whole class and the instructor. Students will receive feedback from the instructor on their longer piece in a one-on-one conference.
WEEK 1: Intros, discuss course + pre-reading, in-class reading + writing
WEEK 2: Directness
WEEK 3: Accumulation
WEEK 4: Dreams, Myths, Urban Legends
WEEK 5: Diversions & Meditations
WEEK 6: Expansion
One-on-one Zoom conferences will be scheduled for the week following our last class meeting.
"Whether she’s uncovering connections between her homebuyer’s course and haunted house movies, her wedding anniversary and Victorian taxidermy tableaux, or her shopping mall’s glass elevator and destiny, Gina Nutt writes prose so astonishing I want to read it in an MRI machine just to confirm that every part of my brain indeed lit up. NIGHT ROOMS is a brilliant, beautiful, boundlessly inventive book."
"In NIGHT ROOMS, Gina Nutt uses horror films to describe feelings and experiences that can't be expressed in words. As haunting as any good movie and as fragmented as any life, this innovative, intimate, deeply resonant book blurs together film scenes with Nutt's own vivid recollections, giving voice to all the near-universal but inexpressible horrors, large and small, of being a woman, being a survivor, being alive."
"NIGHT ROOMS is vulnerable, cinematic, and positively transcendent. Gina Nutt uses themes and details from horror films as a way into a meditation on the deaths she's experienced in her own life, acting as a kind of literary final girl, asking, what does it mean to survive? Nutt's exploration of this question is captivating to read, as her chainsaw-sharp sentences carve a path toward the truth. I love this book."