Every writer has themes around which they orbit. Ideas and styles they come back to again and again. In this online course, we will drill down to find out what yours are, while also looking at the work of great writers to discover theirs. Writing may come from the heart, but the brain is needed to translate all those complex, contradictory sentiments and impulses into a coherent narrative sequence. We will workshop your short stories and/or novel excerpts to look at the threads that join your work together, and how you can use these threads to complete a manuscript.
This course will help develop the brain-side of things using stuff we can name: character, setting, dialogue, sound, rhythm, and structure. Discovering what you have to say that hasn't been said before is this course's ultimate goal, and giving generous feedback on each student's two 10-25 page fiction submissions is its beating heart. Through weekly writing prompts, focused readings, and diligent editing, we will draw out the voice that will carry readers through your book.
Each writer will workshop twice and meet once with me over the phone or Skype for an individual conference to discuss their work, progress, and goals as a writer.
This class will meet over our video chat platform. You will need to use Google Chrome to join your class meetings.
*no class December 23rd
- Intensive peer and instructor critiques on two fiction submissions
- One private conference with the instructor over phone/Skype to discuss your collection, writing style, goals, and areas for improvement
- Discover your unique writing voice
- Further understanding of craft elements, such as character, setting, dialogue, sound, rhythm, and structure
- Weekly writing prompts
- 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: Voice (Who are you as a writer)
Week 2: Plot (What do you have to say)
Week 3: Style (How will you say it)
Week 4: Structure (How to surprise, and keep the reader engaged)
Week 5: Language (What sets your work apart, and unifies it together)
Week 6: Endings (How to know when something is done)
Raised in small towns in the west, Maxim Loskutoff is the author of Come West and See and the forthcoming novel Spirits. His stories and essays have been translated into six languages and appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review. A graduate of NYU’s MFA program, he has received fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell. Other honors include the Nelson Algren Award, the M Literary Fellowship, and an arts grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. He lives in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana.
"Maxim saw right through my work. A very perceptive reader, he was able to locate my wishes and goals as a writer, and help me toward them."
“A blazing new and original talent. … [Loskutoff’s stories] vividly expose escalating resentments with extraordinary eloquence and compassion.”
"Maxim's thoughts are prescient. All were of great help as I continued to refine and tighten my manuscript. Several were issues with which I was already wrestling and it was helpful to read them so well articulated."
“Devastating … grows increasingly bizarre and haunting until it’s left an indelible mark.”
“A new kind of American Western. The interconnected short stories shirk the tropes of destinies made manifest in favor of dark, interior tales of the angry, the wild and the socially impotent. This book climbs into the heads of its characters, pokes at their insecurities with a sharpened stick, then reaches out a hand to invite you in.”
“Fans of Cormac McCarthy and Russell Banks will find plenty to like in Loskutoff’s fresh voice and keen instincts for drama. … [T]he language is crisp and often thrilling in its plainspoken eloquence.”
"Maxim's early support and encouragement are what allowed me to keep working and revising until my first story was accepted for publication. The opportunity to publish a work of fiction means more to me than he can ever know. I'll always be grateful for the role he played making that happen."