In this class for fiction writers with prior workshop experience, students will craft two short stories and discuss outside works as we parse the mechanics of fiction, and what exactly makes a story. Through reading one another's work and studying the craft of writers like Jamaica Kincaid, Valeria Luiselli, Haruki Murakami, Juan Martinez, Amelia Gray, Rachel Khong, and Alejandro Zambra, we'll leave these weeks a little further along in our understanding of how to make a narrative stick. We've all got a plethora of tools at our disposal to share our stories—in this course, you'll hone yours just a little bit sharper. By the end of the course, every writer will have two workshopped stories (or excerpts from longer works) and a more nuanced understanding of how to craft compelling and effective short stories.
This class will meet over our text-only chat platform. There will not be any video or audio component to class.
*no class November 27th
- Peer and instructor critiques on two short pieces
- Greater familiarity with writers of literary fiction
- Next steps on revising submitted fiction
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Week 1: Introductions
Week 2: Beginnings, Self and Peer Editing, Readings
Week 3: Form and Structure, Weight, Readings
Week 4: Tension, Climaxes, Readings,
Week 5: Denouements, Themes, Readings
Week 6: Fooling Around, Submitting Your Work, Review
Bryan Washington is the author of Lot, with fiction and essays appearing in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, MUNCHIES, American Short Fiction, GQ, FADER, The Awl, Hazlitt, and Catapult. He’s the recipient of an O. Henry Award, and he lives in Houston.
“Washington’s subtle, dynamic and flexible stories play out across [Houston’s] sprawling and multiethnic neighborhoods… An alert and often comic observer of the world… Washington cracks open a vibrant, polyglot side of Houston about which few outsiders are aware... [T]here is a fair amount of joy in Washington’s stories… An underthrob of emotion beats inside them. He’s confident enough not to force the action. The stories feel loose, their cellular juices free to flow."
“[S]tunning… LOT paints an unforgettable picture of Houston and the people who call it home.... It's hard to overstate what an accomplishment Lot is.... Washington does a brilliant job making the city come to life in all its imperfect glory. His book is an instant classic of Texas literature, but it's more than that — it's a stunning work of art from a young writer with immense talent and a rare sense of compassion, and one of the strongest literary debuts in several years.”
"The kind of stories I am always longing to read. I love the urgency, honesty, and vitality of Washington’s voice. I love these characters for where they’re from, and where they’re going, what they know, and what they reveal about trouble and love."
"A brilliant display of raw talent, with gut-punching stories that deliver with a lasting force. This is the literature that I've been waiting for."