Revising Fiction

A Next Level Workshop

“Revising Fiction” is an intensive master workshop for writers who’ve completed a full draft of a novel and want help bringing it to the next level. It’s based on a method that I developed for my own novels involving a series of edits, each one focusing on a different aspect of the work. Big ticket items come first, since there’s no point fine-tuning scenes that may not make the cut: the arc of the story, where it begins and ends, pacing and tension. Another session will deal with subplots by reading only those scenes in which the subplot takes place. Writers will also consider the themes of their stories, which often emerge at some point in the writing process, and what can be done to strengthen and clarify those themes.

Another major edit focuses on characterization. Writers look at character arcs by reading only those scenes in which each major character appears, to ensure the character is constantly motivated and evolving. Secondary characters are also scrutinized: Are they doing their jobs, earning their keep?

At that point participants are ready for some fine-tuning. A separate reading isolates dialogue; another looks at description and setting. Each scene is evaluated as a thing in itself: Is it pleasing, is it shapely, does it start and end in appropriate places, does the ending draw the reader further on? The final edit (the only one most novice writers do) is a sentence-by-sentence edit for language and style.

Participants must have a finished draft of a novel or a body of short stories. This can be a first draft or a tenth; the object in this workshop is to bring your work to the next level, whatever that level is. Writers undertake to critique their classmates’ work and will receive critiques from them as well as from me. Revising Fiction is intensive and requires a significant commitment of time, but the reward is commensurate with the effort, Writers emerge from this course with work that is far more polished and coherent than their previous versions, and with tools they can apply to the work they go on to write.

Class size is limited, and applicants who haven’t worked with me previously will be asked to submit writing samples. There is a week of orientation, followed by seven sessions¬† spaced two weeks apart.¬† I teach each workshop personally. Tuition is $895 USD; returning students receive a 10% discount. Students who enroll but decide that the course is not right for them can withdraw and receive a refund of the full tuition less the registration fee, provided they do so within two weeks of the start date. The next session of this class will begin on Feb. 24, 2021, and first notice always goes out to the writers on my emailing list, so if you’d like to get on that list or have any questions, drop me a line at next.level.workshop[at]gmail[dot]com.