In this course, which is open to writers with all levels of experience, we will learn how to generate meaningful, inventive writing through practice, revision, and observation. With any skill—cooking, basketball, pottery, brain surgery or mathematics—no matter how natural your talent, it is impossible to develop and evolve if you do not practice. Writing is the same. Oh, but! There are so many reasons not to write: children, work, dishes, television, cute pets, paint drying. And so I will reserve time every class for us to write, on-demand, prolifically, and then we will learn how to listen for and observe patterns in our own and each other’s writing. Through this practice, you will begin to discover your individual style and voice as a writer. Our goal will be to have an intention when we write; we will seek to answer the question: What are my values as a writer?
This class will be a combination of workshop and practical instruction, where you will learn concrete skills to incorporate into your own practice. Everyone in the class will generate writing, share writing, and provide observations on each other's writing. We will write from prompts that are designed to draw from your own personal interests and experience. We will learn how to hone style and voice—dig closer to your intentions as a writer—through revision. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, we will remember that writing is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and we will relish in that pleasure with this supportive, imaginative community!
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.
- Practice writing prolifically, regularly, and on-demand
- Observe patterns, both concrete and abstract, in our own and each other’s work
- Understand that revision is key to finding your voice as a writer
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Students will be expected to write during class and share their writing; listen to and observe each other's work; and provide verbal and brief written observations on fellow student's writing. Homework will consist of revising in-class writing assignments and generating new writing. I will provide weekly reading assignments that will be optional, but I may reference them in class.
Week 1: Fables & Aphorisms
Week 2: Parables & Prolific Writing
Week 3: Hindsight & Plot Sequencing
Week 4: Foresight & Plot Sequencing
Week 5: Conjure & Invent Space
Week 6: Satirical Stylizing
Week 7: I Remember Essay, Repetition, & Lists
Week 8: Retrospective
Gabriella Burnham's debut novel, It Is Wood, It Is Stone, was named a best book of the year by Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Publishers Weekly, and Good Housekeeping magazines. Now a New York resident, she lived in São Paulo as a child and most of her family still lives there today. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s College and has been awarded fellowships to MacDowell and Yaddo. Recently, she and her partner adopted their second rescue kitten. His name is Franz.
Photo credit: Sylvie Rosokoff
“Burnham dazzles by exploring the overlapping circles of need and care though tensions of race, privilege, sexuality, history, and memory. Thanks to Burnham’s precise, vivid understanding of her characters, this stranger-comes-to-town novel has the feel of a thriller as it illuminates the obligations of emotional labor. Burnham pulls off an electrifying twist on domestic fiction.”
“One of the greatest draws of IT IS WOOD, IT IS STONE is Burnham’s exquisite prose, making Linda’s shrewd observations lush and alive… brutal and unflinching.”
“Gorgeous ... a lush depiction of privilege and power, sex and stability, IT IS WOOD, IT IS STONE is an elegant arrival of a new talent.”
“[An] artful tapestry of a novel … [IT IS WOOD, IT IS STONE] is a remarkable story of secrecy, discovery and self-expression, delivered by a skillful observer.”
"Gabriella Burnham writes with generosity—and with sympathy for human imperfection—and captures so well the pain, envy, and expectations in life that make up each of our pasts, and linger into our present.”
"I've been writing every night for almost a half an hour, each night a completely different topic! You really were the most inspirational professor I've ever come across before."
"Gabriella's feedback on my novel has been invaluable. She knows how to provide clear, tangible feedback without infringing on your aesthetic or goals as a writer. I'm so grateful to have her in my writing life!"