Whether you are a seasoned writer or relatively new to writing, you've probably experienced moments of frustration which pulled you away from the work at hand for a day or a longer period of writer's block.
This course, open to writers with all levels of scene-writing experience, is designed to help writers to regain the focus on writing with specific craft techniques. Whether you are a meticulous outliner or an intuitive writer who focuses on flow, this class will take you through specific steps of designing or reworking scenes, characters and motifs in your work so you could unlock the flow of ideas, polish a rough draft, or transform an anecdote into a strong, compelling story. Throughout the course, students will be given writing prompts as well as structural and revision guidelines to help them enhance their learning and apply them to their own work.
Writers will walk away with drafts or revisions based on key story-writing principles and readings/learnings from award-winning works of Jhumpa Lahiri, Charles Yu and Carmen Machado. Each writer will also submit to workshop at least once, to receive written and verbal feedback from the instructor and their peers. Each writer would also receive an optional thirty minute one-on-one conference with the instructor.
The course aims to introduce students to a variety of literary forms, voices, and traditions, so an open-mind and willingness to discover, write, and explore are the most fundamental qualities needed.
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.
- How to both embrace and reroute from what's known as "writer's block" and direct mental energies into creative work.
- Establish environmental, habitual and social support for a persistent writing life.
- A draft of a complete scene, short story or novel chapter or a major revision on your existing work (depending on writer's starting point for the class)
- A deeper understanding of characterization, scene writing and story structures in fiction
- A one-on-one conference with the instructor
- The ability to study, analyze and learn these techniques from known literary works
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Each student will submit 1-2 short stories or novel excerpts for workshop. Total submissions are not to exceed 20 pages. Everyone will read and critique peer work for workshop and will read a published text and participate in a short lecture each week.
Attend an optional thirty minute one-on-one conference with the instructor as needed.
Respond to a short weekly reading or craft assignment.
Week 1- Course overview; Overcome the Blank Page
Week 2 - Workshop; Develop a Strong Character Sketch
Week 3- Workshop; Between Panic and Desire
Week 4- Workshop; Hero’s Fantasy & Arcs
Week 5- Workshop; Routines & Characterization
Week 6- Workshop; Objects and Symbols
Week 7- Workshop; Story Structure Secrets
Week 8- Workshop; Q&A; Putting it Together
Pingmei Lan holds an MFA in creative writing. Her work has appeared in The Florida Review, Blackbird, Epiphany, Tahoma Literary Review and others. She is a winner of the 2019 PEN/DAU Best Debut Short Stories prize, a finalist in the Atlanta Review's 2019 International Poetry Competition and a 2021 Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
“Lan captures how women who subvert their prescribed roels become in local rumor creaturely, mythological. I read it and was stunned by the wake it left."
"Flash typically doesn’t leave much room for flashbacks and flash forwards, but this example shows how to masterfully use the techniques."
"Pingmei Lan ties sexual assault and forced assimilation to a Sweet-n-Low packet and Peking duck in this piece of flash. The alienation of place is so well done here."
"She gives very generous feedback to other writers and her comments are humorous and helpful."
"Her class unlocked something deep in my memory or subconscious and I wrote a scene that I didn't think I could write. "
"Her (critique) notes are very impressive. I shared them with my writing group as well and they were equally impressed. "