Mrs. Dalloway takes place over the course of one day and its plot could be most concretely described as a woman planning for a party. Seinfeld is a show about nothing. Proust uses a cookie as the catalyst to reach the deepest parts of his character’s memory. Everyday life and the ways it is used in narrative can be thrilling, delectable, visceral, and vital.
In this class we will consider the ways in which our reality can be used in not only the narrative itself, but in our inspiration as writers. Through workshops, readings, and discussion, this class aims to provide its students with the tools to create scenes that use specific and ordinary detail to create intricate and important work. Whether you’re looking to write a novel as subtly effective as Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, or you’re hoping to get the most out of the quieter moments of your Game of Thrones-esque epic, this class will give you a greater understanding of how depth and minutiae can be threaded together to form beautiful and meaningful prose.
Students will walk away from class with renewed inspiration from daily life around them and will learn how to use everyday experience to create conflict and bring deeper meaning to their work.
*No class December 23rd or January 6th.
- The ability to write scenes that may seem simple but bring depth to a narrative and complexity to its characters
- A better understanding of their own influences and how those influences inform their work
- Similar to all workshop, I hope to sharpen their editing skills as it relates to their own work
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
There will be weekly short readings, which we will discuss in class. I will provide also optional writing prompts if students are interested. Each student is expected to provide two pieces for workshop and notes on their fellow students' work each week.
Week 1: Our inspiration and what makes writing “everyday”?
Week 2: Creating tension in conflict from small moments
Week 3: Memory and its function in the everyday
Week 4: Dialogue and the inner dialogue of our characters
Week 5: Objects and their function in narrative
Week 6: Wrap up and moving forward in our work
"...it’s the quiet moments that Casale nails, all of the tiny details that she gets so right."
“Stellar.... Raw and articulate.... Reading [Casale’s] work is like watching a play from the dressing room as the heroine squeezes into pants she hopes conceal extra weight, tries to make sense of last week's one-night stand and murmurs her lines before stepping onto the stage."
"Casale makes a particular female experience vivid, centered, seen.... The disarming wit and granular detail of these vignettes feels intensely personal, drawn from the lively mind of a unique character, yet universally recognizable.”
"Jana is not only one of the greatest writers I’ve met, but one of the best teachers. She had a keen ability to offer insight and feedback that’s encouraging while remaining constructive. Her feedback is always actionable and leaves you feeling like your goal really is within reach."
"Jana Casale is a thoughtful, insightful and supportive participant in workshops and writer development sessions. I have worked with her on a number of occasions, both during our Master’s course at the University of Oxford and on freelance projects. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her as a tutor; she is both a talented writer and has the skills necessary to be an excellent facilitator."