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6-Week Fiction Workshop: Writing Fantastical Characters (Zoom), Starts Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
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6-Week Fiction Workshop: Writing Fantastical Characters (Zoom), Starts Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

Unit price per

Class Starts Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

The class will meet weekly via Zoom (Tuesdays, 7PM ET - 9PM ET) and also have an online classroom in Wet Ink.

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Led by Ploi Pirapokin, the Nonfiction Editor at Newfound Journal. She sits on the board for Khōréō Magazine, Hivemind: Global Speculative Fiction Magazine, and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work is featured in, Pleiades, Ninth Letter, Gulf Stream Magazine, Sycamore Review and more. Ploi is a graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop.

Learn more about Ploi in our Meet the Teaching Artist series.

Werewolves, parrots, and aliens—how to start?

This six-week class is open to both genre and literary fiction writers who are curious about featuring non-human beings in their stories that subvert common cliches and stereotypes. How can we make our unreal characters real, relatable, and resonate?

Whether you’re writing science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, or a mix and blend of them all, your characters still need to be animated on the page. We’ll reference contemporary authors such as Ted Chiang, Karen Russell, and N.K. Jemisin, among others, as examples on how non-human characters can be expressed through voice, dialogue, and point of view.

The first week will consist of generative prompts for writing non-human entities, and a discussion of how these characters are rendered from the readings. We will organize a timetable to turn in your 5,000 max-word story for workshop.

The next four weeks will be spent in workshop: discussing craft techniques, sharing prompt responses based on your own creative work, and workshopping two student stories every week.

Each student will receive peer and instructor feedback on one complete short story draft. Our last week will focus on tips and tricks for revision and submitting to different publication venues.

Each student will leave with a complete short story and revision tips to strengthen that piece.


  • Learn to write non-human characters with more confidence and authority, while countering stereotypes and subverting common genre tropes.
  • Complete one draft of a short story no longer than 5,000 words and receive feedback, tips and tricks for revising and submitting this story to different venues.
  • Leave with multiple beginnings for new stories, and a deeper understanding of voice, dialogue, and point of view. 


  • Ramona Ausubel’s You Can Find Love Now
  • Ted Chiang's The Great Silence
  • Saad Z. Hossain's Bring Your Own Spoon
  • Nnedi Okorafor’s Spider the Artist
  • Karen Russell’s St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves
  • Stephen Graham Jones’ Brushdogs

By the end of the class, you will have the tools you need and polished work ready for publishing.


"I have learned so much from Ploi Pirapokin’s speculative fiction workshop and have enjoyed it immensely! I don’t want it to end—not only because I’m enjoying the learning and the community of writers, but also because I’m just excited about writing again! Each week, Ploi guides us by sharing expertly curated and inspiring content on the craft of speculative fiction, plus readings of some of the best. She provides personal feedback on our responses to her weekly exercises and our workshop pieces, which I’ve found so helpful and instructive. Ploi’s approach makes me feel comfortable to dive right in and try new approaches I never have before. Since starting this workshop, I’ve had multiple ideas for new short stories and have begun writing them. Thank you, Ploi, for sharing your time and talent with writers." -Brittany G.

"Ploi is so knowledgeable and enthusiastic -- I value everything she brought to the course! I especially appreciated her focus on structure during the workshop portion of the class, as well as her question, 'How did your body respond, or what are you most aware of in a physical way reading this post?' for our workshop comments." -Maureen G.

"Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher!! Your class was such a bright spot of the week, and the conversations were always so engaging and thought provoking. Thank you for believing in us as writers! I got so much out of your workshop and all the advice, and the way you took us seriously as writers and artists, and how you pushed us to embrace how we organically tell stories, helped me take myself more seriously and is advice I’ll take with me for a long time!

Ms. Pirapokin’s content in the course itself was outstanding. She provided a series of texts and video presentations illustrative of the material we were studying. She made herself available not only to me, but also to all the students in the class. Her kindness radiated from her and she was very attentive to all our needs.”

Here's the crux of the matter: by the end of the course, I was so impressed by how much of herself Ploi had put into the course that it made me work all the harder to complete assignments and do my best. That our course was concluding around election time made it difficult for everyone, but Ploi's sincerity and focus helped pull us across the finish line. You should be very happy to have such a dedicated, erudite and honest teacher on your roster.”

"This was hands down the best Catapult class I have taken so far... Ploi was warm, encouraging, insanely prepared and knowledgeable, generous... I felt so enriched afterwards and look forward to staying in community with my classmates!!" --Former Catapult Student

"Ploi was a beacon for me and my classmates. The ideal teacher to nurture creativity and confidence. She provided heartfelt knowledge and created a space to celebrate each other."--Former Catapult Student


This class meets weekly via Zoom and also uses our online classroom in Wet Ink. Ploi will get you all the details after you enroll. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!

You can pay for the course in full or use Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Instructor: Ploi Pirapokin
  • Class size limited to 8 writers
  • Class Starts Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
  • Class will meet via Zoom on Tuesdays, 7PM ET - 9PM ET
  • This class will and also have an online classroom in Wet Ink.

Instructor Ploi Pirapokin is the Nonfiction Editor at Newfound Journal, and sits on the board for Khōréō Magazine, Hivemind: Global Speculative Fiction Magazine, and the Ragdale Foundation. Her work is featured in, Pleiades, Ninth Letter, Gulf Stream Magazine, Sycamore Review and more. She has received grants and fellowships from the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Creative Capacity Fund, Headlands Center for the Arts, Djerassi, Kundiman and others. A graduate of the Clarion Writers Workshop, she also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She currently teaches at the Writers Program at UCLA Extension, and the University of Hong Kong.