Voice is the lantern that guides a reader through a story, often determining a narrative’s tone, emotional backbone, and character development. Some writers hone their authorial voice and write with the same voice for each story or book. Some can slip into different voices with ease. Through writing exercises and short readings from writers like Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Aimee Bender, Amy Hempel, Dorothy Baker, Zadie Smith, Marilynne Robinson, Jenny Zhang, we will explore both in this 8-week generative workshop.
The goal of this course is practicing different voices or chiseling a voice that you’ve already been developing in order to explore how you want to tell your story. We’ll also study the components that build a voice: word-choice, syntax, and rhythm. In addition, we will use the all-important tool of voice as a portal to enter the other elements that make up a short story, including POV, plot, structure, time, and place. This class is open to writers of all levels.
By the end of this course, you’ll have a workshopped story or novel excerpt that is voice-based, as well a voice box of different voices that will shepherd you easily into your next project.
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.
- 1 voice-driven story or novel excerpt that will receive written and oral feedback from the instructor and classmates in workshop
- A voice box that includes new work generated from the workshop, including either a few openings to stories with different voices, or an in-depth dive into one distinct authorial voice
- A deeper understanding of the basic elements in a short story or novel
- 1 one-on-one 30-minute Zoom or phone call with instructor to discuss work
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
- Submit 1 original story for workshop (10-25 pages)
- Read and provide written and in class feedback on your peers’ workshop stories
- In-class writing assignments, optional weekly writing prompts for home
Week 1 — Introductions + Voice & Character
Week 2 — Distinct Voices + Workshop 1
Week 3 — 3rd Person Voices + Workshop 2
Week 4 — First Lines + Workshop 3
Week 5 — Structuring Your Story + Workshop 4
Week 6 — Voice & Place + Workshop 5
Week 7 — Plot & Time + Workshop 6
Week 8 — Your Voice Box + Workshop 7
Mina Seçkin is a writer and editor from Brooklyn. She completed her MFA at Columbia University, where she also received her bachelor degree. Her work has been published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She serves as managing editor of Apogee Journal, and her debut novel, The Four Humors, will be published by Catapult in November 2021.
"Seçkin is a gifted and natural storyteller, but she’s also willing to show us the ways we use stories—of politics and history, in social media, in the bedroom and at parties—to hide and heal."
"Mina Seçkin writes about the human body in a way that is exacting and beautiful, and I am in awe at the way she pins pain onto the page."
“Mina Seçkin’s brilliant and understated first novel describes a young person’s quest to situate herself geographically, culturally, historically, and physiologically—to map out a place for her inner self in the world, in her family, and in her own body. Funny, heartrending, illuminating, informative, brimming with cultural specificity and human universality.”
“THE FOUR HUMORS is a quiet, startling book that will stay with you long after you turn the final page. Sibel holds grief and guilt in her body, and as she reconnects with her homeland, she will uncover deep secrets and profound truths that will change her forever. Mina Seçkin has written a poignant and penetrating meditation on how we take care—of ourselves, our stories, and our families.”
“Set in a stunning evocation of contemporary Turkey, THE FOUR HUMORS is spellbinding. With sensitivity and insight, Mina Seçkin weaves the entanglements of romantic love and the complexities of familial love throughout this exploration of cultural identity. This debut novel is one for our time.”
“THE FOUR HUMORS reminds us that the most startling love letters—to people, to cities, to fading times and places—are as gentle, wry, and intelligent as they are deeply felt. A beautiful, unpretending book.”
“Soulful and tender, honest, but never cruel. The Four Humors is a debut that doesn’t feel like a debut. With the wisdom of a writer beyond her years, Mina Seçkin has crafted a novel that delicately and lyrically explores the body and everything it holds—the blood, phlegm, bile, choler, all the bodily fluids and memories and generational trauma, the joy that we keep moving and breathing despite it—everything that make us the flawed, beautiful humans that we are.”